Recently I and my brother and his wife visited Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is a beautiful “Southern” city situated on the edge of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the western part of the state. There are aspects of Asheville that are quirky or strange. However, I don’t think it has yet demonstrated sufficient quirky qualities to truly be considered “weird.”
To realize what “weird” actually looks like one must visit Portland, Oregon. The residents there work at being “weird” so as to not be like nearby Seattle, Washington. Voodoo Donut is weird as I have blogged about years ago with sexually explicit doughnuts and various combinations of edible food incorporated into their doughnut creations. It is just a tiny aspect making the city weird.
I know this is all confusing but my bottom line on a quirky / weird scale is that Asheville comes in as a generous 6 out of 10. Portland, on the other hand, knocks it out of the park, holding the weird city distinction by pushing the scale to 10.
Maybe we can consider Asheville to be one of the weirdest places in the Old South as a runner-up to true weird (as in true voodoo cults are weird) found in New Orleans, Louisiana. So you see that while Asheville is trying hard to be weird they are not there yet… the city is a weird wannabe.
Let’s consider some of the weirdness that Asheville claims on the website “9 Reasons Why Asheville is the Strangest Place You Will Ever Visit.” The number one claim to being weird is that they have a drum circle. Really? The Blue Ridge Mountains must be keeping the locals isolated. Yes, drum circles provide a curiosity but there are several of them in the USA. The huge drum circle on the beach in Sarasota, Florida is strange, as well as electrifying, but it hasn’t launched the area into the weirdness stratosphere yet.
But Asheville could capitalize and claim weirdness by expanding the area around the city where moonshine and stories abound about family heritages and outrunning the law through dense forests. It is also strange in this area where feuds continue and gun-toting is considered to be “normal.”
If you go to Asheville to find “weird” you more likely will be somewhat amused. Yes, there is a drum store selling rainsticks as well as gongs and the store next door does relaxing massages with special lighting and sounds. Although these are somewhat quirky they are interesting but not solidly distinctive of being weird.
Actually, I highly recommend the “Urban Trail Walking Tour” in Asheville which was our principle reason for going to the city. It is truly informative about the history of Asheville and is presented in a way that brings distinction to this area. The photos are representative of the trail celebrating mountain music, glorious art deco buildings, and livestock heading to southern markets.
So when you go to Asheville, North Carolina, enjoy the oddities if you want. But I rather love the charm of this southern city, the representations of the heritage, and the stories that come to life that are right there in front of you.