Yesterday we went to the Bele Chere festival over in Asheville.
Asheville is one of our new favorite towns. We've gone there about four times in the past year. Ever since our first visit, we just keep going back. It's a small town and, while we've already walked all over it, there are still tons of places to go and restaurants to try. And it's something like #2 in the country for micro-brewing.
Asheville has some really cute architecture and the people are an interesting mix of hippies, artists, environmentalists and foodies. The town prides itself on being weird so how fun is that? This is the place where we saw the naked bike ride through downtown on a previous visit.
We ended up just making this a day trip. With the drive only being a little over 2.5 hours, we left early and got there just before the festival started up for the day. Not only were there a ton of vendors but we went to our favorite stores too. Plus the Asheville style of window shopping is fun. I love this display of star lanterns.
But this silly display of yard art violence was even better. You have to view this bigger and see the other two shots I have, here and here to really appreciate it.
But of course it's the people that make the town the weird, fun and welcoming place that it is.
This image below is a pretty typical example of the types of folks you see around town. The town can be a bit "crunchy-granola" but also you get a good variety of food and music and experiences. We like the local co-op grocery and that you can find a wide variety of organic and vegetarian foods.
The festival brought out bagpipers in kilts...
little cuties like this one who was enjoying an a cappella group (this is a very family friendly town)...
plus I saw some great street style, from a little punk-y...
to this very stylish pair.
We ate lunch in an Irish pub/restaurant and then hung out at Jack of the Woods, our favorite (non-smoking, music every day, kids welcome, micro-brew) pub.
We did get some old favorites and made some new discoveries while we were there. Our first stop was at Chocolate Fetish for some of the our favorite chocolates, behind only Vosges. Then we stopped at a few of the mineral stores in town. I was looking for a piece of pink salt and found a great salt lamp. We also got some jams from Imladris Farm, who have their stuff everywhere in local stores and coffee shops. They ship so let me recommend how yummy they are.
We discovered a new brand of chocolate which I can't wait to try. The Maglio chocolate bars are single origin chocolates and we got the Africa, Equador and Extra Bitter bars. I like dark chocolate so it will be interesting to see how good they are.
When I met this lovely girl on the street dressed in layers of vintage with a parasol, we struck up a conversation, since I had my parasol too. She told me about the store Vintage Moon which I had missed on previous visits. I was glad I stopped in because it's an adorable little store jam packed with clothes, hats and more. I got this black lace robe-y item - great for layering and to pick-up on all the lace sure to be around this Fall.
And I fell in love with these cute sweater clips. I may even wear them on some v-neck shirts as a sort of necklace.
As we walked along we took a ton of pictures and sent Tweets. We laughed when we saw this sign for folks to get updates on the festival via Twitter. You can't escape it!
I put up a TON more pictures on Flickr including some cute doggies, so check them out. And don't forget - sign up for Twitter and we can "follow" each other.