Saturday, January 28, 2012

You can look, but you'd better not touch

The cake pop shop wasn't yet open when we wandered by this morning. Their hours were noon to 7 – Ashevillians apparently start their days a little later than I do. Heh. At any rate, the caramel-covered cake pops (and marshmallows and pecans and other confections of unknown origin) made for pretty good eye candy, and not a speck of sugar was consumed in the process. (I don't remember the name of the store or I'd try to find a link. Perhaps I was drooling too much to pay attention to their signage.) ETA: Found the name in another photo! It's Kilwin's.

On our tour of the downtown area, we also went into a chocolate shop. There was a tiny table and two chairs in the corner of the store, and I went straight to the chair, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I was invited to see what a five-pound heart-shaped box of chocolates looked like (it was under glass, and thus safe), so I ventured into the center of the room but I dared not go up to the counter. It smelled heavenly, and if you can handle sugar and chocolate, I think The Chocolate Fetish would be a great place to spend some money and time.

I, fortunately, left spending none of the former and only a couple minutes of the latter.

Yesterday, after lunch at 12 Bones and before we met up with our friends, my husband and I went to a place called the Screen Door, which is part flea market, part architectural salvage, part gift shop, part home decorating – kind of a you-name-it interior and exterior art and design conglomeration. Lots of inspiration there, including a tree-shaped sculpture made of progressively smaller pieces of driftwood. Since our home is near three different rivers, I'm thinking this might be a free project for us, and would be a nice addition to our new front-yard landscaping project.

After lunch, we spent quite a bit of time in an old bookstore (there are many of them downtown, Malaprops is probably the best-known but we'd been there previously and really, these other places need to upgrade their branding. Or I need to upgrade my memory.), followed by a tour of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

Wolfe, best known for his novels Look Homeward, Angel and You Can't Go Home Again, was raised in Asheville, in a boardinghouse owned by his mother. His father and six siblings lived two blocks away, and everyone came and went at will. It sounds chaotic, and from what the tour guide said, it sounds like Mama Wolfe could have been one of those eccentric types. Papa Wolfe certainly was.

The tour was interesting and the house is amazing – 29 rooms, including the private family rooms as well as dining areas, sleeping porches and more bedrooms than we could count. Oh, and one bathroom. Rather amazing what people would accept for accommodations back in the day. It's furnished in period pieces, all of which have Do Not Touch signs on them and most of which were original to the boardinghouse or owned by members of the Wolfe family.

Makes me want to read Thomas Wolfe again.

Now we're back at the hotel, resting before we all decide what we want to do for dinner. This is not the height of tourist season in Asheville, NC, so there's not much available in the way of Events To Go To this weekend. And none of us are the young, bar-hopping type (snort!). If we were, there would be lots of hopping opportunities.

We've certainly enjoyed spending time with our friends and getting away from home for a short time. Makes you realize that you can go home again. And you tend to appreciate it even more, after a shot of city life.

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