For some years, my husband and I have been fortunate to own homes in both Sarasota, Fla., where we worked, and a vacation home here in Asheville.
After we both retired three years ago, we had to downsize to one home.
It was a tough choice, but we both said that Sarasota had lost the one thing that drew us there to begin with: its funkiness. The little beach cottages were bought and replaced with gated high-rise condos along with the expensive restaurants and high-end specialty shops. Noise ordinances soon followed, stifling music venues. For us it lost its soul, and it lost us to become residents of Asheville.
Now déjà vu: It’s happening all over again!
Asheville is also losing the funk and soul that we thought our hippy hearts would enjoy the rest of our lives.
Gone are Bele Chere, Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, Goombay and affordable living for the 99 percent of us.
Just this week we received a postcard from Biltmore Estate informing us they will no longer allow outside food and beverages brought in to their Live After Five concert series on the lawn at Antler Hill Village, which was so much fun for families bringing kids, dogs and picnic baskets (with our own wine). All must be now purchased on site from Biltmore vendors.
This is another stake in the heart for Asheville families trying to find fun on limited budgets.
What is next to go: Downtown After 5, the Drum Circle at Pritchard Park, buskers? That would be my prediction for a city that is being molded to cater to the privileged 1 percent. The energy and soul of this city has shifted, and sadly it no longer feels like home.