A whirlwind weekend brings out all sorts of thoughts and emotions. Especially when you spend the special moments with people you really enjoy. Kids, mates, friends, cousins — all can bring a sense of magic and wonder to your life every time you turn around.
Spending a weekend in Ashville, North Carolina, was one of those times. It was a little bit of freedom, a little bit of music, a little bit of adventure. Though we live hundreds of miles apart, my friend and I met to renew friendship, share burst balloons, and explore ways to move forward in the world and ways of Creativity.
Every region has its own traditions, its own style, its own way of doing things. Midwest Wisconsin is a lot different from Western North Carolina. Ashville is a decent size city nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Heat, humidity, and lush greenery run rampant through the streets and countryside. The people are gracious, drive like maniacs, and wonderfully creative.
The streets were filled with art galleries, outdoor eateries, and pubs full of music. Friday night the air was warm and humid and the streets full of artists strutting their goods. A bare-chested bearded dude with a pink rabbit hat walked his dog passed a girl painting henna hands and a poet who wrote you a personal poem for a small donation. Musicians of all colors and sizes hung out on street corners and in front of bistros, playing guitars, flutes, and violins. Trios one corner, a girl singing with a guitar across the street, all sharing their talent and the night.
Breweries offered their specialized creations while fruit bars mingled with marvelously unique chocolate shops. Tiny Christmas lights hung over outdoor eating spaces, Italian specialities competing with tapas and Oriental sesame noodles. Young and old strolled up and down the main street, skinny girls with striped faerie leggings walking with women in sun dresses and guys in properly preppy shirts. It was a cornicopia of life and laughs and conversation and music. Something my little Wisconsin town doesn’t offer.
Art galleries flourished on main streets and side streets. Most were closed by the time I wandered past their windows, but the ones who were open boasted Dichroic glass sculptures and abstract printmaking. Some mediums I had never seen before. Offbeat novelty shops brought back memories of the 60s, selling incense and scented soaps, colorfully graphic socks, sassy self-awareness books, unicorn candle holders, and violet gum.
The Village Art & Craft Fair was a marvelous beehive of amazing art and artists. Just like art fairs across the country, the hard work and inspiration of craftsmen left me breathless. I didn’t always understand the method or their behind-the-scenes inspiration, but I did understand the end result of jewelry, mosaic tile shoes, pottery, tables, hand-blown glass balls filled with feathers, and dark ceramic clay sculptures. A lot of artists were local; others returned year after year to showcase their latest wares.
Finalizing my journey at the immortal Biltmore Estate, my whole world of art and architecture and photography and history exploded into one cosmic experience. I was actually able to be in the “now” each and every day. And the “now” was cool, fun, and satisfying.
Creativity is universal. It is the expression of our heart’s deepest secrets, our imagination’s fondest dreams. I really believe that once you open that door new worlds present themselves all the time. Like a symphony, moods and memories are created by each special note you experience.
Find a way to experience it.