I have to say it happened more quickly than I expected. Sure, it took about 6 months, but I thought it would be years before we'd find a town good enough to call home after 9 years in the best city in the world.
But we did it! And that place is: Asheville, North Carolina.
This may not come as a shock, either to new friends on this web site due to my post about mountains, or to old friends in NYC who over the past couple years got quite an earful from Justin and I about the charms of Asheville. But frankly, it has come as quite a surprise to me - that I could feel this comfortable and stimulated in such a small city.
So what's so great about Asheville?
- It's freaking gorgeous. In the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, everywhere you turn you are presented with a stunning view of layered, blue, rolling mountains. There are two rivers. The plant life is lush and green. It's real pretty.
- The weather is great. Being in the south, it's nice and warm; but being in the mountains, it doesn't get scorched like other NC and SC locations. 40s in January, 80s in July. One or two short-lived snowfalls per winter. Perfection.
- Tourism. I suppose you can view tourism as a good thing or a bad thing, but in Asheville it's one of the only industries (and has been historically). And it ensures that there are lots of great things to eat and drink, and fun things to do. Which brings me to...
- Food. For such a tiny town, this place boasts a lot of great restaurants. The farm-to-table scene is very active, and there are bunches of tailgate markets. All around, Asheville folks are serious about their food.
- Beer. With 10 craft breweries and a population of only around 80,000, Asheville has the most breweries per capita in the country.
- Downtown. Nothing makes me sadder than an empty, boring downtown area. Luckily, downtown Asheville is a thriving, energetic, fun, and historic place.
- Craft/Art. I love craft, and so does Asheville. The area has a long and rich Appalachian craft history, and is full of galleries. It's also a stone's throw from the amazing Penland.
So far, the only real downside that I've experienced or even heard about is the job market. Tourism and medical care are big here; other than that, there aren't many jobs, and the jobs that exist pay very little. After being here for a couple months and applying for dozens of jobs, then getting either no response or offers of little over minimum wage, I was starting to think we wouldn't be able to stay here. Fortunately, I recently landed a great grant writing gig for a local non-profit. So now I feel like I'm being paid to live here! It's amazing how regular income can affect your opinion of a place.
There is so much more to say about moving here, especially about change in lifestyle - but I will save that for another post. For now, I'll leave you with some images of Asheville - on Google