Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sunshine Naps and Laundry

Today was amazing weather...75 degrees and sunny, with a breeze blowing- the perfect day, especially after several days with a high of 35! We got up early and wanted to go to the farmer's market. To avoid paying for parking downtown, we parked about a mile away and walked, only to discover the market hasn't yet begun for the year. It was too nice of a day to be disappointed, though, and we wandered into a few stores. We met an incredibly nice lady who gave us suggestions for brunch and a map of Asheville. We've been here for over a week, and we've begun to feel pretty confident with our knowledge of the roads and can get around most places without our GPS. Or so we thought. As we followed the shop owner's directions to brunch, we discovered an entire part of Asheville we didn't know existed. In fact, we realized we had only been skirting the outside of downtown and had not really gotten to the heart of it. What a pleasant surprise! 

We waited about 35 minutes at Tupelo Honey Cafe for brunch, but it was so worth the wait. The food was amazing. We're realizing you really do appreciate things so much more when you don't have them as often. In Orlando, we were used to going out to eat good food quite frequently. This was only the second time we've sat down to eat somewhere since we've left, which probably contributed to our enjoyment of brunch. There were warm biscuits with homemade blueberry jam and Tupelo honey before our food was brought out. And then there was the food: local sausage with the best breakfast potatoes ever and free-range eggs for me, and a breakfast bowl with local bacon, homemade salsa, and eggs on top of a bed of grits for Dave. Yum yum yum. 

Another thing I'm always amazed by is how much more you notice when you're on foot. People just weren't meant to go as fast as they do in cars; it makes you miss so much of the world outside of you and really causes a disconnect. As soon as you park your car and start walking, a whole new world opens up to you. 

After taking in as much awesomeness as we could handle in all the downtown shops, we headed to the UNC Asheville campus, which has become one of our favorite places. We spread a blanket out on the grass in the sunshine and napped and listened to the birds. We could have made a bird song CD just from laying there for a few hours. The birds really do love the trees on that campus. It was so relaxing. The more we do it, the more I think bird watching is a really great activity. Just like walking, it makes you slow down and pay attention to and engage in the world around you. 

Something I didn't have time to mention when it happened a few days ago was our laundry mat experience. We found a fantastic laundry mat here called the Bar of Soap. It is genius, really: a laundry mat with books you can buy or just look at, and coffee, wine, and beer. It turns doing laundry into a public, social experience, which I think is great. We met some really cool people, including a guy who's conversation we overheard. He was planning a trip exactly like ours, so of course we had to strike up a conversation with him. I love when people socialize and reclaim public spaces. Why wouldn't you get a coffee and chat with someone new while your laundry is washing? We need more spaces that foster this kind of social interaction. That was actually the first time I've ever had to use a laundry mat, and I know every other one we visit is going to pale in comparison. 

I hope that wherever you are, the birds are chirping and you are having a wonderful, sunny day, too! 


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