Monday, September 21, 2015

Asheville After the Rain

I was in town yesterday to participate in a program of readings by members of the Great Smokies Writing Program. It was a pleasant, well-attended hour and a half or so of assorted poems, essays, novel excerpts and one very silly story. (That was me.)

Rain was falling when I left Malaprop's (Asheville's iconic independent bookstore, host of the Authors at Home reading series) and the parking garage afforded a fine view of a rainbow stretching over the cut on Beaucatcher Mountain.

I've been here long enough to remember Beaucatcher before the cut and Asheville when it was mainly boarded up stores. It's become a lively place now, full of natives, transplants, and tourists  -- a pleasant, walkable little city . . . but it continues to grow, adding hotels and high rises at a frightening pace.


I don't live in Asheville so my opinion isn't particularly informed . . . but I could wish that the growth would slow down.  I could wish that more affordable housing was being built rather than more high rise hotels blotting out the same lovely views that the tourists travel here to see.

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Ms. A said...

Strange irony, almost self defeating.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

We live half way between Asheville and Chattanooga and don't get to Asheville as much as we used to. Asheville has really changed since we first visited it some 20 years ago. I enjoyed your photos from downtown. We rarely go downtown, usually spending our time in Biltmore Village (and the doctors office), but there are some great restaurants that I would love to try. I'm not fond of high rises, so I really understand what you are saying.

Anvilcloud said...

That may be the best name for a bookstore ever.

It seems like the city needs some good zoning bylaws.

Barbara Rogers said...

Hi Vicki (and friends). I agree, there's the politically motivated urge to expand and increase what is good, and unfortunately that very movement destroys a lot of our attractions as well as the affordability for many good people to contribute to the community. Someone said they have seen a bumper stickers saying "Western North Carolina - stay away" or something like that. I love the soft rainbow over Beaucatcher Gap.

Friko said...

T’was ever thus.
Anything that’s good and rare needs to be made mundane and cheapened through far too easy access. That may be an elitist stand but I readily agree to being elitist. If something requires effort, it’s need to be made more accessible. If too few people means that there's too little profit, just bring in the crowds.

On the other hand you do say that Asheville has grown from a dismal little place with boarded-up shops to a lively, touristy place. Ah well, where’s the acceptable middle ground?

Frances said...

Vicki, I greatly appreciate all that you've shown and told in this post. Strangely, even here in New York, building tall towers continues in spaces previously occupied by buildings that were perhaps three or four stories high. Many folks are finding their iconic views blocked by intrusive, expensive, esthetically displeasing towers.

As Friko says, t'was ever thus.


NCmountainwoman said...

My husband was born and grew up in Asheville and he too laments the growth and expansion. That said, we are wait-listed for a retirement community there when it's time and our plots are in Riverside Cemetery so I suspect we will live our remaining years in Asheville and then sleep there forever.

Jim Egerton said...

A couple of years ago Joan and I went to Asheville. It had been 43 years since I had seen it. The only plus in architecture I saw was the renovation to the Flat Iron Building which I just love. The book stores were wonderful and the mountain air was delightful. The factory on the French Broad that now houses a school and artists is a special photographic treat.

I would go back in a heart beat. Thanks Vicki for bringing Asheville into my mind.

jennyfreckles said...

Wonderful light on those photos. You'd think we'd have grown tired of high-rises by now but they continue to shoot up. London too is being ruined by them.