I’ve been on several tours since the last e-news with folks from as far away as Missouri, Nebraska, and a big group from California. People are curious about this beautiful region of the country - and I’ve needed to know facts and information about Western NC to be able to share, so I’ve brushed up on some basics. Here are some tidbits for you to refresh your memory!
· Population of Asheville: close to 88,000; 11th largest city by population in NC. (Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro are top the 3)
· Population of Buncombe County: close to 240,000
· Average snowfall (lots of people ask this!) 14-16” total annually. This leads into telling about the National Climatic Data Center located in Asheville…which leads into telling about Grove Arcades’ long history.
· Elevation of Asheville: 2216 above sea level; and the highest peak in the Appalachian Mtn range is nearby in the Burnsville area - Mt Mitchell at 6684.
· Tobacco used to be our largest crop. What do people farm now?: variety of organic vegetables (local restaurant connection), berries, Christmas trees and shrubs; medicinal and culinary herbs; hops, and grapes for wine. Good opportunity to share about the NC Arboretum.
· Asheville is the nations’ first Bee City.
· People know that NC is a furniture state. – good opening to talk about the artisan furniture makers in the area!
· Were there many Civil War battles in the area? oh goodness! I don’t know much about this question!
· Are there still Cherokee in the area? To the west of Asheville is the Qualla Boundary where about 13,500 people of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians reside – Qualla Arts and Crafts is an impressive stop when you visit Cherokee! Amazing baskets, carvings, beadwork and pottery.
· The Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s longest linear park stretching 469 miles from VA to near Cherokee NC. This year is the National Park Service’s 100 anniversary (2016)
And there’s more…but as you can see, visitors are curious about all sorts of information - and I enjoy sharing, from an area native, and craft lover, point of view!