On June 23rd- 25th, several hundred bloggers & social media people & dudes will be unleashed upon my smallish yet unabashedly vibrant mountain town of Asheville, NC. They are flying, driving and motor boating their way here to attend the 3rd annual Type A Parent Conference.
There will be tweeting and there will be squeeing. There will be socializing and streaking. Get a couple drinkypoos in your system …you never know what will happen. It’s not Vegas, it’s Asheville. People will cheer you on & then JOIN YOU.
This event is near and dear to my big, phat heart for a couple of reasons.
- TypeA was my first conference ever. Zack heard about it on the radio & I kinda felt like God was tapping me on the shoulder. I raised money for the ticket on my blog in less than one week. I left my breastfed, bottle-refusing baby at home with my husband with several bottles of breast milk for the first time since she was born. I was committed to learning. I didn’t know ONE SINGLE PERSON. So, I gathered up my balls and my intuition and soldiered forward. I parked my ’96 Honda Civic and the first thing I saw was a mini van from Pennsylvania with a bumper sticker on it that said: #SUCKIT. I hoped that it belonged to a blogger. This was before I even knew what a hashtag was. It was Cecily’s van and Erin‘s sticker.
- Not once did I feel like an outsider. Everyone I met was welcoming, friendly and surprisingly normal yet not normal at all. I met Kelby and Cecily and Stacie and Alli & Stephanie & Casey. I saw the effervescent Anissa bound through the room. I heard about Aiming Low. These “mommy bloggers” didn’t really care about what you had on. These mommy bloggers weren’t boring, lame or the kind of women who sit on their ass all day in front of hotornot.com and give their toddlers Mountain Dew and Twinkies. These women were movers and shakers. These women were doing big things. These women were living and breathing the same message of hope. I could feel it. It made me curious.
- This is my town: I am happily celebrating my 10th anniversary since I packed up my little car with duct tape on the visor and got the hell out of Dodge with “Wide Open Spaces” blaring out of the sunroof, driving away from that boy and from all that oppression. Room to make her big mistaaaakes. Oh my lard, that’s so cheesy, but that’s exactly what happened. Asheville has become my home. Those big, green mountains hugged me the moment I saw them coming up I-26. The excitement of brand new beginnings were stirring within me. I marveled at the architecture, smelled the honeysuckle breeze and then spotted a young mother walking up Lexington Ave with an infant attached to her exposed breast. I laughed and silently cheered for her, and I knew that I was home.
So, when the people I know and love come to my town, I want to show them around to all the best spots.
I wish I could personally walk around with everyone who comes to visit. I love seeing it through new eyes. But since there’s no fucking way I can do that, here are some suggestions for you to accept or deny. It’s just my opinion. Let me say though, there are LOTS of amazing places in Asheville. In fact, there are some that I haven’t even gotten around to enjoying but I know from word of mouth that they kick some major local ass.
Please also note that I am biased. My friends are the kind of people that refused to tell a car full of youngsters how to get to Hooter’s.
These suggestions are within walking distance of the Renaissance hotel.
- Simma Down (Jamaican, mon!)
- Early Girl Cafe (Southern YUM).
- Zambra’s (Sexy Spanish tapas by candlelight).
- Chai Pani (Indian street food).
- Limone’s (Mexican, Californian cuisine. Just delicious).
- Doc Chey’s (Noodle house that will make you smack yo mama).
- French Broad Chocolate Lounge (DO NOT MISS THIS).
- Bouchon (French comfort food. C’est si bon).
- Creperie Bouchon (Quick, French comfort food in a pretty little courtyard. Hello, Nutella crepes and wine).
- Izzy’s (Coffee! Try the Dream Cream on a bagel. Trust me).
- The Lobster Trap (Lobster Mac n Cheese. Yes, please).
- Double Decker Coffee Bus (It’s a coffee shop on a bus. It’s awesome).
- Malaprop’s (Indie bookstore with coffee, tea, wifi and pastries. An Asheville landmark. It’s where I met David Sedaris).
- Sazerac (Fresh cocktails. Cool vibe. Rooftop patio. Naked women on the walls. Order a Buttercup).
- Arcade (Take the kids here during the day to play. There’s skeeball and old school arcade games and a Wii. It’s literally right across the street. It’s a bar and a restaurant and a playground all in one. Go here if you want to shake yo thang late on Friday night).
DRINK ALCOHOL HERE (Welcome to Beer City USA, y’all).
- The Thirsty Monk (Local beer).
- Bruisin’Ales (Beer store that ships)!
- Jack of the Wood
- The Vault
- Write On! (Hilarious stationary and gift store).
- LOFT (You want vibrant and fun? GO HERE. It’s the yellow and orange striped building. You can’t miss it).
- Hip Replacements (Vintage inspired clothing, local jewelry, cool store run by very cool, very sweet people).
- Woolworth Walk (Booths of local art with a old fashion soda fountain).
- The Grove Arcade (Go here for the architecture alone).
- Dolce Vita (It’s small and adorable).
- Purl’s (Yarn store!)
- Ragtime (Vintage clothing).
GET YOUR ARTSY ON HERE
- Atelier 24
- Blue Spiral
- American Folk Art
- Asheville Art Museum
- Pack Square Park (There’s a splash pad thingy for when you’ve had a hot laptop in your crotchal area all day).
- LaZoom Tours (If you have some extra time, get your ass on this big, purple bus. Their tours of Asheville are hilarious. Highly recommended).
- Drive up Town Mountain and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Breathtaking views).
- The Biltmore Estate
- Biltmore Village. (If you get down this way, make sure you go to Wink).
- The Grove Park Inn
- The Sky Bar (Go for the sunset and the libations).
- The top of any parking deck in town.
I know Ashevillians and lovers of this city have strong suggestions and advice, so please feel free to leave those below. It’s kind of impossible to mention all the greatness this town has to offer. When all else fails, just look for this poster as an indicator of local excellence:
If you are a local Asheville business owner and would like for any of these men and women to come enjoy your space, spend money on your awesome product or service and would love to offer some sort of incentive for them to gravitate towards your establishment, you can be added to a list that will be seen by those who have the potential to help spread the word of your colossal awesomeness to millions of people through the power of social media. It’s kind of a win/win thing. Email me to be added: robinplemmons at g mail dot com.
If you had told me three years ago that I would be writing these words on this site, working with these people, learning these things and being continuously inspired to be myself, I would’ve told you that you were full of shit (and would silently know that it would come true).