A "Local's" Guide to Tourist Season in Asheville

A "Local's" Guide to Tourist Season in Asheville

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  • Kiri Herrmann-Tross

    Kiri is a nearly-30 transplant from the little state of New York. Her story is typical: A tourist who fell hard and fast for Asheville and has had a thrilling yet tumultuous relationship with this...

The Elephant Hotel. Source: Daniel Case @ the English Language Wikipedia

I grew up in a pretty small town in New York. I’m talking no sidewalks, one gas station, the Juvie and a golf course--and that’s about it. Somers, New York is known as “the cradle of the American circus” so everything is elephant-themed. Hachaliah Bailey (Barnum & Bailey Circus) spent a good bit of time housing and training one of his first elephants in Somers, so you’re hearing from a loud and proud member of the Somers Tuskers varsity volleyball team, thank you very much. Because nothing says athletic prowess quite like a tired, lumbering pachyderm.

Asheville is a big change for me. Aside from a quick stint in Burlington, VT, I’ve never lived anywhere that people actually want to visit. I recently acquired a job on North Lexington Ave. that puts me in the heart of downtown, so with our crisp leaves turning every shade of #pumpkinspice, Here! Come! The Touristsss! 

[Readers of my blog may start to notice that instant gratification is very important to me, so I like to get to “The Meat” of my post in a hasty, yet organized fashion. I make lists.]

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So here, for my Asheville Grit debut, is my first list:

HOW TO LOSE YOUR ASHEVILLE TOURIST STATUS IN TEN DAYS:

  1. Your Kia Sorrento crests over the misty mountains as you enter Asheville and you. are. PUUUUMPED! Gonna get high as f*ck on that dank mountain air! You’re so distracted by the beautiful scenery that you fail to realize you are driving 13 mph and every Asheville native stuck behind you wants you dead right now. SPEED IT UP, KINDLY. We have jobs to get to. We need to spend valued parts of our morning circling downtown desperately seeking parking with you. Let’s tap that accelerator and do this! Together, friend. Welcome to Ashevegas!
  2. Day 2: Today you should definitely peel back the sheets in your reasonably-priced-yet-questionably-safe Airbnb and immediately obsess over where you’ll eat. We’re super sorry that there are so many choices. Please don’t ask us the hours/location/how to pronounce Cúrate–we’re too broke to eat there and we really believe in your ability to use Google on your own. Yes, Sunny Point is good. No, the “wait’s not long.” They now have a house band and coffee/drink menu for people who are congregating outside–What does that tell you? Definitely be sure to stand in the crosswalk in front of SP whilst you rip selfies and block traffic. We’ll wait!
  3. Starting to get settled into our sweet city, you head downtown to do a bit of shopping, a little croissant-noshing, and you're definitely gonna take some dope pics for Insta. But wait! Where will you park? How will you park? Aside from pulling into one of the clearly-marked parking garages or looking for a street spot like literally every other human, we know the struggle. For sure pop into the boutique where I work once hourly and ask me questions about feeding the meter. I’m here for ya!
  4. Brewery Tour Day! Do you think you “love hoppy craft beer” and you’ve got the overpriced hoodie to prove it? We’ll see you at one of the mega-breweries! Southern Living Magazine probably told you to stop in there and you’re a dutiful visitor with a knack for convenience, so definitely avoid checking out other, smaller breweries like Burial, Sweeten Creek and Oyster House, all of which are adorably cozy and boast epic, flavorful brews. Be sure you audibly yell “THIS ONE’S TOO STRONG” or “THIS JUST TASTES LIKE SHOCK TOP” while the bartender patiently hands you sample after sample. Don’t forget to tip very little! Everybody’s just working because it’s fun.
  5. You’re leaving tomorrow so throw on your very best plaid-scarf-knee-length brown boot combo and head on over to the Biltmore. Yaaaas, Queen! You look good. We don’t want you to suffer through free or cheap options like the Blue Ridge Parkway, Carrier Park or a drink during sunset at Sky Bar, so throw them dollars down to see a big old house. [It is actually insanely gorgeous but I choose to save my money and Google photos of it when I feel an urge.]

I sincerely hope the information I’ve shared here can be taken with a satirical grain of salt as you must understand, I LOVE ASHEVILLE!  It's my home. For four years now, and likely a few more to come. Without the tourists, many of our local businesses wouldn’t survive and most of wouldn’t have jobs. We’re grateful! Just be cool, man. Be cool.