Asheville, North Carolina

We visited Asheville last year when we were looking at possible places to live and liked it so much we discussed skipping this road trip and moving straight there. Since then, we’ve seen a few other places we really liked—and decided to move to Joshua Tree—so I wondered how revisiting Asheville would be.

I thought we would probably arrive and think, “Nice city, don’t know what we were so excited about.” But as we drove through the mountains into the city I felt like I was arriving home.

We took a long walk from West Asheville into Downtown, passing some of my favorite things all on one road:

Fermentation workshop with fermentation rock star Sandor Katz! Permaculture workshop! Tiny house building company!
Weird street art! Funky local shops!
More murals! Food trucks! Friends for my car Bonzo!

We passed coffee shops, vintage stores, yoga studios, cute houses with gardens out front, the River Arts District full of unique galleries, people floating down the river in inner tubes, food trucks... Everyone we passed smiled and said hello to us as we walked.

But as many reasons as there are to love Asheville—the fun local culture, the mountains, rivers, waterfalls that are nearby, the vegetarian and vegan restaurants, it's still just too far from California. At least right now.

We tried to guess ... is it hipster or genuinely old?
Hipster or old?
Hipster ... or old?

When we woke up the next morning, we spent half the day looking at maps, possible routes, our budget and how much time we have and finally decided to skip the East Coast. There’s just too much we want to see and do over the next month to fit it all in.

We decided we’ll do the East Coast as a separate trip sometime in the next few years so we can see all our friends and relatives there, and check out Washington DC, Baltimore, Boston, and everything else.

In the afternoon we met up with my friend Cameron for some fancy tea at Dobrá Tea and enjoyed an early dinner at Rosetta’s Kitchen, a vegetarian whole-foods cafè that has locally brewed kombucha on tap.

Cameron—another reason Asheville is awesome.

We camped about 20 miles outside of Asheville on a piece of land that Cameron’s family is starting a farm on. We sat watching a gentle sunset, and as it grew dark we kept noticing a flashing light in the corner of our eyes—fireflies! They winked on and off in the trees and grass like fairylights.

We fell asleep to a gurgling creek and rustling trees, woke up to a view of the mountains, and reluctantly headed out of North Carolina.

Can you spot Truck?


Melissa is the co-pilot, list-maker, and truck-packing-tetris-master of the trip. She hopes to do yoga in the fresh air every morning of the trip, weather permitting. At Apple Canyon Designs, she’s the project manager and copywriter, as well as working with Jim on photography and video.