"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!" – John Muir

mosaic closeup

Today was a fantastic day!

I’ve been hanging out with my pal Helen Mosher all weekend, as she’s in the area for a visit – and we decided that Saturday was obviously “go to Asheville and see the sights” day. I know I was just there last week with Melissa and Bo, but there’s never enough Asheville to be had!
One of many great things about spending time with Helen is that she’s as laid back as I am when it comes to just getting in the car and going somewhere. We like just wandering around and having adventures, and true to form, the day yielded some lovely treasures and sights!

Xiane gets ready to go to Asheville!

Here I am, ready to get into trouble!

The drive up was as pleasant as it usually is, with majestic and breathtaking views as well as verdant expanses that always make me smile so wide. Helen and I talked about a million facinating things and yet managed to not only not get lost, but to perfectly find our way to downtown Asheville perfectly easily. Hurrah!

Asheville was hoppin’ – it seems that there was some sort of art/craft thing going on, although I never did quite suss out what that was all about. I’m sure it wasn’t the little crafty vendor thing we found in the middle of town. No worries for us, though, as we parked in the same lot that Melissa and Bo showed me on last week’s trip… I love how centrally placed the lot is, and I can’t complain about having to walk by Malaprop’s at least twice [coming out then back to the lot] as it means that I can look longingly, then come back to buy books-wonderful-books before getting back to the car.

It was somehow appropriate, seeing that Helen runs Knitster.org and that I blog there, that the first place we should stop would be Earth Guild.

Earth Guild in Asheville NC

I don’t have photos of it yet, but I bought four skeins of the most AMAZING purple/red sock yarn, so that I can attempt my first pair of socks with delectable, inspirational yarn. [toe up, using a pattern that I found in Interweave Knits. I’ll post photos to document, I promise!]

We talked to one of the proprietors for quite a bit, the same lady who was so helpful with my romney fiber purchase last time I was in town. I would be in SO MUCH trouble if I lived near there, oh my! Helen and I chatted and wandered and fiber-fondled and talked about project ideas and just absorbed the atmosphere until hunger made us move on. Before we made it to eat, we were sidetracked by the aforementioned little arts/crafts vendor booths that were set up in the little triangle between College and Haywood Streets. The mosaic at the top of this entry was just one of the lovely items displayed there.

Outdoor art market in Asheville

Based on the recommendation that our Earth Guild friend gave, and after the first recommendation from a friend of Helen’s didn’t pan out for us [Tupelo Honey Cafe, which I’ll have to try at some other point], we ended up at Laughing Seed Cafe – which also happens to be a place that Melissa and Bo told me that I might like when we were last there. Synchronicity!

waterfall fountain in Laughing Seed

OMG. I can’t tell you what a joy it is to get to have REAL veg*n food in a restaurant without begging for things to be omitted or settling for a salad! We were starved, so even if the food had been mediocre I’m sure it would have seemed a feast, but the food was certainly NOT mediocre at all – it was absolutely delicious and completely filling without being overloading. I dined on shiitake/corn/potato cakes with a “cream” made with cumin and cilantro and nestled on a bed of greens, plus a refreshingly thin – not thick and creamy – butternut squash soup. Helen got a ginormous salad with all sorts of veggies, nuts, seeds, sprouts, and avocado, plus she got a pleasingly different artichoke dip for us to share. I would go back there a million times with no complaint, let me tell you. HIGHLY recommended.

We had a bunch of other adventures, but I really need to point you over to Helen’s blog for the next thing I just have to share. Helen captured some video of a really great bluegrass band busking on Haywood Street, after going up and introducing herself and telling them about her blog and her interest in bringing their music to her readers. Please take a moment to go there and watch the video that she took, and read a bit more about Bear Down Easy – if you like authentic street music, especially bluegrass, you won’t be disappointed!

Malaprop's coffee bar

Every good trip to my favourite city in North Carolina needs to end with a stop in Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe. We needed icy drinks to refresh us after a hike up a huge hill, and the coffee bar obliged happily… then we wandered around and of *course* I left with a book – this time a book about fermented foods for MrWhite to enjoy [and myself as well, of course!] – I managed not to go TOO crazy, at least.

The drive back home was just as good as the drive there. Helen’s so very much fun to be around, and we get along so well, that I joked that all road trips should be with her. What a great day!

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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