Since being named the “new freak capital of the U.S.” by Rolling Stone 14 years ago, Asheville has arguably only gotten weirder. And on Sept. 1, Travel + Leisure Magazine further burnished the town’s eccentric credentials, naming Asheville the No. 1 “Quirky Town” in America.
“Is it the thinner mountain air or that the locals are standing too close to a vortex? Either way, these North Carolinians are tops for eccentricity thanks to both old and new charms: the vortex-laden terrain, which purports to send off good energy; the Friday night drum circle in downtown’s Pritchard Park; and the seemingly bottomless love of local beer,” the influential travel magazine reports. It goes on to recommend that visitors sample the beer-and-moonshine “hop tails” at the Grove Park Inn, “the BRÖÖ shampoo at the Earth Fare shop, or the port cake at Short Street Cakes.”
The magazine also quotes local wild food scout Alan Muskat as saying, “Asheville sits smack in the middle of the most biodiverse temperate bioregion on the planet. …So even our plants are freaky.”
Following Asheville on the list of quirky towns are Provincetown, Mass. and Ithaca, N.Y.