11.11.2014 - 11.11.2014
What a wonderful way to celebrate my favorite color - bright fall foliage and jamming live music in a famous venue that is...orange.
I purposely visited Asheville during mid-November in order to see the autumn leaves in the brilliant, vibrant shades of marigold, tangerine and crimson. And wow, it was such an amazing treat to walk around the quirky, artsy town in Western North Carolina while admiring the distant Blue Ridge Mountains! The cold weather, the crackling leaves rustling on the ground, the smell of pumpkin-flavored goodies in the downtown shops - I felt grateful to have a real autumn experience.
Yes, the leaves change colors in my hometown of Dallas, too, but it is not the same as what I saw this week in the mountains on the East Coast. What causes the insanely beautiful, warm-hued pigmentation on the leaves in the Asheville area, and how is it different from other parts of the country (and the world)? The town's tourism website has a great article about the science of autumn leaves, as well as gorgeous images of the region from September through November. (Warning: Clicking the weblink may cause the spontaneous urge to listen to John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and to book a hotel & plane ticket for North Carolina. It happened to me, and if you're lucky, it could happen to you, too.)
Speaking of music...and the color orange, merely hours after exploring and zipping (literally) around Asheville, I walked over to The Orange Peel - a famous live music venue in town - to see the band O.A.R. in concert. Of course, the band was great - plenty of upbeat, crowd-favorite songs that stretched into extended jam sessions.
But let me tell you about the opening act, singer-songwriter Andy Grammer. Think Jason Mraz's sound, meets Howie Day's one-man band talent with a looping pedal, meets Matt Nathanson's humor...and Justin Timberlake's beat-box skills. Yes, quite a combination. I was a little unsure at first, but I ended up being impressed by his musicianship (again, one person layering guitar, drums, piano & vocals) and how he engaged the crowd. I liked the songs "Back Home" and "Sinner". And the icing on the cake: The closing song was a cover of Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars". And I got to experience all of this in an orange room, and then walk back to my hotel afterwards amongst Asheville's lovely orange trees.