Occasionally, though, I adventure to a town I know right off I would not want to order address labels for. I discovered that to be true for Asheville, North Carolina. Mark and I dropped the kids off at their grandparents on Friday and took the scenic route up through the mountains to Asheville. And there were moments along that trail where I may have mentioned that "I would love to live here!" It was a gorgeous ride with snow covering many of the mountaintops and quaint little towns dotting the map.
Asheville itself, however, is one of those artsy-fartsy towns. Since I am not of the artsy-fartsy persuasion in any way, I never feel comfortable in that type of environment. We spent some time exploring downtown Asheville. There is a beautiful building they have dubbed "Grove Arcade", which seems such a strange name. When I think Arcade, I think a child's gaming paradise. But this is not that. At all. It's one of those hoity-toity places, grand as it is, that houses only a few shops. Expensive shops. There was an overpriced quilt shop, an overpriced rug shop, a very tiny farmer's market full of organic anything, a cheese shop, and some art shops where ordinary people like me don't feel comfortable browsing.
Outside the mall, I was excited to see a bookstore. But I wondered what a champagne bar was. We wandered in, again feeling a little out of our element. There was indeed a bar serving champagne, so the name was not metaphorical for anything else. The shelves were laden with books, but they were clearly collector's books because the cheapest one I saw was $90. In the back there was a group of over-dressed (for a Saturday afternoon) what I can only assume were book collectors nursing their glasses of champagne over the dusty covers of some rare books. Where does a person go if he simply wants to read a Grisham novel around here?
Don't get me wrong. We had a wonderful time together. I love to see new things, and this type of environment, though not a comfortable one for me, is fun to observe. And we enjoyed each other besides. We finished whole conversations. Mark opened my car door for me like in the days of yore before he took on the duty of strapping children into carseats. We ate a delicious dinner at an Indian restaurant, a cuisine we love but the kids not so much. And we even went to a 10:30 movie which meant we stayed up way past our bedtime.
The movie was an interesting experience. It was a Cinebarre movie. I don't know--maybe the average person is more sophisticated and more experienced in American culture than we are, but we had never experienced a movie like at this theater. At the ticket counter, you can also purchase a drink--not just soda, but wine or a margarita. Then inside the theater, the chairs sit behind a counter that runs the length of the row. Every two or three seats, there is a setting of salt and pepper and other condiments as well as a menu and an ordering tablet. There is full fare offered on the menu. You write down your order, a waiter picks it up, and at some point during the movie, the waiter brings you a plate of hot wings or pizza or chocolate cake. We only indulged in some popcorn and chocolate cake since we had already had dinner. We really weren't hungry for anything, but you've gotta experience it, right?
We saw Valentine's Day, which turned out to be a cute movie. Kind of slow and all over the place at first, but good in the end. Since this getaway was sort of our combination birthday trip and Valentine's celebration, it seemed appropriate. And even if I wouldn't want to put roots down in Asheville, North Carolina, I did have a wonderful time away with my favorite person.