This latest trip to Asheville saw us really getting some exercise. After we enjoyed a terrific lunch at Luella’s, we drove through the city and then west a few miles on I-40 and US 23, and then south down NC-151 to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a couple of hours stretching our legs at Graveyard Fields. In the late afternoon, we made it to our hotel, checked in and relaxed for a while before going downtown for supper. We ate at Early Girl Eatery, about which I wrote back in June, and had a very good meal, although perhaps not a match for the truly great breakfast that we’d earlier enjoyed. We passed on dessert, as we had other plans.
The downtown streets have some pretty interesting things to see, and among the cutest is a decommissioned 1950s Bristol Lodekka double-decker bus. It spent the late 1970s and 1980s in Atlanta as the party bus that I remember seeing all over the place when I was in high school. It always seemed to be full of drunk yuppies. When Ringo Starr opened a restaurant in Atlanta called The London Brassiere – yes, really – I’m pretty sure this was the bus that they hired out for the event. You won’t believe this, but Ringo’s Atlanta restaurant with that amazingly awful name closed inside of two years. Anyway, eventually, the bus made its way to Asheville and found permanent residence on Biltmore Avenue a few doors down from a great record store called Karmasonics. Nowadays, it’s a coffee shop that also serves pastries and desserts from area bakers.
I asked where they have room to make the pastries and it turns out they come from a variety of places. The cookies, for example, come from a local delivery operation called Sugar Momma’s. I simply had one of their chocolate chip cookies which felt tremendously decadent – for an occasionally pretentious and silly ass, I really have basic tastes when it comes to sweets – and had a good-natured argument with my daughter, who insisted that her peppermint bark must have been better than my cookie. Marie had a slice of pumpkin cheesecake which had each of us rolling our eyes backwards in our heads, bound for comas.
As for the beverages, I may not have mentioned this before, but I don’t like the taste of coffee, of any style, at all and I wait until tea is pretty much close to room temperature before sipping it. Soup, too, if we’re honest about it. Anyway, I’m unable to say whether the coffee here is any good, making me a most unreliable narrator for any discussion of a coffee shop. My daughter, on the other hand, had a peppermint latte that she greatly enjoyed. She sat in the upstairs front of the bus and shouted hellos down to pedestrians and drivers. I was perfectly satisfied with a vanilla cream soda and a few minutes to kick up my feet with Marie and watch my daughter cut up, giggle and have a blast. I have a good feeling that she’s by no means the only pre-teen to decide this bus is just too darn fun for words.