September 3, 2014 by Susan Murray
It is not at all unusual for guests at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast to stay with us while considering a move to Western North Carolina. It’s no surprise really as our quirky little city consistently makes the cut in publications and blogs of all types. Asheville has been cited as the “perfect dog-friendly city” (Purina One 28 Day Challenge). It’s number 6 on Outside Magazine 16 Greatest Places to live in America. Travel & Leisure Magazine calls Asheville “quirky in the best of ways” on its list of 22 best American College Cities. Movie Maker Magazine voted Asheville #1 for Best Places to Live and Work as a Movie Maker in 2014. Asheville is the Friendliest City and the Most Beautiful. We are great for Foodies, Beer, Vegan Living and Fall Foliage. It seems like every time someone makes on list we are on it. But why? What is it that elevates Asheville above so many other great towns? In a word? Quirky.
The Urban Dictionary defines quirky as 1) something that is strange/not normal but cool, 2) different in a good way, and 3) unconventional, surprising, odd.
How is this Asheville? Let me give you an example: Shortly after we bought the Carolina Bed & Breakfast, I found myself at the paint counter at Lowes Home Improvement Store waiting for my paint to be mixed. As I stood there a man came over to the counter on my right and handed in his paint order. He was dressed in faded camouflage from his pants to his hat, and his complexion was ruddy and weather-worn. His hair was cut short and his boots muddy. We were standing next to each other in companionable silence when a third man approached the counter on my left side. This man wore a green and red plaid kilt and bright yellow Crocs for shoes. His hair was green and spiked on his head. The three of us waited while my eyes slipped from left to right considering the dynamics of this situation. As he was only buying a paint brush it did not take long for the third man to complete his purchase. He nodded to me and departed. After he left the first man (in camo) blew out his breath in a long sigh and said to me, “I don’t mind when they move here but it sure irks me when they mess with my music!” That was when I thought: “I can live here”.
Asheville is a wonderful mix of the conservative and the far-out. We have people of all political leanings, faiths and life-styles. But what makes that unusual is a sense of tolerance for each other. As long as you don’t mess with the music, you can wear what you want, love who you want, and think what you want. It is a joyous celebration of what makes us individuals. I admit that I worry that with all the publicity this town receives it may lose the tolerance which allows us to all live together so well. But historically Asheville has kept its heart and soul in place, may it always be so!
So here’s to quirky Asheville where, when a beautiful old tree must be cut down, the same chain saw that tore it apart is used to create a wood “nymph” out of the stump. Where a
beautiful antique door hangs from a tree, leading to nowhere and everywhere, and the glass in it remains safely unbroken. Where there are not one, but three, small, informal, take-a-book/leave-a-book libraries within a short walk of my house.
Where a public art installation asking people to finish the sentence, “Before I die…” has a self-appointed guardian, a Vietnam Veteran, who removes unkind and ugly words and keeps chalk in ready supply for those who want to add their thoughts. Where art is something to display in your garden and on your house and Shakespeare is performed all summer long in the park. Where markets abound and festivals are for the old, young, and in-between. Where parents go with their children on Halloween and teach them to say thank you, and James stops and talks to absolutely everyone when he walks around the neighborhood.
And, if you come to visit us at our Bed & Breakfast in Asheville‘s Historic District, we will do everything we can to help you find that place of equilibrium where you find pleasure in all our town has to offer and tolerance for what you don’t agree with or understand!Posted in About Asheville, Carolina Bed and Breakfast | Tagged 10 best lists, Carolina Bed & Breakfast, Public Art Installations, Quirky Asheville | Leave a comment