In Memory of My Father

Manuel Ybarra - Carmen's Dad

My father left this earth 16 years ago. I was not cheated by a sudden death. I was born when he was 60 years old. He lived a good, long, and healthy life. Logically, I know this but emotionally his death destroyed me. The loss of a parent at any age though is devastating, especially when you rely on that parent’s guidance and quiet strength as much as I did. Unequivocally, when he died a piece of me died along with him. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, that I don’t seek advice from him, that I don’t wish that we could just sit together one more time.

Blue Ridge Mountains Waterfall

Coming to terms with loss and what it means to live the rest of my life without him was a struggle. What I’ve come to see is that he is not 3000 miles away and 6 feet under. He is here with me. He is in my heart and in my child’s laughter. He is in my eyes and in my strength. He is within but he is also so ingrained in these Blue Ridge Mountains. This place he never found in life, he is rooted in the afterlife. I find him in a blue jay outside my window. I feel his warmth in the pine scented mountain air. On hikes along the Parkway trails, in the stillness of the roaring sounds of the waterfalls. He is deer and bear sightings. He is sitting by the river watching people fish. He is the heartbeat of the drum circle. He is the acorns and seedlings beginning life anew. He’s always here, he never left me. Where I am, he still is, always.

Blue Ridge Mountains - Asheville NC

Father’s Day I will spend on the trails with my dog and with my father. I will sit with him in the sunshine and feel his warmth, I will listen to his words of wisdom in the rustling of the trees, and I will remind myself how fortunate I am to have such an amazing father.

Love Carmen

The Promise – Welcome To Asheville

Asheville makes a promise, that you are welcomed here and will have a great experience to go along with you visit. When planning your vacation and travels, put us on your list as we have a community of great folks and businesses whose pleasure it is to accommodate you. Meet some of them for yourself in this video. And Welcome to Asheville!

Asheville Barbie Talks Real Life & Sexual Assault

Foreword by AskAsheville: Barbie Angell has been a part of our lives for many years. Not only is she a wonderful person, but she is a huge part of our community as a whole. On the outside, she is an Asheville staple to say the least. Behind the scenes she works tirelessly to support the local scene, help others who need a friend to talk to, and be a mom – all at the same time. I know she does not realize all that she does, nor how important she is to all of us; because she is just being herself, which is a beautiful soul. She is family and Asheville would never be the same without her.

Nobody likes to talk about rape, but silence is violence all in itself. Recently, while our community was protesting a couple of misogynist coffee shop owners, Barbie was on the front line with us helping a lady who was drugged and raped by another business owner on the west side of town. It happens everywhere, it’s happening right now as you read this, and there is so much more we can do to help. You can start right now by supporting Our Voice and Walk A Mile. Please read what Barbie has to say below…

Asheville Barbie Talks Real Life

Recently, I recorded a series of videos of my poetry. My photographer, Rodney Smith of Tempus Fugit Design did an amazing job on all of them. We chose to launch this project with two videos about sexual assault and victim blaming. (They are “The Car Accident” & “How To Stop Rape“.) I am sad to say that I would be unable to count how many times I have physically been a victim of sexual predators. From being molested as a child, to weekly assaults while I was in a home for children, to the two “normal” rapes and my relationship with a violent alcoholic… there’s just too many attacks to even count.

For reasons still unknown to me, I have found myself in a position of some notoriety in our little town of Asheville, NC. I suppose it’s less to do with my being voted the Mountain Xpress’ 2015 Best of WNC poet, and more to do with my odd outfits, emcee work, and making people laugh on social media. That tiny bit of “celebrity” has put me in an unique situation. If people know who I am, and I am not ashamed to say that I have been raped multiple times, then maybe, just maybe, it will help someone else. Maybe they will see that no matter what they were wearing, or if they’d been drinking, or even if they were dating or married to the person who attacked them… they are still not to blame. They did nothing wrong.

On Saturday, May 7tha lot of my male friends will throw on a pair of high heeled shoes and walk (or even run) a mile through downtown Asheville. They’ll be hot, tired, sore, blistered, & everyone of them will be my hero. Each team raises money for Our Voice &, of course, my favorite guys are Greg Garrison’s “Team Hop Ice Cream.” Greg has actually walked for me twice… the small act of wearing a sticker with my name on it had an immeasurable impact on me.

Walk A Mile raises money & awareness to help stop rape, gender violence & sexual assault. If I’m lucky, my poem can do a little of that as well.

Blog Post by Barbie

Long Lost Family finds Abby The Spoon Lady in Asheville after 35 Years Missing

Abby The Spoon Lady Asheville Family

This is such exciting news! Many of you know Abby The Spoon Lady of Asheville as she is involved in so many aspects of our community. From busking on the streets of downtown Asheville, to working with a radio channel in the area, to being featured in the Only in Asheville book, and so much more! Abby is family to us.

But something happened the other day. Her biological family found her after 35 years. She was given up for adoption and her family did not know where she was. Here is what Angel Ann Brazeal wrote in her Facebook post:

Ignore my teary eyes! In 1981 my aunt Orma Jean gave up a beautiful baby girl for adoption. Her name is Abby. And tonight I met her in North Carolina for the first time. Her build and smile remind me so much of my grandma Jan! I am so thankful for the opportunity to watch her play the most incredible music! I cannot wait for lunch tomorrow, and hopefully many more times together!

Congratulations to Abby and the rest of the family on being reunited!

Like Abby The Spoon Lady on Facebook.

See Abby The Spoon Lady featured in several of our AskAsheville videos on Facebook.

The Tour De Asheville December 2015 Experience

Just this month we started the Tour De Asheville. This is a monthly event where our inside media team and some guests get together to go cruising around WNC in the private van, eating, drinking, meeting folks, taking photos, taking videos, interviewing business owners, chefs and more. Kind of like a reality show, but no show, just us. So exciting. All of us have heard and experienced Asheville in one form or another, but the half has not been told. We are going after that other half!

Anne's Custom Catering Asheville

Our first stop was to the event room at Moment’s Cafe in Swannanoa where we met up with Chef Anne of Anne’s Custom Catering. We got to try so many great foods, coffees, and also interview Anne and her husband Joseph as a group. We learned about how they got started, the many styles of food she has mastered, and how her catering company is now growing by leaps and bounds; with even a brand new website being developed as you read this!

Barley's Taproom Asheville NC

The next stop was Barley’s Taproom & Pizza in Downtown Asheville. Now there are many brewery stops that you can go to in Asheville, but we wanted a wide variety of craft brews from all around the USA to taste, making this the perfect spot. We talked to Jimi, who is one of, if not the pillar that craft beer in Asheville was formed on. As a matter of fact, the great Highland Brewing started out in the basement of this building, and then eventually outgrew it. A must stop if you are brew touring in Asheville North Carolina.

Hop West Asheville NC

Then we shot over to The Hop West ice cream shop to try a few samples and talk to Ashley, one of the owners. The brownie delight with cold mountain ice cream was incredible. Then that peppermint stick ice cream was so delish! Ashley talked to us about how The Hop Ice Cream got started and their growth including The Hop West opening, and then The Hop Ice Creamery. Who ever knew that ice cream could build so much community? But this is the case every day with The Hop, and ever since Greg and Ashley took it over.

Post 70 Asheville Restaurant & Cocktails

The last stop? Post 70 Indulgence Bar in East Asheville, and this place was WOW!! Talk about amazing craft cocktails, small plates of cuisine, and desserts that will leave you satisfied yet craving more. The building was packed inside and out with an oyster roast just ending, plus a dining room and bar full of folks having a great time. Emilios was delivering the food to our table while Courtney was shaking and serving cocktails. I saw her double fisting the shakers several times throughout the evening. We will be back. Like every week!

Asheville Premier Transportation

Asheville Premier Transportation supplied the van for the Tour De Asheville and did such an amazing job. We are planning on going on one of her private beer and food tours real soon as Dana’s company is expanding as well. In the meantime, if you are in the Asheville, Hendersonville, or WNC area and want to host us when we are out on your end of town, contact us and let us know. We just may drop in with our media team to paparazzi you and your business. Thank you to all of the businesses that hosted us this time!