yes, technically i was born in georgia, but i left before i have any recollection of it. north carolina has been home for as long as i can remember. it always will be. i love everything about the state. i mean, who couldn't? it's the "tar heel state"...duh!!
so, for those of you who haven't had the privilege of experiencing this not-so-little gem of a town firsthand, i'll attempt to convey it's awesomeness. here's why i love this little mountain town with all my heart...
1: downtown. you'll never see the same thing twice. it's a perfect mesh of earthy, liberal, modern, mountain, business....life. so much for your typical southern town. i love it.
2: i never have to use a gps. never. i know this city inside and out. and that makes me happy.
3: i will always call it home. cedar view drive will always be the place where i return. no matter where i go, i'll always come back. and it will always feel right.
4: biltmore village and biltmore estate. who else can boast "america's largest home" in their hometown? yeah, that's what i thought. it's gorgeous, and so full of history. i love escaping to biltmore village to browse the boutiques and slip away to biltmore estate to go back in history. love love love.
5: grove park inn. every friend who ever comes to visit me will wind up walking the halls of grove park with me and sitting in the lobby to chat and listen to the live music. it just feels right.
6: everywhere i go holds a memory. whether it's east asheville with the ball parks and ACA's old campus where i spent the first 12 years of my school career...or west asheville with the fresh market's yummy goodness and the old mcdonald's on merrimon that used to have the indoor playplace with the giant purple creature...or south asheville with the racquet club where we spent every sunny summer afternoon at the pool and church every sunday at Arden Pres...or north asheville with, well, i guess i don't venture into north asheville very much. maybe i should work on that.
7: crisp, cool mountain air. i've never breathed better air. seriously. it could be the middle of the summer and the air is still crisp....none of that "i'm breathing in a cloud" mess.
8: water that literally tastes like you took it straight from the spring. better than bottled. and it's from the tap. no funky sulfur taste or massive amounts of lime junk that leaves the funky white residue in your tea kettle. just pure, clean, bona fide mountain water.
9: small town feel with big city opportunities. maybe it has something to do with the fact that mom and dad both grew up in asheville and returned to raise us there too, but it just feels comfy and right. i can go out and see someone i know, but not everyone. you can feel connected, but not invaded. everyone doesn't know your business, but enough people know and they care. they really care. you're connected.
10: the mall. it's seen quite the facelift since i left for carolina, but it has always been a great place to go and spend an afternoon wandering the stores and spending more money than i should. and it's slightly more enticing now that there's a dippin' dots stand in the food court. um, yes please!!
11: all four seasons. we get all four seasons in perfect doses. winter isn't bitter. spring is budding. summer isn't blistering. and fall is gorgeous. i have never seen a place more beautiful in the fall than asheville. and i'll argue that i never will. see for yourself and join the rest of the tourists that come to drive the blue ridge parkway and marvel at the leaves. stunning.
12: mountains. mountains. mountains. i am not a beach girl (ironic that i'm moving to Tampa?). take me to the mountains every time. 10 out of 10 times i'll vote mountains. some people go to the beach to see the majesty and splendor of our Creator God. i go to the mountains. i find refuge there. i find Him. i love when i come up old fort mountain and see asheville nestled among the mountains in front of me, or when i look outside the plane window and see the blanket of green bumps that are the essence of this little mountain town. they make my heart skip a beat. i love the mountains. always have, always will.
some people come down with it for a week.
others are happily afflicted for life.
in this north carolina town,
virtually everyone is seeking a wilderness fix.
and no one goes home disappointed.
in fact, you may not go home at all..."
for me, i don't have to go home. it is home.
live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally.