Late May, Early June…

Where is the year going, almost halfway done now? Days have been filled with walking, running, bicycling and day to day tasks. These days, the last before slipping into summer, are my favorite.

The end of May brought “Birthday Season” to our little family and a 24-hour trip to Asheville. On the day of departure, we woke to torrential rain. I know John would have preferred to put the trip off to a drier day but the room was booked so we went on. The interstate drive to Asheville, mostly curvy and mountainous, was white knuckled.

As we came off the mountain, about 30 minutes outside of Asheville, traffic stopped. A call to 511 informed us that an accident had shut down the road…for hours. We were near an exit and took the opportunity to slip off the highway. The next hour was spent on 2-lane scenic roads, traveling through the charming, small North Carolina towns of Clyde, Canton and Chandler. What a lovely, unplanned adventure.

Asheville has changed a lot since our last visit, yet it is also very much the same. We stayed in the modern Cambria Hotel (new since last visit) located near the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville and will stay there again on our next Asheville overnight.

Our room had a walkout balcony (right side, behind the railing). We did not get to enjoy the balcony much due to the rain, but when we did, the view was spectacular!

The day involved mostly food, walking and dodging raindrops. Lunch at our favorite vegetarian restaurant, Laughing Seed, didn’t disappoint. Dinner at Mayfel’s, a New Orleans influenced comfort food restaurant was not as good as it’s hype, at least the dishes we ordered were only ok.

Overcast day in Asheville, often rainy.
Asheville is all about art, on the streets, in the windows and in her many galleries. The street scene is sometimes quirky and always interesting.
Birthday photo taken at the Cambria.
Asheville at night from our hotel balcony.

Day 2 was beautiful! We had breakfast at Hemmingway’s Cuba in our hotel then spent the morning in the Asheville Art Museum. We were there to see a special exhibition titled “The Wyeths: Three Generations” and the paintings were as expected, interesting. Surprising the number of people who were viewing the exhibit on a Friday morning. Another reminder of how great this “alternate” or “retirement” lifestyle is. I love it.

While the Wyeth exhibit drew us to the museum, the exhibit that grabbed my attention was titled “Southern Rites”, the work of American filmmaker and photographer, Gillian Laub. The photo exhibition examines the realities of youth and racism in a small southern town in Georgia over a decade or more, raising painful and essential questions. I thought the exhibit was quite powerful!

The balance of our Asheville trip was spent wandering up and down several streets reading menus and looking for something for lunch that appealed. We selected The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar for a patio lunch. What a lucky choice! We agreed that we would drive several hours just to lunch here again (and the book selection is pretty interesting too).

Lunch on the patio.
Shared lunch. This amazing charcuterie board had spicy pimento cheese (made in-house of course), prosciutto, gouda, locally made raspberry jam, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, spicy almonds and pecans, spicy mustard and a sliced baguette (or two).

Birthday season continued into June; it always does. Since my younger sister and I were born 4 years and 5 days apart, we celebrate as long as we can. The celebrations included lunches and a gift or two.

Birthday flowers from my sweet sister (and fellow Gemini), in the evening light

Also, in May we started taking care of this little nugget of cuteness, one day a week for 3 or so hours. At least that was the agreed on plan, funny how plans have a way of changing- John was sick one week, baby was sick several times and so forth. The grandparenting plan, hatched 6 weeks ago, has only materialized a couple of times but what sweet days they have been.

Granddad and baby girl, full of giggles and toothy (4) grins.
Me, dog and crying baby.

Early in June, which was only last week, we returned to hiking after a 3-month hiatus. Our hiking destination was the Obed Wild and Scenic River Area, the Point Trail. This is the same trail I posted about on January 24 only we were hiking in snow and cold then and now the heat and vegetation.

Popular climbing rocks in the Obed
Tom at our lunch spot. The pictures are deceiving, there were actually 5 hikers.
Reflections in a pond

Lastly, at least for this post, we went to the season finale for the Marble City Opera. Marble City Opera’s mission is to provide innovative Chamber Opera in non-traditional venues. We have been to 10 or so different performances and the Marble City Opera Company has nailed every one. This show, a stage presentation of The Copper Queen, was no exception.

The storyline for this opera, performed in a small theater venue, is as follows: “Still healing from her grandmother’s death, Addison Moore finds herself checking into The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, Arizona. Aware of the ghost stories and hauntings, Addison fearlessly elects to stay in Room 315, the location of the heartbroken Julia Lowell’s death a century ago. But what draws Addison to Room 315? And why does she want to face Julia’s ghost?”

The one act opera took place on one set, in one room (Room 315) in The Copper Queen Hotel, frequently switching between inter-related stores separated by 100 years. Intense and often extremely emotional, the story took surprise twist toward the end. Needless to say we look forward to the 2022-23 season!

Kathryn Frady, founder and Artistic Director of the Marble City Opera. She also sang the lead role of Julia Lowell. Fantastic!
Opera companions, dinner, social and bookclub friends, Nancy and Bill.
The entire play took place in this room, Rm 315 at the Copper Queen Hotel.

That’s it for now. Time to get back to walking and bicycling!

This entry was posted in Asheville, Birthdays, Friends, Hiking, Obed, Opera, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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