So, we headed into town. Our first stop was the French Broad Co-op, where we wandered around and commented on the things they were doing right and that we wished our local co-op was doing. We got some juices for second breakfasts and sat on their wireless for a few minutes. They helpfully had maps of downtown Asheville out, so we snagged one and planned our next move, which was parking the car.
We looked at the map and found the city parking deck closest to Malaprops, our eventual destination for the day. We went ahead and wandered in and did some browsing (a real live indy bookstore! We don't have those here, except for Edward McKay) and then wandered out to do some more window shopping elsewhere in downtown. When it came time for lunch, we headed to Posana Cafe.
Here's the thing about Posana: it's totally gluten free. Everything. on the menu. Is gluten free. Which means being able to eat anything on the menu (if you don't have other food allergies/intolerances) and not having to worry about cross contamination. Not having to cross examine the waiter. Not having to say "oh, well, that looks like it should be okay" and hope for the best. I was in seventh heaven.
(They do not advertise themselves as GF on their website; they merely note things like Please ask us about our gluten free menu and the steps we take to ensure your meal is prepared free from gluten or any sources of potential cross contamination. According to the blog sphere, this is out of concern that a lot of gluten eaters might think the food is going to suck and stay away. But it doesn't. So, if you find yourselves in Asheville, go and eat; breakfast and lunch and brunch are much cheaper than dinner. I am threatening future anniversaries with that dinner menu.)
I hemmed and hawed and was tempted by the brunch side of the menu, but eventually ordered a burger. I should have taken a picture, because the thing was huge. It was also awesome. Jeff got the same thing, and said that the burger was great, even the bun. The service was good too: very unobstrusive, but when I turned over my water glass, he was cleaning it up in under three seconds. The only thing he lost points for was bringing over the check and handing it to Jeff, but he gained back half of those by putting the ticket and my card in the middle of the table when he got back. (Noticing the card is mine and handing it right back to me? Gets you a 5% upgrade on your tip.)
Stuffed, we wandered around downtown some more, including Mast General Store, where we got a couple of grape nehis and sat outside to people watch for awhile. Finally, we turned to the question of what to do next; our book signing wasn't for awhile yet, we were window shopped out... I said, "Well, I noticed there's this historic site for Thomas Wolfe on the map..." So, off we went to look at the historic site for a man we didn't know much about, other than that he was an author, but we know we like history, so it was bound to be interesting. We were expecting some markers, a couple of exhibits, and maybe a short film; what we got was a fabulous group tour (for a buck each, dang) from the director of collections, who was hilarious, personable, and happy to answer questions. The history was absolutely fascinating, and now I want to read Look Homeward Angel.
That does, we wandered back to Malaprops and drank tasty beverage and browsed and goofed off online until it was time for Patti Digh to talk. She's the author of books on creativity and mindfulness and such, and she and Jeff are friends online. The talk was, honestly, better than I expected; her subject matter is not entirely my cup of tea, but she was gracious and spoke well and some interesting things to say about the power of "yes, and..." and being here and present. If you're in Raleigh and looking for something to do on December 3, you could do much worse than to turn out to see her.
We grabbed some quick supper afterwards, then drove back to the KOA, turned on the electric blankets, and crashed.
This morning, we packed up (I *heart* my Bug), fixed some breakfast, and drove home, with a stop for more coffee. I'm sitting on over 3/8 of a tank and at 380 miles. Have I mentioned that I love my bug?
More pictures over here.
It was a fabulous weekend, and I am oh so not ready to get back to real life tomorrow.