"West Asheville" West Asheville by bobblefrog
West Asheville Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 0 photos
West Asheville really isn't its own "town" anymore. It used to be - it sits on the other side of the French Broad river, hence "West" Asheville. But of course like all cities that grow up it merged into one - but it has retained its own personality, I expect, more than the other directions of Asheville that are called North and South Asheville. There is an East, but no one really refers to it that way. More that they just say "Tunnel Road where it goes off in that other direction". Hope that doesn't offend anyone! I've lived here 10 years now and I'm just calling it like I see it. Or hear it, rather!
West Asheville has really seen a resurgence the last few years. What was a blue-collar aging neighborhood (interspersed with blatantly ugly commercial strip centers and very poor unsafe areas) is rapidly being bought into by younger couples and families. Houses are being fixed up (there is such a mishmash of decades and styles here) and Haywood Road, the main thoroughfare of "old" West Asheville is seeing a resurgence of coffeeshops, restaurants, vintage shops and galleries. This is very bohemian though - don't get me wrong. There are no Starbucks and they aren't wanted. If you stop at Ingles grocery store on Haywood you'll discover the parking lot is full of trash, most residents are walking around in curlers, house slippers and tattoos. There is very little art and an awful lot of "living the way living is". There is no pretension in this area.
West Asheville has its ugly commercial side too. Patton Avenue being the ugliest of uglies with strip centers, KFCs, Lowes, car rentals, modular home sales and the usual plethera of fast food places. For many years we rented a house in North Asheville and sort of thought of West Asheville as just, well, poor and tasteless.
Now we know better! West Asheville is one of those bustling old ladies with her petticoat showing, too much rouge, not a tactful bone in her body, religious as sin and a heart of gold headed off to the Friday night dance. Seedy, bohemian, with bible-thumping bones, she is filled with old timers that "remember when".... this is the place to shop for junk, retro junk, have a great microbrew, visit a bookstore devoted to spiritual matters with free wifi and bizarre real fruit slushies, have a freshly roasted-bean latte, eat a cinamon roll the size of your head and watch the tin can man stroll by with his dogs while the big-daddy drug dealer blows by with his rap so loud all the window panes are shaking.
Is it safe? Sure. I've walked its length many times - at least in daylight. It may not be safe from brushing by unsavories, but it isn't New York. Some folks are friendly, some aren't - but they're usually just minding their own business. Shopkeepers range from the hippie chick to the old couple tending the store their parents ran. And prices range from downtown-expensive for a badly served latte with your very delicious cuban to the cheap greasy spoon special of the day at the hotdog stand.
For an excellent map overview of Haywood Road and the businesses that line it - try http://www.onhaywood.com.
- Pros:Not a bit of polish, it's the real thing.
- Cons:Not a bit of polish, it's the real thing.
- In a nutshell:Funky, lots of energy, brash and a little messy
Decided to venture over to brave West Asheville yet? Here's my favorite eateries...by the way - to find any of these on... more travel advice
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