|Thank you this week to Steve and Paula. You make it possible. Keep an eye on your mail!|
I love it here at night, when the whole neighborhood is asleep but I am awake. I can hear the strains of The Crane Wife coming from the living room where my books are laid out on the table, the pair of ugly terriers at the end of the street barking at the night, and every now and then a siren wailing from town a few blocks away. Other than that, it is remarkably quiet.
When we first bought the house, we spent a week pulling up the heavy grey carpet, which was spongey with decay. Now I can glide from room to room in the lamplight, not making a sound on the polished wood.
We wanted to live in a place where we could walk everywhere. This proximity usually translates into noise, the sounds of traffic and people shouting as they come home from the bars. The quiet of our street is unexpected, a bonus. In Seattle I lived in eleven different houses and each one was on a roaring bus line; at least that's how I remember it.
I do miss Seattle, but I don't talk about it, because who doesn't miss a place? It's surprising to me how I miss it- not in words but in vivid and specific images. I'll wake up in the morning and a picture will have emerged, floating belly up and glistening in my head: a ferryboat lit up at night. A charcoal sky with a torrent of water rushing down the street, swamping the gutters, the sound of a city swallowing itself.
Instead of water everywhere there are mountains that turn purple at sunset.
But it doesn't have the slickness of Seattle. It costs less to live here, and it lacks the brilliant shine of a city well nourished by Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing. The houses I pass as I walk into town are small and, for the most part, falling apart, with leaning door frames and sunken roofs. Their inhabitants sit on the porches and smoke cigarettes. They'll nod as I pass by, but not always.
The main street of West Asheville is a mix of new restaurants and empty brick storefronts. There is an organic food co-op, and a tiny shop called the Asheville Bee Charmer where you can sample honey from a row of tiny jars. There is Buffalo Nickel, a restaurant that glows invitingly each evening but always seems to be empty. The old barber shop with its striped pole rubs elbows with the West End Bakery, crowded and fragrant and loud with voices and the hiss of the espresso machine. The ceiling is covered in cotton spider webs from halloween, which was five weeks ago, and the glass cases are crammed with so many cakes and tarts and round loaves of bread you wonder why a small town bakery could ever need so much.
Although, is Asheville a small town? It hasn't decided that yet. That's one thing I love about it; it can be a small town when you need it to be a small town, and a much bigger one when you need something new to look at. I shared this place with an ex boyfriend for a year and, conscious of one another's corners, we never had a run in.
At our favorite bar, Pour, an entire wall of different beers flow from silver taps when you wave a wristband in front of them. There are darts and shuffleboard and a giant, life-sized Jenga game that collapses loudly every ten minutes, sending a roar of screams and laughter throughout the place. The cafe where I study is in the same building. When I am done for the day I can pack up my papers and step smartly into the next stage of the evening without even going outside.
There is is a bookstore, a cider house, a pinball museum. There is Ingles and shabby Save-a-lot food stores and the sprawling new Whole Foods that glitters with salt out near the box stores. UNCA is tucked behind the botanical gardens, while just across the river and up a hill you'll find the squat, colorless buildings of the community college where I go to school. From its perch I can look out over the Biltmore Estate- America's biggest house, a castle, with its sprawling, 8,000 acre grounds. It is brilliantly lit up for Christmas, but I only know that because of a billboard on I-40. It costs seventy dollars just to visit.
There is much more to this town and to our house, with all its cheerful oddities, but I have plenty of time to tell you about it later. Looking at the calendar I can see that it's Monday, and I have something up my sleeve for you.
|Photo Credit: Appalatch.com|
This week I am partnering with Appalatch, a local clothing company that makes exquisite wool shirts, sweaters, capes and scarves. We have a unique and lovely giveaway to brighten these dark days and keep you warm this winter.
|Photo Credit: Appalatch.com|
First a word about Appalatch. I am enamored with this company not only for their luxurious, handsomely made products, but also for their dedication to environmental responsibility. Every piece of their operation, from the farm where their wool is sourced to the textile mill, is certifiably sustainable. Their clothes are soft, long lasting and handcrafted in small batches.
This week we are giving away a gift card for a custom-knit sweater, valued at $189 dollars.
Appalatch will take your measurements, chat with you about your specific wants, and then custom knit a gorgeous sweater just for you. "Clothing companies tend to generalize our shapes, and tell us what is good and what is bad," the marketing director, Ella, told me over coffee. "This sweater is designed precisely to fit you." Literally, a perfect fit.
In addition to the giveaway, from now until December 17th, go to Appalatch.com and enter coupon code WILDERCOAST for 15% off.
In keeping with the theme of 'A Perfect Fit,' this week's prompt was inspired by a photo, taken by Maggie Jones. Maggie loves where she lives, and does a terribly good job of making me homesick for Washington State. Follow her on Instagram- Theruralroost. She comes highly recommended.
To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment and tell me one reason why you love where you live.
I know we can't all live in our ideal place, but it's good to recognize at least one thing that you makes you happy where you are. I'm looking forward to reading them and taking a virtual trip around the country and beyond. I savor these comments. They're like jewels or chocolates to me.
The winner will be chosen at random and announced in one week. Go to town and good luck!