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Stopover in South during Winter Storm Leon

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Planning to head south to get away from the cold? What happens when the cold beats you there? Winter storm Leon seemed to devastate west to east, north to south. When the only news being reported is about frigid weather, horrific road conditions, and shut-down cities, do you dare continue? Fortunately, Asheville was at least one town in North Carolina on a recent road trip from Louisville where hotels and highways were open; for the most part. The famous Biltmore Mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt is there and has beautiful grounds to visit on a spring day, but are there other things to do in Asheville on a brief, chilly stopover?

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If you head towards the Biltmore, but don’t go as far as the entrance, you’ll come across the Biltmore Village District where 80 shops will surely keep you entertained for a couple of hours. But check the roads first because you may not get there via the Blue Ridge Parkway, unless you want to ski on it. And instead of 80 shops, plan on maybe 20 being opened in winter weather. The others are either ‘CLOSED’ or more politely, ‘CLOSED FOR INVENTORY’. A quick stroll around the quaint, snow-covered town could be quite lovely, but watch for the ice patches! They’ll sneak up on you.

The best discovery was yet to be unveiled as the door to New Morning Gallery was fortunately unlocked. The front entrance opens into the most magnificent maze of rooms covering two floors and 12,500 square feet. The gallery is a showroom for exquisite, hand-crafted items ranging from pottery and woodworking to jewelry and furniture. Each piece is intricately designed by American Artisans. Some of the more unique items include the bacon cooker made out of stoneware, round and oblong wood tables by Sticks painted in whimsical colors and themes, and dispensers with taps for wine with a stone base.

It’s a good thing that New Morning Gallery moved from a one-building showroom years ago to this massive space. It’s the perfect, most enjoyable place to keep warm on a cold day. No doubt, it will be there for 40 more years. So if you have a stopover in Asheville, you’ll know where to go; any time of year.

Thanks, New Morning. Glad you were open. Time to forge south. Any storms on the way?

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