It’s Cool In The Mountains 10

My brother tells the story of when he was on a US Navy ship stationed in the Phillipines. On a very hot day in Manila Bay, the sun was turning the ship’s steel hull into an oven. A little breeze came up, and a young sailor from south Alabama climbed topside to get some air and observed, “It’s a little cool up here in the mountains, isn’t it?”. Everything is relative.

This weekend I am at this same brother’s house in the East Tennessee mountains, and I can attest that it is a little cool up here in the mountains. It is also beautiful.

Our little trip this week started with a couple of days in the Asheville, NC area. If you haven’t been there, you need to go. Asheville is the artsy capital of western North Carolina, and is most famous for the Biltmore House, a 175,000 square foot, 250 room mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the nineteenth century. The estate is on about 8,000 acres. Today’s rich people have trouble imagining such opulence.

On any night downtown Asheville is hopping with live bands, street corner entertainers, and just plain interesting stuff. It is an island of cultural insanity in a beautiful setting, coexisting with back country mountain traditions. If you have been to New Orleans, this is Asheville on a weekend night.

In stark contrast to the liberal, and loose society that Asheville has become is the religious community. In the Asheville vicinity are some major religious mountain retreats. Ridgecrest, Lake Junalaska, and others are nearby as is the town of Montreat, North Carolina, home of world-famous evangelist Billy Graham and Montreat College, a Christian liberal arts institution.

Next to Montreat is the town of Black Mountain. It is a town of about six thousand people. It has more good restaurants than it has gas stations. Art boutiques and antique stores abound. It us one of those places that is a pleasure to explore. We stayed with some friends in Black Mountain, and recommend its inclusion on everybody’s itinerary.

If you like beer you will love this part of North Carolina. The Asheville area has some great micro-breweries and some really good barbecue like that found at The Twelve Bones Smokehouse in Asheville. One of the best breweries is the Pisgah brewery in Black M0untain. I am adicted to the Blueberry Lager they make there. Not only do chicks love it, but men love it, too.

The sailor from Alabama was right. It is way cool up here in the mountains.

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10 comments

  1. I love the East Tennessee mountains! In fact, my mother’s family hails from that region.

    As for Asheville, a beautiful place too, I’ve been there a few times. Never went downtown on a weekend, however.

  2. Asheville turned out to be a really neat place. Like so many old, medium size towns, it has undergone a renaissance. Art and music are big things, and it doesn’t have to be a weekend night. The place is going all the time.

  3. I’ne never had the pleasure of knowing the South or the East of the US. I do know the West, mowever, and you are right: there is something magic about the mountains. The coolness of the mountains is true for the tropics, as well. Guatamala City, San Jose, Costa Rica, Bogata, Columbia, and Caracas, Venezuela all have ideal climates.

  4. Sounds wonderful!! And the Biltmore House is one place I would love to peruse. I love the mountains, I hope to, one day visit North Carolina.

    Glad you are having a wonderful time.

  5. This was a business/pleasure trip. I attended a conference for Drupal web developers, and my wife got to run around with her friend who lives there. It’s good to be able to do those things now that my wife is retired. We really enjoyed the trip, and visiting my brother in Tennessee on the return leg.

  6. Glad you both had a great time.

    You are a web developer? I am impressed. I couldn’t even begin to learn how to do that. Pretty cool.

  7. Sounds so wonderful…I’ve actually always wanted to go to NC and, particularly, Asheville. I was surprised when a friend told me they open their City Council meetings, etc., with prayer……..who knew? nice.
    Glad you had such a good time!

  8. Leticia, I have been doing web pages for only about a year or so. I focus on using the free WordPress software package, and one other similar package called, Drupal. Computer people spend sleepless nights trying to come up with goofy names for their programs, like Drupal which was founded by some guys in the Netherlands. WordPress was founded by a University of Houston freshman less than a decade ago. All these guys are still young, and are now rich. I just enjoy working with their web page software.

  9. Z, Asheville is not a sleepy little town in the mountains, anymore. It is a thriving, smallish city with a lot of old hippies and young artists doing their version of art. Music is a big thing, also. Asheville is becoming a party city, and there is always something to do, there. I don’t know if the city council opens with prayer, anymore. That was a southern tradition in many places.

    The countryside used to be home to mountain men and bootleggers, and you can probably still fine some of those creatures. But, there are so many people moving into the towns around there that the nature of the area has changed.

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