Asheville is just one BIG Hippie Festival!

It doesn’t take long for someone to walk around downtown Asheville and notice just how many hippies are out and about around town. And it is not just your average hippie either. As we had mentioned in our Asheville Hippie article years ago, there are many types of hippies around town. We have just touched the tip of the iceberg. Even though many thought that hippies and hipsters were at variance somewhat; we can now say that out of Asheville has evolved a new breed.. the Hipster Hippie. Our friend Susu edited these photos with her own funky artistic style, and has shared them with us:

Hula Hoop Hippies Asheville NC Dancing Hippies Asheville NC Washboard Hippies Asheville Asheville Hippies Hula Hoops Asheville Hippies In The Moment Hula Hooping Asheville Hippie Peace Out Asheville Hippie

Just like Gin and Citrus

One of the things I love most about my city is that it has preserved an era…and completely by accident.  For such a modern, progressive, and hip city, Asheville still knows how to hold onto the good ol’ days.  Asheville is a wide-open time capsule full of hair feathers, drop-waisted dresses, Fitzgerald novels, and big band music.  It’s present even when no one’s dressed in theme and the blues horns hush for the night.  That “it” quality hangs around in the delightfully musty scents and subtly ornate ceilings of old 1920s buildings.  It’s Ashevillians’ everyday stomping grounds.

48 Biltmore Avenue is no exception.  In fact, the ceiling was the first thing I noticed upon walking into Chestnut, a restaurant and lounge here in Asheville.  There’s something so romantic about the raised cream-colored tiles, that I later learned to no surprise, are the 1924 originals.  I walked over to the bar and hopped up on the stool, going straight for the cocktail menu.  The “Saint Graham” suspiciously favors the “Gin Rickey,” Nick Gatsby’s famed favorite drink.  Gin and citrus. Just the sound of it makes me take a deeper breath.

One thing about Chestnut I must point out is that it is not themed.  That’s perhaps why it’s great.  It resurrects the lost generation organically.  No fear of finding cheesy posters of This Side of Paradise, or cocktails named something like, “Hemming My Way.”  It doesn’t exist, because there’s no need for a theme.  This place is real.  It’s relaxing; it’s smooth; it’s easy going; it’s new south delicious; it’s all Asheville.

After I devoured my fried green tomatoes, that were somehow the marriage of Grandma’s from the garden and a taste that can only be described as sassy, I chatted with manager, Ken Rethmeier.  Much like the restaurant itself, Ken is laid back, inviting, and delighted to have us.  He proudly filled us in on the ceilings, and original chestnut fixtures, and I could tell the history of the venue had become part of him as well.  When great leadership, awesome service, history, and yummy food meet, the synergy of it all just sizzles.  In this case it sizzles quietly, and refreshingly just like that first cocktail I laid eyes on.  Gin and citrus everywhere.

I was entranced by the atmosphere, clearly, so I decided to look behind the curtain.  I wanted to know what the quality was.  Where did this food come from?  When I found out it was all local, farm to table, and green, I was sold.  This truly is the Asheville poster restaurant.

I asked Rethmeier, “What’s one thing you want me to know that I don’t?  What do you want to tell me about this place?”

He replied with a grin, “it’s warm and inviting.  You can come taste local craft food and cocktails…and we’re the only place that still hand chops ice.”

Hand chopped ice.  I do believe I’ve made my case.

 

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Ceiling

 

Bar

Bar

 

Cocktails

Cocktails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Playing Dress-UP

I changed the way I look at jewelry Monday night.  I didn’t learn anything about measurements, techniques, or jewelry biz lingo really.  I don’t remember the names of the gorgeous gems or stones I was tinkering with either.  I didn’t want to know those things.  However, when Asheville jewelry-maker, Nadine Fidelman invited me into her home, she taught me all I could ever hope to learn about why we choose to decorate ourselves the way we do.

At first glance jewelry is like looking out into a crowd of people.  There are a lot of shapes, sizes, colors, and styles all running together into rainbow overload.  The first thoughts are, ‘oh I see pretty things,’ and then we start searching for a focal point.  It is in that search that we realize we’re being pulled towards certain things and we start to examine why.  While I was zeroing in on a generally smooth black stone with a noticeable organic crack in the upper right corner I could overhear one of my side kicks talking about the jewelry.

“It’s not just beads, they’re individual pieces,” I heard my fellow playmate Kelly Allen offer.

At first I thought, ‘yeah, ok, there’s a lot of different jewelry here.  I can see that.’  Then I took a breath and thought about that word individual. I realized what she meant, and that I wasn’t just looking at the pieces, I was meeting them.  I went back to my black stone, noticing the gorgeous, crystal-esque inclusions the flaw revealed.  I was in love.  I thought of my own personality, how I like the rawness in life, and the beauty I find in truth.  I also believe in fighting like hell and collecting battle scars…I thought of how hard it is being a writer and how far I still had to go in the world of manuscripts.  I wanted that beautiful stone.  I had found my connection.

Lorna's Fave!

  Lorna’s Fave!

 

mejewelpic

 

We moved the party to the carpet where  the impossible not love, Nadine plopped right down with us, kicking her shoes off ready to dig in.  She shared stories with us about where she had found inspiration for her work, and let her obvious passion for her trade seep out onto us.  We started tossing necklaces and bracelets around, trimming ourselves in the jewelry like we did our mothers’ as children.  We’d try a piece on in between sips of girly shelf white wine, and chat about what we’d chosen. I asked the other three girls what they thought of what they’d selected.

Nadine chatting with Kelly about healing stones

Nadine chatting with Kelly about healing stones

Kelly, who had remarked earlier on the individualism, was drawn to stones she knew to have healing qualities.  As cancer survivor, officially in remission since January; she keeps her eyes peeled for items in nature than bode healing qualities.  Her journey with her sickness, and attention to wellness has brought her upon her choices in jewelry.  Out of those stones, one in particular jumped out at her.

“This one looks like a fishing lure,” she commented excitedly holding up the yellowish vertical stone,” like my Daddy used.”  She set it down smiling.  She had found her connection.

Whitney Thompson, a native Ashevillian piped up from the other side of the circle, holding up a gorgeous blue stone in a similar fashion. “This one reminded me of the sea,” she said.  “It’s like when you’re little.  I just wanted to take my flip-flops off.  When I saw it I wanted to go to the beach and run around.”

Whitney explaining what she loved about the peice whitpic
Whitney explaining what she loved about the piece 

Whitney’s stone actually provoked a childhood memory to surface, making her feel carefree again as she had in her most innocent years.  Whitney had found her connection.

The youngest of the group, Hannah, a 16-year-old, chose a piece unlike the rest of us, without a stone.  Her piece was raw, twisted sterling silver wired, manipulated by hand into an untamed yet simple set of earrings.  I chuckled thinking how the piece was like being a teenager, beautiful, unsure which direction it was going, and not as simple as it appeared to be.  They fit Hannah just perfectly, and hung daintily on her young ears.  She had made her connection.  I wonder if she knew…

Dainty Hannah

Dainty Hannah

While I was pondering this Whitney was perusing the backside of a necklace, “you know, their backs are just as pretty and detailed as their fronts.”

Nadine explained to the group how this is one of her trademarks.  I thought how much it made sense because there are different sides to women…many sides.  They are sometimes tucked away against our own skins for only us to enjoy and sometimes decided to be displayed so people can see our normally hidden sides.  Nadine told us she’d even been in public and saw her creation flipped over, showing them from the opposite sides.  What self-expression.

I learned something Monday night.  Jewelry isn’t just embellishment, it’s an embellishment of us.  Often times who we are is in the tiny details of the things we choose to let represent us.  We weren’t wearing jewelry, we were wearing little pieces of who we are.  I thought I was going to just play dress-up, and I did to an extent.  I just didn’t know I would be using Nadine’s art to dress up as myself.

 

If you want to make your connection with Jewelry by Nadine check out her collection at the Kress Emporium in downtown Asheville.

19 Patton Ave,  Asheville, NC 28801

If you’d love your own play date with Nadine call her 828-654-0993 or email her at nfidelman@pobox.com

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Have an interesting story?  Contact AskAsheville’s Lorna Hollifield at lornalh@gmail .com 828-280-1799

 

Find out more about Lorna’s writing journey at http://lornahollifield.com

Taking a Stroll Through Downtown Asheville

downtown asheville by audrey goforth

One of the most fun things to do on a Friday or Saturday night is to take a simple walk through Downtown Asheville, where you will be highly entertained by musicians, street performers, dancers, art, drums and many more activities. This is definitely a main attraction in the community! Of course we have the Asheville Drum Circle on Friday evenings, and the Splashville Water Fountain daily. Photo by.. Asheville Photographer Audrey Goforth.

Asheville Wholistic, Integrative Fair Slated for March 9 Downtown

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Asheville Wholistic and Integrative Fair, or AWIF, will be Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. – 5 p .m. at the Renaissance Hotel.The fair, hosted by Asheville Wholistic and Integrative Professionals, on of western North Carolina’s most active networking organizations, provides a forum for professionals to share their wholistic products and services with the larger community. In turn, individuals who seek wholistic professionals will enjoy the opportunity to explore a cross-section of the region’s varied wholistic and integrative offerings.

These offerings include a variety of wholistic and conscious modalities including acupuncture, chiropractic care, intuitive practitioners, wellness coaches and consultants in a range of wholistic fields, body and energy workers, aromatherapy and personal care suppliers, food, water and herbal remedy providers, animal-related services, and a diverse offering of wholistic books, music, jewelry and merchandise.

The Asheville Wholistic and Integrative Fair, or AWIF, will be Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. – 5 p .m. at the Renaissance Hotel, located at the corner of Woodfin Street and Thomas Wolfe Plaza. Convenient parking is nearby. Visit www.AWIF.net for more information.