My apartment is in North Asheville, one of the most beautiful, walking, biking, public transport, car-accessible areas in one of the most vibrant, tolerant, beautiful, musical, thespian, artistic, meditative, retirement-friendly, young-people-friendly cities in America — if not the world. (See below for the amazing array of awards Asheville has recently won.)
I have a spacious, tastefully furnished, 800-square-foot apartment, with 9-foot ceilings, one bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms and a 150-square-foot porch … and a 1,000 square foot semi-private yard … all in a distinguished 100-year-old two-story brownstone. It includes high-speed Internet, a smart TV hooked to cable that includes about 30 HBO/Showtime etc. movie channels. It’s ideally situated for safely and beautifully walking or bike-riding to our incredibly vibrant downtown were buskers worthy of Carnegie Hall festoon every corner, and hundreds of art galleries, jazz bars, numerous theaters, craft artists etc. add luster to a city already glowing from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Biltmore Estate.
The apartment has beautiful views of Sunset, Town and Reynolds mountains that are mostly forest. It is five safe-walking blocks away from ten restaurants and five bars, two blocks away from a fine park with bike and hike trails, four blocks away from a large liberal arts university (UNCA) with botanical gardens, five blocks from a Yoga Center with six different businesses catering to three large yoga studios. These studios are a block from Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Harris Teeter, all popular hangouts. Not that there’s too many businesses around my apartment. In fact, caddy-corner across the street from me is an acre of woods, and swooshing trees and happy birds are the main noises. Looking from the pinnacle of the luxurious, historical, walking-distance Omni Grove Park Inn, you see Asheville’s verdant valley and, in the neighborhoods, except for a few churches and schools, you see only trees. It looks like a forest with a city sprinkled sparsely within — and it is.
The Moog Electronic Music Museum is ten walking-blocks away. Hopping downtown Asheville with 100-plus restaurants, etc. is a wondrous three-mile bike path away which averages 25 thick-tree feet from roads. That is, you can easily and safely ride blissfully downtown if you don’t want to walk. Of course driving is easy too. The town is somehow ideal for those wanting a fresh, scintillating start in life, as well as a sedate interesting retirement. The city and small towns around it always have some festival, convention, or artistic or literary gathering going on almost year round.
I had an air conditioner but never used it this summer and took it back. You will surely not need one in temperate April, May or June. Asheville Awards:
Asheville pops up on national rankings for a variety of things: "a New Age Mecca" (CBS News' Eye On America, 1996), one of "The 50 Most Alive Places To Be" (Modern Maturity, 2000), the "Happiest City for Women" (Self, 2002), one of the "Best Places to Reinvent Your Life" (AARP Magazine, 2003), one of the "Best Outside Towns" (Outside Magazine, 2006), one of the "Top Seven Places to Live in the U.S." (Frommer's, 2007), one of the "10 Most Beautiful Places in America" (Good Morning America, 2011), one of the "25 Best Places for Business and Careers" (Forbes, 2012), and one of "20 Great Cities For Writers" (Flavorwire, 2013). Asheville has been listed as one of the "Top 25 Small Cities for Art" in AmericanStyle magazine's annual list from 2000 to 2012 and has reigned the champion "Beer City USA" each year from 2009 to 2012. "The 9th Most Romantic Cities in the South." The Huffington Post, March 2015 "America's Best Beer Cities" Conde Nast Traveler, January 2015 "Best city in America for locavores" The Daily Meal, 2014 2014 "#1 most popular city for retirement out of 900+ U.S. cities" 2014 "#1 town to live and work in as a movie maker MovieMaker magazine, 2014 One of 6 top "Alternative Travel Destinations for 2014" Men's Journal and Business Insider, 2014 "One of 20 cities you should visit in your 20s" Huffington Post, 2014 "#1 of 12 Dreamy Towns for Vegan Living" VegNews, 2013 "One of 10 Tastiest Towns in the South" Southern Living, 2013 "Hippest City in the South" Fodor's The Carolinas & Georgia, 2013 "One of America's Best River Towns" Outside, 2012 "#1 Beer City USA" Imbibe Magazine online poll, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 "Most Romantic Place in USA and Canada" Readers Choice Poll, 2012 "Top 10 Great Sunny Places to Retire" AARP Magazine, 2012 "10 Fantastically Yoga-Friendly Destinations" Yoga Journal, 2011+ More