Obamas visit Asheville

Air Force One touched down at the Asheville Airport shortly after 1 p.m. on April 23, bringing President Obama and First Lady Michelle to town for a weekend vacation.

Before checking in at the Grove Park Inn, where they would spend the next two nights, the first couple went to 12 Bones Smokehouse for a lunch of ribs, mac-n-cheese, corn pudding and sweet tea. As he did when he was last at the restaurant in October of 2008, Obama mingled and posed for photos with local patrons.

One of them was musician Angi West.

"They just seemed happy to be eating lunch, hanging out, meeting people," West says. "They were so gracious. I went up and hugged Barack. And then Michelle walked up and was like, 'Come here,' and I was like 'OK!'"

Over the course of the weekend, the Obamas also went hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway, played golf (Michelle opted for tennis), took a private tour of the Biltmore House, ate dinner at the Corner Kitchen and visited the Rev. Billy Graham at his home in Montreat.

Accounts seem to indicate they had a good time.

In a video of the Obamas at 12 Bones posted to YouTube by Pattiy Torno, the President can be heard saying, "I love Asheville."  And in an Ashevegas blog post, Lisa Manning says that as the First Lady was leaving the Corner Kitchen, she said they love Asheville and are "even looking at houses."

Obama arrives: Pres. Barack Obama arrived in Asheville on Friday, April 23, amid a flurry of anticipation — and black SUVs and helicopters cruising the area and Secret Service agents standing watch. Photos by Jonathan Welch

Obama has landed: Pres. Barack Obama arrived in Asheville on Friday, April 23, amid a flurry of anticipation — and black SUVs and helicopters cruising the area.

President Obama at 12 Bones with Pam Wellman, Matt Shepard and Angi West. Photo courtesy of Michael Files.
About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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