Again, Asheville was fabulous. And is a great place to sit outside at a cafe and people watch. While hubby and I were enjoying dinner one night, we observed the following: a police officer pulling up and parking, obviously looking for "trouble." He found it as he spied a man drinking a beer on public property. This poor gentleman was within 50 feet of the restaurant's outside dining area where it is perfectly legal to drink alcohol. In addition to receiving a ticket (which seemed to take forever to be written up), the man had the privilege of having his duffel bag searched. (Can someone say "probable cause"?). The police officer was later joined by another buddy, and they continued to scan the crowd, looking for more evil doers. As that excitement was wrapping up, I saw a beautiful, black Smart car zip by - I love Smart cars and so rarely see them! (Obviously, it doesn't take much to excite me.) A few minutes later, a woman whom I dubbed "skater girl" strolled by. She had her skateboard tucked under her arm and was wearing 1) a lacy black bra and 2) shredded, footless tights. That's it. The night before, there was a art gallery event, where all the galleries were open later than usual and serving refreshments. In one of the galleries, an individual (couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman) strolled past us wearing what appeared to be a bird costume, complete with mask. Another gallery was hosting a "fairy party" and many of the guests were dressed as, you guessed it, fairies. Earlier in the day, I saw a man wearing a khaki skirt. We saw so many interesting things and people and I really cannot do them justice; you just had to have been there.
One thing that amazed me about Asheville is that it's really a small city, about 80,000 residents, and yet it's such a progressive community, with all the green living and artistic expression. By comparison, we live about an hour away from a similarly-sized city. That city has one farmers' market and one small health food store. And I'm sure it doesn't have the vibrant arts community that is found in Asheville.
After we left Asheville, we took advantage of the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and found a nice hiking trail to follow before we headed home. I had done a bit of research but some locals told us about a less-touristy hike that has recently been opened to the public. Catawba Falls was a fairly moderate three hour round trip hike. As you can see from the photo, it was well worth it.
Now I've got the bug - I can't wait to get back to Asheville. I'm thinking another visit in the fall would be good....