As a northerner, I was psyched to hear about your liberal village of the south. It seemed like a fairytale that such a place would exist. The rolling Blue Ridge Mountains that surround you look vast and massive, like they are the protector of your freethinking microcosm.
As we drove closer to you, the gratuitous church crosses did not lessen. The gun shops did not diminish. Even though we had already passed the Mason Dixon line, I remained hopeful that deep in the valley of the mountains, you would be my Burlington, Vermont of the south.
Your downtown was flooded with street performers, including a nun on a tall bike providing drive-by baptisms with a squirt gun. Most of the restaurants had what I was hopeful for: fresh produce and pushers of the farm-to-table movement. All your meals were delicious. And the beer, well done, Asheville, well done. I wish we had more time to explore more places to eat and drink. (Places of note: Wicked Weed, Champagne Bar and Book Exchange, and Seven Sows.)
Your biking trails throughout the Pisgah National Forest were immaculate. Thanks for your variety of easy to challenging trails. I can see why people would want to be mountain biking aficionados here. Your cool summer nights and mornings paired with toasty hot days were glorious. I will say, there is more to life than weather…
Asheville, please don’t pretend you’re a bunch of liberal hippies. Your ‘Asheville, loophole of the Bible Belt’ motto is cute, but it’s not reality. You’re trying and I appreciate that. Please don’t stop trying, but I’m not really sure if that’s what you want?
I’ve been running and racing for a long time. I have to say, being prayed for before a race is new for me. Reminding me about God and running for God after a race is also a new experience for me. Asking what church I go to boarders on poor boundaries. I just want to run without religion, thanks.
You’re still in North Carolina and I know paying teachers an adequate salary is not your top priority. I heard some not-so-impressive stories from friends living and working in education. If you don’t value your teachers and education, I worry. That’s a huge red flag for me. Yes, everything is cheaper than the north, but for me, there’s more to life than cheap real estate.
Thanks for beautiful vistas and majestic mountains, Asheville. I enjoyed myself and bring back lots of memories. We can be friends, but I’m no longer interested in moving in you.