Back in October, there was a landslide that closed I-40 about 2 miles from the North Carolina/Tennessee border. Asheville, NC, which isn't too far from that border, has suffered economically as a result. Business and tourism comes down from the Gatlinburg/Johnson City, TN area. Right now, traffic from that area has to make a 50 mile detour around the landslide.
I-40 is still completely closed. Right now they are estimating May before it opens.
During a recent visit to Asheville, I was told by several business people that their businesses have suffered greatly and they aren't sure if they will be able to hang on if I-40 doesn't open soon. The "reopening" has been delayed at least twice. (I understand part of the problem is that they have to stabilize slopes near the highway, and that this part of North Carolina in general can be prone to landslides. In fact, they had a partial road closing due to a landslide in the 72 hours we were there.)
One of these businesses was the Moose Cafe near the Western North Carolina Farmers Market. I can declare that this cafe makes the best biscuits I have ever eaten. My "inner southerner" is still crying out for more.
Another business...well, actually businesses, were located within the Farmers Market itself. I'd like to post some photos of just how wonderful this indoor market it. The two days we visited, it was almost empty, so we had a good chance to talk to some of the vendors. And, take some photos.
I think, next to the Pikes Place Market in Seattle (which I visited in 1979), this was the nicest farmers market I had ever been in - and it wasn't even the growing season! We did buy some local products: white sweet potatoes, which were proudly served to relatives at an Easter dinner, local wine, and several kinds of dried beans.
If you are a fan of wonderful farmers markets-you owe this one a visit. Help save this Asheville institution!
In a future post....more on Asheville.