Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Destination Dreaming # 18

In continuation of the previous entry, my thoughts are dwelling on future homes. With this meditation, I bring you smoky-blue Asheville, North Carolina.


It's funny how these random cities that I have never visited begin to take precedence in my mind. Thoughts of Asheville began several months ago, when we were told of the future move of an uber-cool couple with San Francisco/San Diego roots. They were selling their art gallery/vintage clothing store in SD for more affordable living in the great South with their little girl (same age as Stella). Apparently, Asheville is beginning to have that same edge/notoriety as like sister cities, Portland, OR. and Austin. While the grandparents were in town, helping us with our awesome load of dirty clothes at the local Laundromat, they ended up meeting a young Brooklyn couple, who were also headed to a new home in Asheville with their two-year old son. They spoke of big homes, a vibrant art scene, and easy access to nature. They were also making this life change without knowing a single soul out there.

How does Asheville live up to my list of requirements?

1)Somewhat liberal - no place dominated by ultra conservatism (both political and religious).
* Asheville itself is considered very liberal, with a large hippy and gay demographic(not that we're a part of either of these groups), but it is surrounded by a dense Republican/church-going population.
2)A place where buying a modest home for around $300,000 seems possible.
* This is possible, and the arts & crafts style homes look adorable.
3)A city with good public transportation, and no heavy reliance on a car.
* There is limited bus and trolley service, but a car would be needed to truly enjoy the area and all it has to offer. There seem to be mixed opinions as to whether the traffic is truly horrible or if this is just a small town perspective on the situation.
4)An edgy cultural scene - art, music venues, museums, and ethnic variety.
* Downtown Asheville is 'funky' and all about the art and art galleries. The town itself has more Art Deco architecture than anywhere else but South Beach, Miami, and features several museums, grand homes and the famous Biltmore Estate. There are over two dozen music venues, with a surprising amount of alternative bands scheduled to tour (i.e. The Smashing Pumpkins).
5)A great farmer's market.
* Absolutely. This is a city with lots of great restaurants, including many that cater to vegetarians (not that I am one, but I always think this is a good sign of healthy produce), and there are several huge grocery emporiums with organic foods.
6)Good schools.
* Hmmm - don't know.
7)Proximity to a decent airport with international connections.
* this is the biggest negative. I was researching flights from New York and they were well over $400, involving a connection unless I want to fly out of Newark. This would not be an easy destination for family that wants to visit, and forget about the random friends that come blowing through town like they often do in New York. Greensboro is an alternate airport that is about 3.5 hours away. This is grim.
8)A REAL summer (none of that San Francisco crap!).
* Well, sorta - It looks like a mild climate that features all four seasons, which is great, but I don't think it's a place of hot, hot summers.
9)Nature in our backyard - lush parks, and places to hike or swim that are near enough.
* Wow! The Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachian trail, rivers, hiking, hallelujah!

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