We scouted the location, it looked up to our standards (of which we were still refining). Not too close to the police station, out of the school zone, no sidewalks, some scattered street lights, no dogs barking at invaders. As we discussed our plans, trying to be stealth, a dude from the house we picked yelled down to us, “nice solar panel setup!” and he invited us in. He and his roommate cheered us on before we continued on our way to the bar/ “private club”.
North Carolina’s bars are fancier than that, they’re technically called “private clubs” – members only. Membership fees cost $1 and if you refuse to become a member, you must find yourself a nice member to sign you in as a guest.
– NCGS 18B- 1000(5) states, “A private club is an establishment that is organized and operated solely for a social, recreational, patriotic, or fraternal purpose and that is not open to the general public, but is open only to the members of the organization and their bona fide guests.” – Mountain Xpress
The chatty bartender took great care of us after learning about our chosen homelessness. We also met an older Michigan man who played ping pong with us for hours, explaining vortexes (Asheville has a lot, apparently) and how he came to this town.
Between stays in Asheville, we spent time at an incredible 67-acre farm and artist residency called Snaggy Mountain (where I also fell ill for a few days). It was full of musicians, eager to break into spontaneous jams at any hour of the day or night. Laid back, in-tune, curious and intentional creatures full of smiles and ripe for late night “cornbread and butterbean” jamming. Instruments, pulled off the walls and taken into their arms as the moon rose over the mountains, and connections encouraged through this music that could not be ignored. An open home, one for old friends, travelers, musicians and WWOOFers.