When we planned our trip, we hoped to find something fun in Asheville to do on the Fourth of July. Had it not rained, we would have had no problem. Asheville has the usual fireworks, but they also have a street fair and a kiddie parade. But since all of that was rained out, we had no plans. I was kind of worried that everything would be closed, Canada-style, since federal holidays in Canada mean that everything you might want is closed. I checked with the grocery store to make sure they were open so we could cook for ourselves if everything was closed. Of course, this is America, and the grocery store near the house was open 24 hours, just like a regular day.
Anyways, we decided to call up some friends of ours who live in the area, and who we pretty much never get to see. They are the family of John's roommate who passed away suddenly while they were both grad students at UT Knoxville, and we've been fortunate to stay in touch with them over the years. We drove about 90 minutes to their house where his former roommate's parents, their children and grandchildren had gathered for the holiday. It was a lovely evening and I'm grateful that we go to see them.
I'm not so happy to say that the drive from the lake house back to the main road, and then back to Asheville, made me more motion sick than I've been in years. I'm still feeling the effects of it a few weeks later, which is partly why I'm posting these recaps in large batches.
Anyways, I spent a lot of July 5th lying in bed, waiting for the room to stop spinning and trying to choke down some saltines and sprite. Delicious.
After a couple hours and a walk around the neighborhood to get my balance back in order, we headed downtown for biscuit sandwiches, tea (for me) and espresso (for John) at City Bakery.
We decided to try a few breweries inside Asheville and then take a break in case I got sick. Happily, I was able to hang out (but not quite participate) at several breweries that afternoon and I felt a lot better by the evening, as is typically the case with bad bouts of my motion sickness.
We stopped by Wedge before it opened, but I snapped a picture from the outside:
In the mean time, we went to French Broad brewing:
We both liked their IPA and golden ales, and we were impressed with their not-too-sweet Scotch Ale, especially since neither of us normally go for scotch ale.
Next we headed to Green Man, where we had probably the weirdest flight.
My stomach wasn't up for tasting all these beers, but John thoroughly enjoyed them. I really liked the porch, especially since it, too, was dog friendly. I saw a terrier that had coloring more similar to Toby's than any dog I've ever seen.
I have to say, I saw some very good dog owners in Asheville. Places that encourage guests to bring their dogs seem like they could be chaotic, since dog owners range so widely. And let's face it, everything thinks their dog is good. Many times a dog has lept at me while I'm on a run, and the owner will casually shout, "Oh, he's fine. He doesn't bite." I'm left thinking that the person is crazy and their dog is out of control. But the dogs I saw in Asheville were mostly calm and well-mannered, especially in public places like brewery patios.
After a nap, we went back out for cocktails,
....and then we walked around in our rain gear while waiting for dinner....
...at Chai and Pani, an Indian place that specializes in what they call Indian street food. This place was casual and, to me, reasonably priced. And the food was some of the best we had.
John whistled along with the song playing in the background.
The final dish we ordered was a sort of green mango salad with peanuts, cilantro, and a sort of house-made cornflake topping. It was spicy and refreshing, the best possible end to the meal. In a way I'm sorry we didn't go back there, but every place we went for dinner made me feel that way.
We made a stop after dinner for a box of chocolates at a store that had a beautiful, edible aquarium display.
Then we went back to Wedge so John could find his happy place. This is him saying, "I have all the beers!"
Behind him here you can see a food truck, along with people drinking beer outside and playing bean bag toss. The rain finally let up and we enjoyed sitting outside. And, by this point, I could almost talk normally. It was a great end to what started as a very rough day.