We spent two days in Asheville which were wonderful.
I have heard a lot of about Ashville because Audrey's partner Caroline loves it so much and her desire has been that they would live there. After visiting it, I really can understand why.
Chuck and I met Audrey, Caroline and Caroline's dad at the Early Girl Eatery downtown and had an outstanding breakfast there. The part of town that it is in is really cool -arty and creative. We walked around afterward and Chuck and I even bought a picture at the "Woolworth Walk" (a renovated Woolworth store - now full of consignment art) for our kitchen. The atmosphere was just so alive.
Sunday afternoon Chuck and I went to the botanical gardens and spent an hour by the river reading the paper and just relaxing. Sunday evening we went to Beth and Dave's where we spent two nights. On Monday Beth gave us a real tour of the city.
Beth and Dave moved to Ashville from Columbus. They are in their fifties and after some significant deaths in their lives realized that they wanted to live where they wanted to live - and it was Asheville. After a year renting, they found their perfect house and that is where they will live for the rest of their lives. At least that's the plan. Since they moved there Dave has found a position working as a engineering Prof at UNC and Beth is just enjoying her life.
What is notable about them is how very happy they are and how stress free their lives seem to be. Their driving has been reduced tremendously. Dave walks to work and Beth walks to exercise, to shop and just to walk. They have no working TV (we could not watch the last day of the US OPEN!) and little time is spent on the computer. Instead they read, visit with friends and neighbors, garden, enjoy the city. And this city has much to enjoy. I was very intrigued by the drum circle every Friday night down town as well as the many music opportunities. They are interested in "simple living" and are a real advertisement for it. What I told them when I left Tuesday morning was that I noticed that they have a lot more "margins" in their lives than I do. This is something that I need to ruminate about.
Anyway, remember Asheville NC - clearly a great place to live and to visit.