Daddy's Coming Honey!

“Little Mountain Escape”

I did not invent the babymoon, but I would have loved to. At the end of Spring Break, we took ours in Paris. I mean the Paris of the South: Asheville.

Well, it’s debatable. Others would call New Orleans the Paris of the South, and Asheville the San Fran. Maybe Orleans is just the Europe of the South, period. But if we’re to compare European cities only, then Asheville is Paris. And what is Boone? Amsterdam. Charleston is the London. Atlanta is Athens. Or maybe Nasvhille is Athens. Athens, GA is not Athens—that’s for sure. Fort Lauderdale is Venice. Memphis is Memphis—no, wait, just because it has the same name and a pyramid? No, Memphis is Instanbul. Mobile is Pompeii. You get the picture. Roanoke is Moscow, trust me on that one. I guess that makes Blacksburg St. Petersburg.

Anyway, so we went to Asheville. Came in Thursday. Friday her parents came down to go to the Biltmore with us.

The Biltmore. Paragon of Capitalist decadence. When it was built, that is. What was once an affront to modesty and stewardship as a private home for a single family is now a historical site open the public to provide sustainability to the surrounding area through tourism and such. The excesses of the Gilded Age were deceitful, and a man thought he could build a luxury resort for he and his kin that would last. The Great Depression was the angel of history laughing at such a thought, while also mercifully offering a shot at redeeming the estate by letting the poorest of the poor dwell for a day in a home no American was any longer rich enough to dwell in and not lose dough. No philanthropy is too small, and the more conspicuous the consumption and leisure the more profane the dabs of “charity”. To whom much is given much is required. This I will teach my son from day one.

But it was nice to tour a home and wonder what it would be like to raise a child in a dwelling so magnanimously large, especially compared to the little womb.

They have a killer library, by the way. If wanted to build a mancave on an unlimited budget, it would be something like the billiards room, smoking room, and gun room of the Biltmore crammed inside the library.

We say goodbye to Carrie’s family and have dinner at Tupelo Honey Cafe. Kind of place that makes lamps out of gramophone horns and runs all their ceiling fans off a single pulley system to save juice. I ordered the Stroganoff, Yall, and was apparently the first person to actually say the “Y’all” in the name. Uppity elites can’t admit they’re from the South. And what I had was a Southern riff on a classic Russki recipe, creamy sauteed pork tenderloin in a cremini mushroom gravy, served over goat cheese grits and topped with jalapeno cilantro pesto and sour cream. Oh, and by the way, I also got an orchid on top of it all. A pink orchid. No Stroganoff Y’all is complete without orchid petals.

In the evening we enjoyed a swim in the saltwater pool, Carrie more than me. A woman seven and a half months pregnant yearns for the opportunity to float weightlessly in the water, her feet unburdened and the baby within in equilibrium with the water without. But I enjoyed the hot tub more than she did because, like a barefoot child in the snow, she could only enjoy it for a minute before having to get out.

Saturday was a day downtown. Got to see guitarists who we’ll later point to and say “oh, everybody likes them now, but we saw them perform on the street way before they were popular. You had to be there.” Bookstores, chocoshoppes, dog treat boutiques, Nepalese Buddha-ware stores, fortune tellers and other salesmen of idolatry and divining, but mostly stores and restaurants offering choices from a local, sustainable, and organic, food industry. Hungry, hungry hipsters.

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s so 2008.” You can take the fake fortune-tellers and the statues of Krishna, but leave the wool tunics, the smoked cooking salts, and the milk from a grass-fed cow shipped from a farm less than 30 minutes away (or at least I imagine it is). I enjoyed mashed potatoes, applesauce, and trout all from local locations without additives. Did I mention jam made by the elves of Lothlorien?

So we ended our night by stopping by a do-it-yourself pottery place and painting letters for our baby’s initials and having them fired in a kiln. Go ahead, drunk nerds who walk by and make fun of us: “We’re painting our initials cuz we’re in love!” You wish you were in here with us. And yes, this implies we know his name. Oh, do we! But you don’t. And why should you? I can’t spoil you all at once.

So that ends our trip. And on Sunday we went to a church where Stanley Tucci’s twin brother makes announcements.

Babymoon accomplished.


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