A statue cat dressed in a knit shawl? It’s a pretty ordinary sight for a town that’s built a reputation on being weird, quirky and eccentric. Asheville, N.C. is getting a lot of fame these days as a place immersed in natural beauty and unique enough to be on just about every top 10 list in the country.
Another frequent sight: a man dressed in drag as a nun may be one of Asheville, North Carolina’s most memorable characters. Jim Lauzon, owner of the LaZoom Bus Tours often entertains passengers with his role as “Sister Bad Habit.” He’s one of the interesting people recently chronicled in the new book, Only in Asheville: An Eclectic History. Read the first chapter free.
Asheville, North Carolina, located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains has a somewhat magical lure—some say the area is in a vortex, perhaps energized by all the quartz in the mountains. It’s garnered attention from the ultra wealthy, like George Vanderbilt who constructed a magnificent palace here in the late 1800s. Biltmore House remains America’s largest private residence. It’s also a draw for artists, craftspeople, musicians, buskers, craft breweries and top chefs.
Frommer’s named Asheville a Best Place to Go in 2015; Travel & Leisure named it the “Quirkiest Town in America” in 2014 and countless others have touted Asheville on just about every Top 10 list in the country.
Asheville is surprisingly tolerant with its vast diversity, and draws appreciation with its overflowing community of craft breweries, inspiring vintage architecture and Southern charm. It’s a place where the unexpected is expected, where sights that would make other towns gasp only creates chuckles and an exclamation of “Only in Asheville!”
The History Press debuted Only in Asheville: An Eclectic History this month and it reveals the history that led Asheville to becoming one of the strangest, weirdest, most delightful places on the planet. You can buy it online by clicking the Paypal button at the bottom of this link.
Photo of the Man in White living statue by Marla Milling.