Thursday, December 31, 2015

Asheville, NC.

Sarah, Kylie and I have been spending this week in a beautiful Bed and Breakfast just a mile north of downtown Asheville, NC.

Yesterday, we headed to downtown for the usual Tops for Shoes shopping spree.  Rather than spend an hour sitting in the chairs set about for fitting shoes on women, I decided to walk around on a wet afternoon, shooting the town with my new camera.

I find Asheville to be a wonderful place,  It is full of great restaurants, bars and I hear as many as 30 craft breweries.  The town is old enough to have many preserved, historic storefronts,  It has a large park in front of the two major government buildings, city hall and the county courthouse.  Both of these were built in the 1920's and are well preserved.

The location of the city in the mountains with surrounding smaller towns, and availability of these fine stores and restaurants brings people from all around.  This makes downtown a very vibrant and active place.  Driving in is very easy too.  There are several garages downtown that are free for the first hour, then one dollar an hour for each hour over that with a cap of eight dollars for the day.

We have done our share of shopping and dining and I must say that I find Asheville to be a very good place.

Old stores and restaurants take up this entire block.

An Art Deco cafeteria and office building.

Stone detailing.

Beautiful entrance

A corner filled with restaurants at the corner of a government square park.

The very popular Chocolate Lounge with the City Hall and Courthouse in the background.

Inside the Chocolate Lounge

Light fixture, with the wrong bulb, on the Art Museum building.

The courthouse building on the left, City Hall on the right.

They were supposed to both be designed to match, in the Art Deco style.  But the Courthouse building design was denied with a more traditional design selected.  Both are good to me.

Entry to the Art Deco City Hall building

Art Deco light fixture flanking the entry to the City Hall building.  It is probably eight feet tall.

Groin vaults at the entry to City Hall 

The perfect expression for an entrance to a very large building.

The perfect entry door to the County Courthouse.  This is what happens when idiots are allowed to make changes to good architecture.  

Details at the entry door (now exit only) to the courthouse.

One of my favorite buildings downtown.

Another block filled with fine historic structures.

The city is sensitive to trash collection and recycling.

The big draw for Sarah for the past 40 years.

Inside Tops.  Mural of storefronts.

Like all towns, Asheville had its share of bad buildings constructed in the late 20th century.  Who could possibly think that this building fits into the urban environment.  Blank ugly walls surround this bad one.

Bad design leads to bad uses and maintenance.

Still work to do.  Many buildings appear to be vacant above stores and restaurants on street level.  There is wonderful potential here,

More photos from the next day.  Sarah and Kylie were in Tops, so I wandered around with my camera.  The Grove Arcade is a fine building.

Inside the Grove Arcade.  First floor full but the offices above are not.

Outside corner of the Grove.  Wonderful glazed terracotta panels on the exterior.

Inside the Green Sage Restaurant

And Wicked Weed brewery

Courthouse and city hall from a distance.


  1. Reversing the entrance and exit for the court house would make more sense, aesthetically. A grand entrance and a constricted binding exit would be more poetic, consistent with Ambrose Bierce's quip 'a lawsuit is a machine you go into as a pig and come out as a sausage'.

    Actually... maybe the uninviting entrance is the better arrangement after all.

    1. David, It might make sense, discouraging entry, but the architect is certainly rolling in his grave.

  2. My sister-in-law lives in Asheville so I have some familiarity. My beef is less with doorways and more with weather. Asheville is the main reason I wish Christmas could be moved to July for a few decades to allow Australians to enjoy a winter season and to allow me to travel to Asheville for family gatherings in the fond hope I might hit summer that week and not freeze.

    1. I recommend heading there during its summer. And ride up so you can enjoy the wonderful roads surrounding the town. I like to go up whenever possible, but it is a much shorter ride from Jacksonville.