Letters from Asheville and Beyond: A Fictional Journey into Western North Carolina by Ellen J. Perry.
Part Four: “Welcome to Fabulous Weaver-Vegas” dedicated to Abigail Hickman, Wanda Wilson, and Connie Wilson.
You know how I like to be spontaneous. Well, me and Shelby ventured out of Asheville on the spur of the moment today and found Weaverville, the best little town in the mountains. It’s about ten minutes north of Asheville and known to the locals as – get this – Weaver-Vegas! Ha. After our Tai Chi adventure yesterday we went to supper with Kathleen and Trent who introduced us to their friend Christina. She grew up in Weaverville and still lives there, said if we came out to the big city she’d show us around. So we fired up the van and went.
I pulled in by this big clock, got parked, and we met up with Christina at the Well-Bred Bakery and Café right in the heart of Main Street. Well-Bred used to be the town drugstore but now it’s packed with people ordering stuff like quiche, pasta salad, French toast casserole, all kinds of cakes, and the best toffee I ever ate. It’s buttery and not so hard it’ll break your teeth. Shelby ate an éclair that was as big as my head. I gobbled up a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup – perfect on a cold day. But it wasn’t so cold that Christina couldn’t take us around to see the sights. As we were getting ready to go, the Well-Bred manager gave us a big hug and said, Come back ladies, right after he pointed out the Yoga studio in the next building. Next thing I knew, your old grandma was taking a yoga class and doing the Downward Dog! Well, I don’t think I did it completely right, but I got my bottom up a little higher than Shelby did. After class Christina wrote down my favorite poses so I could try and do them later on back at the hotel: Table Top, Cat and Cow, Pigeon, Warrior, and Low Lunge. Shelby liked the Mountain and Corpse poses the best, since she said she could stand up straight and lay down flat with the best of them.
Back to our tour. You remember the Vance monument in Asheville, the one that Augusta Wind on the LaZoom bus made the joke about? Mr. Vance himself was born in Weaverville, and Christina said you can go down Reems Creek Road to visit old Zebulon’s home place. She remembered seeing it on a field trip when she was a little girl, and they still do Civil War reenactments down there all around the cabins. You’d probably like to see this pretty valley since you’re interested in history. What I’d really like to show you is the Weaverville Drug Company with its ice cream parlor. The people in there were so friendly to us out-of-towners, and the parlor was like old times. I looked at some souvenirs but Shelby had already got me a “We’re All Well-Bred in Weaverville” shirt over at the café, so I figured that was enough for today.
After visiting the Dry Ridge Historical Museum in the library and taking a quick rest at Twisted Laurel (Christina wanted a mimosa, which is champagne and orange juice if you didn’t know), we wandered on over to Church Street to say hey to her friends Joe and Paulette. They have the cutest house near where people walk or ride their bikes on the sidewalks, and we settled right in. “Let’s play Pictionary,” their daughter Dana said, and things got interesting when we formed teams. Joe said, “I’ll bet everybody a dollar that Paulette and I will win.” Shelby got that determined look she has and told him, “You’re on.” I wish she hadn’t of done that, but too late – it was Weaver-Vegas, after all, so we played and gambled well into the afternoon. Dana and her step-sister Audrey won the most games (six dollars each, big money!) and then somebody got up the idea to order supper from Blue Mountain Pizza, which we took down to Lake Louise Park for a picnic. It was so sweet to see the kids swinging and playing, and I even went down the slide once to show Shelby I could do it without hurting myself. I bounced right up, probably thanks to all this Tai Chi and yoga I’ve been doing!
On the lake’s walking trail Christina ran into her friends Eva and Jenny who live in the condos nearby. They were a lot of fun and told us some more about the area and where they like to go. “Every now and then I’ll take my ‘I’m a Local’ mug and head over to IHOP,” Eva said, and Jenny (who’s an artist) told us about the Art in Autumn event that happens every September. The vendors set up their booths right along Main Street. I’d like to come back for the Art Safari, too, which is where people ride around to the houses of local artists and see their work. Wouldn’t it be something if I got back into quilting and showed off a few of my quilts to people? Jenny talked about a bunch of quilts and such on display over at the Folk Art Center back in Asheville. She also said how good the fresh fruits and vegetables were at the Weaverville Tailgate Market just up the hill at the community center.
Nicky, what if I was to sell my house in Columbus County, buy one of them bottom-level condos where Eva and Jenny live, and move to the mountains? Would you and your mama come visit me pretty regular? I just keep thinking about all the things I want to do later in the year when it warms up and how since your granddaddy passed on, bless him, I’ve got nothing but freedom and time. If he was alive he’d probably agree to go zip-lining with me at Navitat Canopy Adventures in Barnardsville. Shelby refuses to leave solid ground, she said, but I might could get Eva to zip-line since she’s about my age and every bit as sassy. Matter of fact, I’ll bet on it, Weaver-Vegas style. I’ll bet she’d go with me to Navitat and that me, her, and Eva would be the best of friends and the wildest group of lady-adventurers this town has laid eyes on, before or since Zeb Vance’s time.
Love you, Nannie