For us, going to Asheville, NC was all about books. And let me assure you, they have terrific book stores stocked with amazing books. But HOLY COW, what a fun city!!
Sometimes referred to as “The Paris of the South,” this city is brimming with music, books, art and fine southern food and drink. It is populated with welcoming, friendly citizens who are proud of their city.
Some of the fine people we met during our stay in Asheville…
We met this fun couple (below) at dinner. They told us that before they moved to Asheville, they used to travel a lot. Now they don’t leave town much, because they are afraid they’ll miss something!
Great bookstores, cool restaurants, bars, fun-buses, galleries, and music venues, chocolate shops, breweries, ghost tours, and food tours. The fun never stops in this giddy, pretty city.
But let’s start at the beginning. Our first stop was at The Captain’s Book Shelf, located at 31 Page Avenue in downtown Asheville. I was immediately impressed with the angle parking on this street (I love angle parking!). Bring lots of coins, though…there are parking meters, and you’ll want to hang out for a long time.
In existence for 39 years, The Captain’s Bookshelf is an ABAA shop owned by Chan Gordon and his wife Meigan. We have purchased from them before at book fairs.
This was our first visit to their store. This shop is a real treasure trove. We were in book lover’s heaven as we happily spent hours browsing and buying here.
Stock include top quality literature high points, lovely decorated bindings, as well as obscure older titles not easily found.
Here is a sampling of fine books we purchased from this store:
Any direction we looked there were gorgeous collectible quality books here.
Definitely worth a trip for any serious book collector.
Our second stop was about a block away at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, in the heart of Asheville at 1 Page Avenue.
This enchanting store houses over 22,000 books, successfully blending two of life’s greatest pleasures…books and wine. Enter and shop for books in what feels like a great, multi-storied living room, with a comfortable bar offering wine and mimosas, as well as coffee and locally made pastries.
Let’s go inside…
Hours of fun…and we turned up some great books here too!
Here are just a couple of them…
We said goodbye to the Book Exchange…
and HELLO to dinner at a great little restaurant called Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder (how could we resist that??). Wonderful food, flights marvelous bourbon.
Somebody looks happy…
The food was marvelous. Hot buttermilk hushpuppies cooked to perfection, Eli’s “Blue Ribbon” Fish Sauce Wings, juicy pork chops. Their menu here is ever-changing, with all menu items sourced seasonally and locally. Highly recommended.
After dinner, we walked around the town a bit, taking in the sights. There is plenty to do in Asheville!
Live music is a significant element of the tourist-based economy in Asheville, with numerous nightclubs and performance venues. The City has a strong tradition of street performance and outdoor music and music festivals.
There is so much to do in this City, I do believe you would have to live here to get to around to it all!
Here are a couple more book stores we did not make it to:
Downtown Books and News, 67 N. Lexington Ave. – A used book store that never closes (they are even open on holidays). They have stayed open every day for 24 years!
Malaprops, 55 Haywood St. – a large general book store, stocking new books and regional writers. Co-owners Emoke B’Racz and Linda Barrett Knopp celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2012.
The Thomas Wolfe House is also located in downtown Asheville, at 52 Market Street. The famous American author Thomas Wolfe lived in the home during his boyhood, and it was the setting for his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel.
The Biltmore Estate, America’s largest and most magnificent home, is here in all it’s gilded age glory. The 8000-acre beautiful and grand estate built by George Vanderbilt in 1895 is a major tourist attraction.
Asheville is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa River and the French Broad River. The population was 83,393 according to the 2010 U.S. Census, with a population of 424,848 in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area. It is home to University of North Carolina at Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, with eight other colleges and universities in the surrounding area.
Next stop will be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!