Photos courtesy Asheville CVB
Among Asheville’s advantages is a longer-than-usual list of after-hours entertainment ideas. Who would think a town of 83,000 would be packed with so many options? Here are a few.
Spend the afternoon in the River Arts District. RAD is down the hill from downtown Asheville, an old industrial zone in the French Broad River’s flood plain. Cheaper rents have artists flocking there like migratory birds. Already, more than 160 of them have set up shop in about 25 industrial buildings. The district stretches several miles, with studios and galleries in clumps.
Among the highlights is Jonas Gerard Fine Art. Gerard is happy to book his 5,000 square-foot gallery/studio for receptions; the lively artist might be game to give a painting demonstration.
His abstract acrylics lend gaiety to any occasion, and at Gerard’s, visitors are advised that it is “Ok to touch” his paintings.
Gerard’s next-door neighbor, the Clingman Cafe, is one of six restaurants in the district; there are reports that at least two more are on the way. 12 Bones, a barbecue spot open only at lunch (President Barack Obama has eaten there twice) and the White Duck Taco Shop are local favorites. At Wedge Brewing, downstairs from an art studio next to the railroad tracks, patrons unwind with an Iron Horse IPA on a patio punctuated by art.
Beer lovers should visit at least a couple of Beer City USA’s craft breweries. There are about a dozen in Asheville and another dozen within a short drive. An Asheville Brews Cruise lets you leave the driving to someone else. Or drive yourself to Asheville’s southern edge and see the city’s first brewery, Highland Brewing Co. Its big warehouse of a home allows the 19-year-old brewery to have parties and concerts, indoors and out. If you’d rather stay in town, the front patio at Wicked Weed Brewery, downtown’s newest brewery, is a good place to people -watch on Biltmore Avenue.