After driving around for a while and looking at the town, we headed out to the Botanical Gardens, located some distance from the center near the UNC Asheville campus. The Botanical Gardens, maintained not by the city but by a private society, specialize in trees and plants that are native to the area.
The gardens occupy a wooded hillside and the valley of a pretty little stream, and include a couple of walking trails, one of them leading past an authentic "dog-trot" mountain cabin. A passage that suburbanites like us might call a breezeway rather than a dog-trot runs from front to back, completely separating the rooms on both sides.
We spent a couple of happy hours walking around. Many flowers whose season had already passed at lower altitudes were still in bloom here. The setting was kept as natural as possible, perfect for wildflowers.
After that we spent another hour or so sitting on a deck overlooking a bird feeder. We saw chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, cardinals, a downy and a red-bellied woodpecker, mourning doves, and (no surprise) Carolina wrens. We also saw a bird we didn't know, about the size of a robin, with a black head, breast, and (short) bill, russet shoulders, a white belly, and wings and tail that were black with some white bits. As far as I can now make out from the Sibley guide, this was probably an eastern towhee. Alas, no bird pictures -- we weren't close enough for that.
This section last updated 12-13-2004