Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Asheville Adventures

We've just returned from one of the loveliest weekends I can recall, spent in one of my most favorite places: Asheville, N.C. We ventured there to see our cousin Emily marry her love, Thijs, on the beautiful grounds of Lake Eden and squeeze some sightseeing in while we could.

The art history nerd in me was WIGGING OUT that the families and wedding party were going to be staying there because it's the location of the former Black Mountain Art College, a sort of modern art superstar breeding ground that operated from the 1930s to 1957. The teachers and students were a Who's Who of modernism: Josef Albers, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Jacob Lawrence, Buckminster Fuller, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning and on and on and on. Some cool stuff happened, like...

Buckminster Fuller and his students built the first geodesic domes. SWEEEEEET!

We stayed in the Sequoia Cottage, which was originally built for a German composer who was a professor at the college. If I could, I would buy this house! I loved it that much. It was tucked into the woods, lovely and modern, and had a great layout.

 The artsy and ethnic decor was perfect.

 The view outside our door: a teepee! So fun.

 And me, in front of the sweet house.

On Saturday, Miss Margaret, Katie and I went to the Thomas Wolfe house and took the tour. Wolfe's book, "Look Homeward, Angel," is autobiographical and tells the story of growing up in his mother's boardinghouse, so a visit to the home is particularly great because the tour guide points out spots that are portrayed in the book. Even if you haven't read his books, it's an interesting peek into the boardinghouse culture of the early 20th century and at the end of the day, it's a pretty house! I loved the butter yellow and blue porch!

How gorgeous is this mantel? Apparently Thomas Wolfe hated the house (he had more modern taste), but it's really quite lovely.

 Let it be known I'd kill for a sun porch like this!

 After our tour, I asked a woman at the visitor services desk for a restaurant recommendation that would be "quintessential Asheville." She immediately said The Green Sage, which ended up being hilariously on-point. Asheville is a hippy dippy town, and this is a hippy dippy restaurant! When I ordered, the waitress kindly asked if I'm gluten-sensitive. Everything was super fresh and really delicious; I had a grass-fed beef burger with peppers, monterey jack cheese and chipotle mayo. I had it with a side salad with tangy lemon tahini dressing that was so, so good.

 After lunch, we had a quick visit to the Asheville Art Museum. In keeping with the influence of Black Mountain Art College, its collections are devoted to 20th and 21st century art.

Being the magpie that I am, I was drawn to a new installation, called "Community." Artist Sharon Louden worked with community members to create this aluminum piece. It's mesmerizing. Its reflectiveness causes viewers to multiply, give it color and movement. If you're in the area while it's on view, be sure to check it out!

On Sunday, the whole Kennedy clan went to visit Biltmore, the largest private home in the United States. It's totally a spectacle, but it's very hard not to appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry of every single detail of the home, its grounds and even the estate's carefully planted forest.

 It's totally pricey, but definitely worth the visit in my book. The ticket price covers entry to the home, the gardens, the winery and more.

One small pro-tip though: it's not air-conditioned, so if you go in the summertime, be prepared. I'm so glad I keep a small container of bobby pins in my purse!

It was such a great visit back to Asheville and I'm amazed that such a small city still has so much to see and do after all the times I've been there. I can't wait to go back!

No comments: