Escape to Asheville

It was a long overdue escape from all kinds of stress and change, and even though it was just a quick two-day jaunt over the hill to Asheville, it was a total blast.

When I got wind that Mumford and Sons was headed our roundabout direction, I quick-texted Chuck to see if he wanted to go (as if I didn’t already know he’d say yes). Within a minute of tickets going on sale, I purchased a pair and thus began the anticipation of seeing one of our most favorite bands.

Originally, we were just going to drive our car. And then we decided to rent something practical to keep our recently repaired transmission in tact. And then Chuck came home with this:

You gotta live a little, right? Right. (If you disagree, don’t let your man pick up the rental on his own, especially if he watches Top Gear.)

The drive to Asheville was lovely, and not just because we rode in style. Any drive through the Smoky Mountains is lovely, especially along the Foothills Parkway. Sometimes the speed limit was lower than Chuck preferred, but he more than made up for it on the interstate.

Asheville is like the mini-San Francisco of the South with it’s artists and hippies, but it’s also an escape for outdoorsmen and historians. We relished the Southern food and architecture and passed on the patchouli and incense. Overall, the city gave an “All  Are Welcome” feel, which I wholeheartedly appreciate.

After dinner at Fig Bistro in the Biltmore Village, we headed in the direction of the concert. Seating was General Admission, and while in our younger days we might have sat outside all afternoon in line for floor seats, we decided to accept our place in the back of the auditorium. We’re too old for that mess, we concluded. Let the young energetic ones have the front. So we grabbed a drink at the hotel instead and wandered over at our leisure.

The concert was, in effect, amazing. I mean, when a musician or band sounds exactly (or better) than they do on their album, it’s already worth the ticket price. (I found that to be true with The Killers.) But those Mumford boys have all kinds of energy that gets channeled through their instruments. At one point I leaned over to Chuck and said, “Who knew we’d be so excited about someone playing the accordion!” Or the banjo, or the mandolin, or the steel guitar. How they piece it all together is nothing short of amazing.

The only thing that wasn’t amazing was the acoustics inside the small auditorium. The music sounded fine, but every time those British boys spoke to the crowd in between songs, I was totally lost. I’d turn to Chuck with a “What did he say?” kind of look, and he’d just shrug his shoulders. Ah well! Whatever they said, I’m sure it was clever.

The second best part about our trip to Asheville was sleeping in on Wednesday morning. No joke. I haven’t slept in since the late 90s, so I was beyond thrilled to wake up just minutes before our 11 a.m. wake-up call. I even laid there a little longer AFTER the wake-up call just because I could. In total rebellion.

The third best part about our trip to Asheville was breakfast/brunch/lunch at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. OMG. I bought their cookbook and a jar of blueberry jelly after nearly licking my plate clean. (I had the Lump Crab Omelete with grits and gluten-free toast. Chuck had a grilled chicken sandwich on sourdough with cranberry mayo and home fries.)  There, in fact, is the difference between us and the young people on the front row of the concert: They spent thirty bucks on watered-down beer and a concert t-shirt while I bought blueberry jelly. I’m completely content with my purchase.

Coming home was bittersweet. I could lie and tell you that I missed my boys so much that I couldn’t wait to give them a big hug hello, but that would only be partly true. I really, really enjoyed the break, and I really, really could’ve spent another two (or four) days on vacation, and then I could say that, yes, I am definitely 100 percent ready to go home to my sweet little boys. But the escape to Asheville was just a tad too short.

It seems Chuck agrees. On the phone this morning I remarked, “It went by too quickly. I want to go back to Asheville.”

“Oh, did you go somewhere?” he said in jest. “Must’ve been a good dream.”

It was.

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