No road trip through central North Carolina would be complete for Clay without a stop in Pittsboro, home to Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School. While the classes are booked months and months in advance and somewhat sporadically spaced throughout the summer, we at least were able to gaze in the windows and smile at the thought of coming back and attending the school some time in the future.
In our search for a cup of coffee we happened upon the Davenport and Winkelperry (you-wouldn’t-expect-it-in-Pittsboro) Steampunk gallery, café and lounge, where we were told that the ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers musician, Ken Mosher, frequently plays in the evening. Hannah had never heard of the SNZ so Pandora radio provided a short blast of some of our favorites. (the SNZs hailed from Chapel Hill, NC)
We missed Western North Carolina’s largest Corn Maze’s (12 acres) grand opening by one week. Darn…. But we enjoyed the last day of the Goombay Festival of African and Caribbean Drumming and Culture in Asheville, NC.
“A rhinestone on the buckle of the Bible Belt”
“Green Mecca of the South”
“Most vegetarian friendly small city in America”
“Sits atop a giant crystal that entices eclectic and artsy people”
All four phrases were used to describe Asheville, a town of about 80,000 nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western NC. We visited the stately Grove Park Inn, built in 1900, and still magnificently perched on Sunset Mountain.
After an enlightening tour of Warren Wilson College, one of seven “working colleges” in the US, we lunched at a vegetarian drive-thru. Woohoo !!!!
We ended our visit in Asheville with an afternoon at the Biltmore Estate and Gardens. The largest privately-owned home in the US, the Biltmore is 175,000 sq. ft, has 250 rooms and was crafted at the height of the Gilded Age of architecture and is commonly referred to as a Chateauesque-styled mansion. The estate now sits on 8000 acres and includes a winery, a hotel, a small amphitheater and magnificent gardens. Asheville provided a fascinating mixture of old and new.