Friday, April 15, 2016

Leaving Asheville.

The third and final day of my short excursion to the city of Asheville had finally come. On the itinerary today: visit the North Carolina Arboretum and attend the Asheville Orchid Festival. Woo-hoo!

The grounds of the North Carolina Arboretum are well maintained and groomed. Sadly, I was surprised at the lack of overall diversity in the plants residing on the property. It seemed smaller than I expected, but beautiful nevertheless. They had a large bonsai tree area, but nearly all of the pot-bound plants were still in storage due to the outside temperature not quite being warm enough yet.

Of note, there were two fantastic exhibits in their main building, featuring presentations on the Peregrine Falcon and wild predators of the United States.

Within the education building was the Asheville Orchid Festival. Though, the word 'festival' might be overselling it a bit. I'd say it was more of a 'meeting'. There were a large number of orchids, but not nearly enough to justify the festival designation. The orchid displays filled two rooms, of which half were growers selling their plants at OUTRAGEOUS prices. Over $100 for a plant? No thanks. I must say -- the flowers were very magnificent in both color and scope, much to my delight.

With the city of Asheville squarely in my rear-view mirror, it was time to come home. I have mixed feelings about Asheville. Do I think the city is way over-hyped? Positively so. Yet, there's also a genuine side to the city that was really appealing to me. If not for the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest being so close by, I'd probably feel unsatisfied with the trip. And yet, the natural wonders and great local food (without hippies) saved it for me. Final verdict? Go to Asheville for the gorgeous environment and great local food, but avoid downtown and the other tourist traps.

Blaaaah. Hippies.

Check out the rest of my trip here: Day 1, Day 2.

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