Asheville to Cherokee
Nov 6, 2008
|but not quite by the route we’d planned to take - Thursday, November 6
We spent three nights at the KOA in Asheville, doing chores, relaxing and catching up on this journal. The TV was on the whole time.
MSNBC’s unabashed elation at the election results was in stark contrast to the anal grumpiness of CNN and Fox-Noise. It was good to see the talking heads with a crack in their smug façade. Maybe this generation of young people will turn out some real journalists for a change. We can hope.
On Thursday we took off for the Blue Ridge Parkway again. First we drove 20 miles north to see the parkway the detour had bypassed, then we turned back and headed south for Cherokee. Our first stop was at the Folk Art Center just north of Asheville. While most of the Visitor Centers are closed for the season, this one displays and sells the work of a number of local artists and craftspeople and it doesn’t close.
It is housed in a nice, modern building, and inside it is so colorful and rich that you just want to stay there all day. In the entrance area they have two artists working. On this day one was a wood turner, and the other was a jeweler. The wood turner was working on a lathe and he was making bottle stoppers. Behind him was a display of his bowls and plates, and his work was almost as good as our friend Chuck McLaughlin’s, which is the ultimate compliment.
He was working mostly in local hardwoods, and his bowls were turned down extremely thin. Some had holes in the edges of the bowl, and he hadn’t plugged the holes with artistic stitches like Chuck uses, but they were still beautiful and much better than most of the wood turning you see.
The jeweler was making the most exquisite earrings and necklaces out of silver and colored resin. She has developed a way of inlaying resin in silver, and her designs are quite beautiful and expensive. The finished work is kind of a cross between stained glass and cloisonné. She had work displayed on her bench, and more of her work in the gallery store. Unfortunately they won’t let you take pictures in the center, so we weren’t able to photograph any of the work.
The gallery store has local work for every taste, and all of it is expertly crafted and beautifully finished. Upstairs they have a small gallery of their permanent collection - work that is not for sale but just on display. They also have furniture on the second floor. The furniture is for sale, and some of the designs were so radical that we’ve never seen anything like them before. It is an amazing place and one we will be sure to visit again when we return in the spring.
From the Folk Art Center it is a short drive to the Destination Center, which is a Visitor Center devoted just to the Parkway itself. It too was open, and it was there that we got the bad news that the rest of the Parkway was closed for the season. Actually we could have driven a little farther before having to turn off, but we elected to get right off again at Asheville so we could get on I-40 south and west.
Needless to say, we were very disappointed not to get to drive the whole Parkway, but we hope to return in the spring and that will leave something new to see at that time. We followed the interstate to Highway 19 where we turned off and headed for Cherokee. An hour later we crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway again, and at that point we entered the Cherokee Reservation. We were in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains now. At the town of Cherokee we turned off on the road to our campground, and we arrived before dark. We spent the evening making plans for the rest of the week.