After a few day's delay, I am finally in Asheville, NC. Last Sunday, I drove out to meet my friend Meg who accompanied me on the journey. We left Tuesday, after watching a beautiful and much needed rainstorm. We made an adventure out of the drive- taking the Natchez Trace Parkway through Mississippi, a corner of Alabama, and Tennessee. The NTP is chock full of history and was an awesome alternative to taking the Interstate. No traffic, no semi-trucks, no billboards or big signs for fast food and truck stops. Instead, we stopped at scenic picnic areas, camped in a state park, and visited the Mississippi Craft Center, a museum of local folk crafts. In Tennessee, we took a few State Highways towards Lynchburg and toured the Jack Daniels distillery.
Fun Fact: It is legal to produce, but not to sell liquor, beer, and wine in the county where Jack Daniels Distillery is located, due to remaining Prohibition laws.
Thursday, we arrived at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and camped with Tera, a friend from Denton. We went on a few hikes, cooked some awesome camp food, and went tubing in the river at the campground. Along the trails, we swam in the river and a few waterfalls in our underwear. No shame :) And when we did finally pull into Asheville, this is what welcomed me to my new home:
Yep. Bele Chere is a FREE, four-stage music festival that completely takes over the downtown area- a good 6 square blocks- for three days. And lining the closed-off streets are booths of local businesses and craftsmen, amazingly talented street performers and side musical acts, and raging evangelists side-by-side the equally vocal members of the Asheville gay community.
Tomorrow, roommates move in. And thus, Welcome to Asheville, Jordan!