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It might be a bit of a generalisation, but it seems that early American settlers followed a fairly generic formula when it came to naming their new settlements. Driving through Virginia in particular, it seems that every second town is a burg, with Blacksburg, Gettysburg, and Fredericksburg coming and going on the highway markers. After a trip to two of the great villes of Tennessee, it seemed logical to turn my attention a couple of the more famous villes east of the Great Smokey Mountains, in particular Asheville, NC and Charlottesville VA.


A typical Jazz age façade in downtown Asheville

With Fall coming, a couple of the Americans responsible for looking after us internationals decided that a trip to Asheville, a mountain city to the west, would be ideal for taking in some crisp, mountain air. Asheville had its time to shine in the 20s, when it became a mountain retreat for various Jazz age figures such as the Fitzgeralds. Luckily for the modern visitor, everything fell apart with the market crash and depression, meaning that it still keeps the same charm as yore. Today it has a bit of a hippie reputation, which would explain the crowd of 100 or so dancing to bongo drum beat that we met as we came into town. We all squeezed into a mountain ‘cabin’, although with a couple of Jacuzzis and six bedrooms, I suspect that it wasn’t your typical mountain pioneer experience.


Unfortunately for me, I usually go shopping with my handgun, so I wasn't able to check out the bargains in this Asheville mall

My trip to Charlottesville was ostensibly to meet up with a friend (Miss Katherine Carter) who now studies full time at the University of Virginia, which is located at the centre of town. However, with a game scheduled for the same weekend, it was a good opportunity to don my jersey and continue the great tradition of UNC/UVA grudge (“the oldest rivalry of the south”). Apparently, UVA is the only school in the Atlantic Coast Conference having a worst season than us, and I was able leave the stadium at half time, confident in our 30 point lead. Full points to my friend for chaperoning my obnoxiously Carolina blue self through the sea of orange and various tailgates without getting me mugged.


More apples than you could poke a stick at

The next day we opted for something a little more seasonal, and went up to Carter’s knob (giggle) for some apple pickin’ before I made my way home. Driving away from the interstates, particularly along the back roads of North Carolina, is a particularly pleasant experience, one that I will have to repeat later.


great post!
im hoping to go on exchange at UNC next year... ive toured the US before and the south/east coast was by far my favorite.

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