Spent the day in Asheville, NC. Left all my notes and maps here at the hotel. Found the shops anyway. Most of the yarn shops had the same kinds of things that we sell, but I found one shop with some hand spun yarn - beautiful, but I didn't buy any of it - couldn't figure out what I'd do with it - dyeing yarn is not my thing.
Found a wonderful bead and gem store - bought some raw stones - two pieces of opal that I intend to wire wrap for partner and me, and some lovely lapis that the owner claims is not dyed - it's so blue that I suspect color has been added. Also a few other pieces of various stones that I think will make up nicely - one has mica in it and will leave tiny bits of glitter on the skin of the person who wears it, but that's attractive, I think. The stuff was also available without the bits of mica, but not nearly as pretty.
The bead store that used to be a great delight to me was a big disappointment - I didn't find anything neat or really unusual there - lots of seed beads, and I'm not doing seed beads right now.
The Guild shop had all kinds of crafts found in this area and the stuff to make them with - but nothing that really struck me...so I came away from there empty-handed. The bookstore had one thing I wanted - some Medicine cards - sort of like Tarot but using animals and their Native American interpretations.
The downtown area is covered with food places - everyone at table along the sidewalks, but I couldn't find a place to eat that didn't have a wait time of half hour or more. Thought I was going to starve. Ate at a place that specializes in sweets - my cake was a bit dry, the quiche was okay but served plain, but the tea was great...though the refill cost me half the cost of the the first glass.
Lots of shops with Indian or Eastern things - art, clothings, beads, junk.
I came back up the hill through a shoe store - a multi-level shoe store - and I couldn't find a single pair that I could afford. When I reached the top of the hill I was very winded and red-faced. I staggered into a Free-trade shop or whatever they are called, and the shop-keeper took one look at me and pointed to a chair. She offered to get me water, but I had that handy. Thank God for the chair and the rest. Then I bought a few things for stocking stuffers this Christmas.
I rested at a number of places along the way...benches were plentiful. One of the downtown parks appeared to be full of lolling men - all ages, sizes, styles, degrees of good looking, various dress - but all men. The women I saw together or in groups were all walking and looking and talking. these men seemed to be waiting for pick-ups...or something. Maybe they were just taking advantage of shade on a warm humid day.
Many stores downtown were empty. No name brand stores any longer.
When I left downtown, I headed out to the Biltmore area, and I found all the name brand shops. But, I also found Yarn Paradise. And, I spent a long time there - bought my first set of interchangeable circular needles...a large investment. And, I was bragging to one of the women there about the wonderful BBQ ribs I'd had last night. She laughed and said she was the sister of the owner of Countryside BBQ. And, I could see a family resemblance, but she is definitely more beautiful than he is good looking. Too much good food has given him width in the middle to balance his height. LOL Ate there again tonight - still good. Going to eat there again tomorrow. Closed on Monday; so I guess it's Maccy D's for Monday.
One of the interesting things I've noticed is that many yarn companies are now selling their yarns in hanks instead of balls or skeins. This means that the yarn owners have to spend employee time winding these hanks into balls. All except two balls of yarn that I bought were in hanks. That's a lot of payroll dollars that will go into winding instead of sales and stocking.