WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS: The third shift varies in start time and duration, depending upon the profession. Nurses at Mission Hospital, for example, clock in at 6:38 p.m. and clock out at 7:08 a.m. Meanwhile night auditors at motels and inns typically begin at 11 p.m. and conclude between 7 and 8 a.m. Others, however, dabble in both worlds, blurring either the second and third shift or the third and first shift. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Shedding light on Asheville’s third shift

Third shift can be challenging to acclimate to — whether it’s learning to sleep during the day, finding a healthy work-family balance or forgoing the social components that are more readily available to those who work traditional hours. But as those who spoke with Xpress note, it has its perks, too. Along with empty streets and a less harried work pace, workers tend to come across colorful personalities at night.

MOUNTAIN MAJESTY: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beloved and most visited sites in the National Park System, attracting millions of visitors and tourist dollars to the region each year. Its creation was the result of over a decade of legislative wrangling, relentless promotion and fundraising, and the tireless efforts of WNC residents such as George Masa, a Japanese immigrant who helped introduce the Smokies to the American people through his photography. Photo via North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville

George Masa and the birth of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

“These efforts really are about protecting places for all Americans and for future generations,” notes Brent Martin of The Wilderness Society. The leaders of the national parks movement, he maintains, “all saw a much bigger picture, not only for all human beings, but for all living things.”

APPROACHABLE ART: This vegan, gluten-free sweet potato and mushroom manicotti is among the elegant-but-not-intimidating items on Chef James Lumley's menu at Vue 1913.  Photo by Cindy Kunst

Post-tablecloth dining at Vue 1913

It is a crystal-clear day when I take my seat in the dining room at Grove Park Inn’s new Vue 1913, a more casual take on farm-to-table dining than the venue’s previous installment, Horizons. I’ve come here for a chef’s tasting, and the fact that the inn even has a chef’s tasting is a good sign that, despite having a burger on the menu, there might be a little more fine dining going on here than meets the eye.