CLASSIC STREETSCAPE: Vermont Avenue features a traditional, family-friendly style just steps from the Haywood Road commercial corridor. Residents of the neighborhood took their concerns about preserving its character to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Nov. 1. Photo by Carolyn Morrisroe

Neighborho­od battles against business intrusion

Homeowners on Vermont Avenue in West Asheville see their neighborhood as a quiet, special residential pocket of the city — and they intend to keep it that way. Residents implored the Planning and Zoning Commission to stop a property owner from opening an art gallery in a house on the street. That issued tied into a discussion of short-term rentals and whether Asheville wants tourists “in every nook and cranny.”

IN THE BEGINNING: Reputed to be the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad has gone from a polluted industrial dumping ground to a key cog in Western North Carolina’s outdoor and tourism industries. This renaissance is a result of government, nonprofit, and individual efforts to improve water quality throughout the watershed. Photo by Mike Belleme; courtesy of Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

Communitie­s along Upper French Broad work to restore water quality

In this two-part series, Xpress invites you on a guided a trip down the river as we examine the work of various communities to write the next chapter in the French Broad’s history, beginning with Transylvania and Henderson counties.

LIVING THE DREAM: “It’s a wonderful thing to wake up and stand in your underwear overlooking the mountains,” says van-lifer “Mr. Wolf,” embracing the great outdoors beside his van on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Hokey Pokey

Van life: What happens when the road leads to Asheville?

Rising housing costs, a longing for travel, the opportunity to leverage technology to work remotely: It’s not any one trend alone that’s driving a resurgence of interest in life on the road. Our correspondent looks at the van life phenomenon through the lens of its connections to Asheville and Western North Carolina.