Asheville struck me as the kind of town that inspires residents and visitors alike to take care of it, to maintain its tidiness for the enjoyment of the next person who drives through town. Even the seamier side of Asheville looks fresh enough that the Asheville Visitor Center is situated only a couple blocks away from the Salvation Army's housing facility. In fact, except for the expressions on their faces, it's hard to distinguish some of the down-and-outers from some of the many artists and craftspeople who make Asheville home.
The entire town looks as if it's been pressure-washed only yesterday. It's that clean. I can't imagine anyone having the audacity to drop a cigarette butt or a gum wrapper in such a pristine and picturesque area, so maybe the cleanliness is self-perpetuating. To me, the steady stream of traffic through town was the only thing that prevented any part of the area from being picture-postcard ready.
I loved that there were trees scattered among storefronts downtown:
And I loved the unique architecture and the pops of color outside shops and restaurants:
It appears that the people responsible for the planning and development of Asheville paid close attention to detail and to the harmonious composition of each neighborhood. Check out this fast-food restaurant (the most expensively constructed McDonald's in the U.S.)...
...which is located across the street from a cluster of Tudor-styled buildings like this one:
And look how this elaborately structured playground perfectly matches the little church next to it:
Asheville is well known as an artists' community, and those artists and craftsmen have left touches of their aesthetic all over the area. It may be found in a meticulously painted mural on the side of a local store:
Or on the colorful facade of an apartment building:
The artists began moving into Asheville when the town's industrial area was largely deserted, thus highly affordable. They set up studios, opened galleries, and developed an extensive community within a community that is alive and strong today.
And that, my friends, is the end of this post and the end of our Gray Line Trolley tour .