Monthly Archives: September 2017

Ashville, NC – charming with extras

We recently visited Ashville, NC. And this is our second trip. First time we were passing by and spent a day here exploring the downtown and cool eating places. To be honest it was a)Dobra Tea House b)Chai Pani that brought us here. We loved it so much that we decided we will make another trip and we did.

I believe that it was more than these two places that made us come back to Ashville. There was this T-shirt that I saw in one of the shops which read “If you are too weird for Ashville, then you are just too weird.” And I agree with this. Ashville residents are not hippie but almost hippie. Lot of people with braided hair and a very nonchalant air about them which comes with meditation or sometimes using other mood enhancing stuff. There is a certain newness in the air as you stroll down the streets. And the fact that the mountains around Ashville are vortex centers might have something to do with it. It’s like Sedona except this is actual city as opposed to tourist stop on your way to Grand Canyon.

Like all such places, Ashville is very open and diverse. In one of the cafes, SunnyPoint cafe restroom signs said “All Gender”. Most places had a sign saying that we welcome all, everybody with pictures of people from different races. And for a place to embrace this unanimously says something about the openness of the culture. If you lived only in Ashville all your life your world would be a lot different.

Ashville has a lot of sass to it – I cannot remember some of the comments but two that stand out are
-Indian restaurant had a sign outside: “Tikka look inside.”
-Sign on a t-shirt: “I don’t carrot at all.”
-The best of all – a different take on religions

The owner of the store who had some of the cool T-shirts recognized our Shiba right away – he was a dog breeder for rottweilers in his past life. People there are very friendly. We ran into this gentleman in dog park who had moved from Texas to Ashville fifteen years ago with his wife. He is a author and piano player and they have a B&B. We got into a very good discussion about writing, MFA etc.They also have this cute little bookshop called Battery Park Exchange which has lots of cute window seats for budding authors. While we enjoyed a cup of tea and carrot cake we saw many groups come and meet in there.

Variety of restaurants in a place is also a good sign of diversity – they had a Mediterranean place called BabaNahm, Thai place, Indian, french, Chinese, Vegan and regular comfort food. We couldn’t try all the places but they were all in the top of the list in TripAdvisor. And if this is not enough they also have a double decker bus from London that serves amazing coffee/desserts.

And last but not the least it is a very dog friendly place. Almost 99% of our conversations with strangers was because of Aki. And they have these cool trails for both humans and pets.

I enjoyed my trip to Ashville and it is a gem in North Carolina. I may be biased in my opinion but as they say “Each to his own.”

Aki – Social Crutch

Before I start this blog I want to suggest checking out these blog posts.
Aki – A Free Fellow
Journey of Discovery with Aki

As you have probably guessed this post is about our pet dog – Aki.

I never had a pet growing up in India. In fact we were told to be careful of dogs as there are so many stray dogs. And then when I met Adam he told me his stories of his pet Ollie who seemed like a fun dog – sassy. He loved to give Adam a hard time and that resonates with me. Slowly, I started warming up to the idea of having a dog. And when we moved to Columbus or US in general which is super dog friendly – we decided to go ahead and take the plunge and get a dog.

While we were waiting to Aki to reach the twelve weeks mark, so that he could come to our house I remember telling Adam that I cannot imagine having a pet/anyone who will be with us 24 hours – always in the house. And now after almost 18 months with Aki it is hard to imagine the house without him.

We recently made a trip to Ashville – a charming quaint town. And we had no issues taking Aki with us everywhere – there are top eating places/cafes which are dog friendly. You have to be ok with eating outside but apart from that it’s not an issue at all. Most places have a dog bowl – most people in US have a pet or have had a pet.

Aki usually turns quite a few heads – he is just so good looking. I can say that as I cannot take any credit for his good looks. But with that comes the ease of conversations with strangers. We have had all sorts of people come and speak to us because a) they want to know what kind of a dog Aki is b) they want to compliment on what a good looking dog he is c) they just want to pet him d) they cannot resist his cuteness and are drawn to him.

We have had a waiter from a Restaurant, Construction worker, Cafe owner, Kids, old ladies, police officers to name a few who have spoken to us. This makes life easier for me. Believe it or not I do find it awkward to strike up conversations with strangers. With Aki there is none of that – you get straight to the point. In fact people recognized us in Ashville because of Aki. We had gone to check out a dog store where the owner looked at Aki and said, “you guys were at Babnahm (tasty Mediterranean eating place). I saw your shiba there.”

A lot of my friends/Family in other countries like Australia/UK/India/Switzerland etc.. are surprised when we tell them that there are doggy day cares, dog friendly parks, self-wash for dogs and outdoor/patio seating. Of course, it does mean that we haven’t seen the inside of a restaurant in ages but it’s worth it. The simple acceptance/ trust you get from your pet is priceless!

I have not posted much photos of Aki in this blog because I could not decide which one – Here’s the link to his instagram page: Iamluckyaki