While walking around, or driving around in this case, in Downtown Asheville; you never know what you will find. As we were looking for a parking spot yesterday, we thought we were having a Halloween flashback. But no, it is just another day in Asheville North Carolina with folks dressing up however they want and being whoever they want to be. As we were passing by Pritchard Park, I told the driver to pull over. I jumped out of the car and took this photo of a dressed up Pokemon crew walking around downtown. I do not know if they were playing the game, or if they were just having fun; but either way I wanted to keep them and take them with me.
I have just opened a mobile coffee truck in downtown Asheville (the lot @ 51 coxe ave). It’s not really a truck, more like a bizarre hobbit/fairy/coffee/tiny house. Some might argue that any house serving coffee is magical, and they are not wrong, but this is extra special.
I’ve been a barista for many years and always dreamed of one day running a little café. There’s something magical about the community that grows around a good café, and I always knew I wanted to help create that kind of space.
My partner Mike and I moved to Asheville 2 years ago. It was a tough transition. I had a hard time getting a visa (I’m from Ireland), and when i finally did i had a hard time finding work that was meaningful as well as sustaining. It seems like everyone and their mother is moving here, and who could blame them?
In the back of my mind I kept thinking about these little “coffee shacks” I’d been familiar with in Montana—just little huts on the side of the road with great coffee: portable, convenient, full of personality. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Asheville’s coffee culture is growing rapidly, and the time seemed right to get involved. Mike is a carpenter who worked for Jade Mountain Green builders in town, but is in the process of starting his own tiny homes business. He offered to build the coffee shop itself as their first project. It really embodies the soul of Le Bon Café: the love and care and originality that has gone into its creation is what this is all about.
The tiny house was made with mostly reclaimed and salvaged materials. The front and back was pieced together with old barn wood that Mike salvaged from a Jade job. The sides are made from discarded wooden pallets. The door was used (craigslist). One window used to be a pizza hut drive thru window, the other was salvaged from an old orchard in Tryon, NC. The cedar shakes we are using on the roof were salvaged from a friends house in west Asheville… The list goes on! My friend Anna and I made the 2 stained glass pieces (from a touch of glass).
I’m using Larry’s beans. They are 100% organic locally roasted and delicious. I also have some enticing tea blends (including a homemade chai), and melt in your mouth pastries from OWL bakery.
Stop by, say hi, grab a chai
I am an English professor at Gardner-Webb University and for the past four years, I’ve taken students who are joining our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, on a trip to Asheville for induction. Usually a handful of students are familiar with Asheville having grown up nearby or visited frequently, but most are relative AVL newbies.
We head out from campus in a big university van and drive into the mountains. After finding a place to park the huge van and breathing in the patchouli-scented air, we make our way to Doc Chey’s for lunch. The Sigma Tau chapter pays for lunch so college students get a double treat – a free lunch with leftovers they can eat for days.
As we leave Doc Chey’s, we write our “Before I die” wishes on the sidewalk chalkboard then we head to Malaprop’s for induction.
For English majors, Malaprop’s is mecca. The smell of coffee and books, the signed copies and staff picks, the shelves devoted to Banned Books and to Neil Gaiman. For me, the beautiful wonder is that a local, independent bookstore is always full of people, that we have to work to find an empty corner, that we have to stand in line to buy our books.
We line up in the Local Authors corner (near Ron Rash, GWU alum) and recite the Sigma Tau Delta pledge. The initiates receive their pins and certificates. The seniors are given their graduation cords, and we all cry a bit. One year, a playwright working at the table nearby took part in our ceremony and we gave her a bookmark as an honorary certificate of membership.
After the induction ceremony, the students wander around downtown as they please for a couple of hours before we meet at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. They have adventures, meet interesting people. One year a few of us found a box of free books on the sidewalk – a baited field for English majors.
We sip and eat wonderful chocolate and pastries at the Chocolate Lounge. The students love the emphasis on local foods, on recycling at every store and eatery. We share our excitement over purchases – usually books – then head back to the van for the trip home.
Every year, I ask if they want to do something different for the induction ceremony. And every year, they say, “NO! We want to go to Asheville!” For people who often think and act differently than their peers, Asheville is like going home.
While walking around downtown Asheville this past Friday night, Ask Asheville made a quick stop at the Drum Circle. We immediately started taking video on one of our GoPro video cameras, but then we were stopped because the memory card was full. So we pulled out the old Samsung Galaxy 6, went to Facebook, and started recording Live! Turns out the video has reached over 100,000 folks in less than 48 hours, has 1000+ likes, 250 comments, and 900 shares. WOW, kinda great for a quick video we did on the fly, without any major production, and no boost at all.
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The Color Run in coming to Asheville North Carolina once again! 2016 just got better as our City joins the World for this famous happy run. And AskAsheville has a discount code just for you. See the Asheville Color Run Event Page for more information.