I’ve lived in the historic Montford community for just over two years and, although any praise of my new hometown will undoubtedly result in the numbers of tourists expanding like a Southern barbeque muncher’s beltline, we love tourists, many of whom decide to retire somewhere nearby. So many historic neighborhoods to choose from, so many nearby communities, with a plethora (yeah, I know, writers shouldn’t use words to showcase their vocabularies) of craft and music festivals all summer long.
“Our” festival has grown to encompass two tree lined streets in our historic community. Most of the homes in Montford were built between 1890 and 1920, and include a variety of architectural influences reflecting the cosmopolitan character of Asheville during the turn of the 20th century: Victorian, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts styles combined with Neoclassical, Colonial Revival and castle-like motifs.
The Montford Festival is just one of many attractions in Asheville. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald called Asheville home for a time. Thomas Wolfe grew up here and renamed this city Altamont in his book, Look Homeward Angel. Sidney Porter (O. Henry) lived in Asheville for a few months but found it dull in comparison with New York City. Well, yeah. What did he expect? Asheville is still home for dozens of writers of all genres. When you visit, don’t miss the famous Malaprop’s Indie bookstore downtown, with an entire alcove of books by local authors.
Then there’s the fictitious “Brantleigh Estate,” in nearby Henderson County where, as luck would have it, my protagonist has found a corpse. The Body in the Brantleigh Glen is Penny Summers’ second sleuthing adventure.
Over 100 vendors of art, crafts, plants, food and children’s activities were showcased this year on two streets just down Montford Avenue from the Asheville Visitors Center. Two stages, one on each street, were the perfect settings for non-stop entertainment — over 20 bands. By the way, all the festivities are free fer nuttin’. Visitors come from literally near and far to stay in one of the city’s hotels or a neighborhood Victorian Bed and Breakfast, all of which are walking distance from the festival and from downtown. We’re proud and happy to live in Asheville’s most intriguing neighborhood.