I’m planning on visiting your town [in July]. Every time I visit somewhere new, I like to follow their quirky, local newspaper for a few months to get a feel for the place. Mountain Xpress appears to give me that local vibe.
I’m just curious about one thing: Am I welcome in your town? Almost daily, I see another jab at “the tourists.” We seem to be the bane of your existence.
You have a strong history of tourism, thanks to your beautiful hills and a new train system in the 1880s. Your town has really thrived on tourism since the 1930s, thanks to the Biltmore opening its doors. At the time, you welcomed tourism to help pull you out of the Great Depression and the debts you had amassed. The outpouring of vitriol for tourism today seems to be quite fresh in your minds. Why all the hate now?
I get it. I’m coming to visit from Vermont. We will do anything to please our tourists. Free maple syrup and Ben & Jerry’s for all! We don’t have to put up with just any tourists, but French Canadian and Bostonian ones. Shiver.
The bottom line is: Your town seems great. It’s a little progressive beacon in the bright red South. I escaped north from West Virginia but miss those hills all the time (don’t tell anyone). I was really hoping to feel like I had found a second home among the hills.
Will I be welcome in your town? Will you offer up some of that famous Southern hospitality or will it be that all-too-familiar Southern hostility?
— Adrienne Fortune