Beer City or Lit City, USA?
I recently returned from Asheville, North Carolina, a quiet urban landscape nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and home to some of the nation’s best breweries. I visited nearly all of them, and also flipped through the first issue of Black Mountain Review (1954-57) at the Black Mountain College Museum. That’s an Instagram of it above.
It seems Catherine Campbell just returned from Asheville, too, with a new post at the Ploughshares blog about the city for the journal’s “Literary Boroughs” series:
Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward, Angel, is Asheville’s literary hero. The writer’s childhood home, the Old Kentucky Home boarding house, still stands downtown and the Wolfe Memorial Visitor Center is located behind it at 52 North Market Street.
F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald vacationed here. Zelda frequently visited the area over twelve years until her tragic death in the Highland Hospital fire in 1948.
The city and outlying area have been home and inspiration to numerous authors, including: the Fitzgeralds, Charles Frazier, Wilma Dykeman, Carl Sandburg, Ron Rash, Sarah Addison Allen, Fred Chappell, Elizabeth Kostova, Robert Creely, Russell Edson, Stephanie Perkins, Cynn Chadwick, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Keith Flynn, Wiley Cash, Gail Godwin, Wayne Caldwell, Mark de Castrique, and Robert Morgan. O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) is buried at Riverside Cemetery.
Wolfe’s Old Kentucky Home—renamed Dixieland in the novel—is downtown, a plaster cast of his shoes outside. And a plaque about O’Henry is laid into the sidewalk just a few blocks away, down the street from The Thirsty Monk, one of the best beer bars in the country.
Read Campbell’s own non-alcoholic literary overview of Asheville over at the Ploughares Blog.