Thomas Wolfe home in Asheville, North Carolina.
I am going on a little trip to Asheville, North Carolina. It is a cozy town in the Blue Ridge Mountains full of arts and food and shops and a castle. Or what passes for a castle in America: The Biltmore Estate, the enormous home built in the late 1800s by George Vanderbilt II, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. It has something like 250 rooms and acres upon acres of farms, gardens and vineyards.
But I am not going there this time.
I am just going to poke around the shops and galleries and, you know me, a couple of bookstores. It will be nice to be in the cool mountains for a couple of days.
Also on my agenda is a visit to the home of Thomas Wolfe which is located just a few blocks from my hotel. I have visited it before. At that time it stood as the original boarding house (oddly enough named Old Kentucky Home) that Mr. Wolfe lived in when he was a young man and used for the setting of his novel Look Homeward, Angel. The structure standing today is pretty much a replica as the actual house and many of its original artifacts were extensively damaged by fire (arson) in the late 1990s.
I know I should be taking a copy of Mr. Wolfe's book but I am not. Instead I will pack my Kindle (I am currently reading Agatha Christie's A Body in the Library) and one hardcover book: The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. I bought and read this book when it first came out in 2002. It not only takes on travel - why we go places and yet are likely to be disappointed once we arrive - but art, biography, history, architecture, and philosophy. Heady stuff. I look forward to reading it again. I like that it has pictures of many of the paintings and places that Mr. de Botton discusses.
I do believe it will be the perfect traveling companion.