Asheville’s much-touted charm and mystique failed to impress social-media generalist David Landsel, who included 28801 in his April 8 Huffington Post travel polemic, “10 Terribly Overrated Destinations.”
As a caption to an image of a forlorn Carolina Lane, Landsel described the city as “packed with urban escapees chasing the past — driving up prices any higher than they've a right to go, out here in the middle of nowhere — this traffic-choked mountain town has degenerated into the worst kind of tourist trap: One that won't admit it.” The slouched brick and gouged pavement of the alley illustrates the itinerant columnist’s impressions of the city, which he rejected with a sighing “Next” after enduring repeated disappointments as a visitor.
Many citizen readers in turn dismissed his characterizations as sour grapes, or worse, the misperceptions of a dilettante; others seemed to agree that “this physically and emotionally fragmented mountain town full of people who seem really annoyed by everything — including your presence here — is no fun anymore.”
What do you think? Are you emotionally fragmented?
Well at least they said our food was fine? One person's opinion does not a town make. — Tom
I respectfully disagree with the author's take on our great city. Asheville is a mecca for those who want to "live and let live." It has a thriving and rich arts community; the desire to live greener and more sustainable lives is ever present here in the people. The food is local, fresh, tasty and affordable. Families find that they have an array of outdoor and indoor activities for themselves and their children to choose from.
No beaches here, that's granted, but Lake Lure and Chimney Rock are nearby as well as other rivers, lakes, parks and nature trails. I'm proud to be raising my daughter here after living in Nashville, then Knoxville for years. The traffic is the same as any other place of beauty, which serves only as a testament to its appeal. The city enchanted me with its charm, and I feel that this article has misrepresented the true spirit of Asheville. — Ketty
I would have to agree in someway with this blog. My job moved me here, and I love the city itself, but the cost of living REALLY sucks. We ended up buying a house in Mars Hill because of our budget and quality of the home. I wish I could be one of those jobless people sitting at the bar right now on this beautiful sunny day. — Laura
I bet the person here in Charleston, S.C., that gets paid a ton of cash to get us on every one of the "good" Top Ten lists sabotaged y’all. — mat catastrophe
We brought that label upon ourselves by collaborating with every single travel mag and kowtowing to the Avett Brothers and similar Pollyanna noveau bottom feeders.
And you're pissed off now? If only there were an Asheville version of the Nuremberg Trials.
Congrats, Asheville. When you tell all your social media "friends" about your favorite fishing hole, well, guess what happens. Gentrification. — boatrocker
Asheville counts on tourist dollars and positions itself as a destination city and therefore will be looked at on that basis and on that basis I agree that we fail. I live here. I like a lot about this place. But if I was trying to figure out where to go for fun, joy, an amazing experience, I can think of a lot of places I would go first.
Driving and parking downtown is worse than any place I've lived and worked, and that includes San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis — and we're supposed to be a destination city? A huge part of this city is dedicated to the ugliest possible landscape we could figure out (hello, Patton Avenue and Tunnel Road). On the merits of being a great vacation spot, we do indeed suck. — Jeannie
If we suck as a vacation spot, why are we a tourist town? Do people in Atlanta, Charlotte, Florida, Michigan, New York, and D.C. just have low standards? (By the way, I used to work in hotels. Those were the top places people were coming from.) — hauntedheadnc
I think the criticism is a little harsh, but not without some validity. Yes, the food overall is pretty good, although when compared to other metropolitan areas, it does not rise to the top. Prices are too high for pretty much everything, most notably property.
While there is a vibrant arts scene, which is great, there are also a lot of untalented hacks too. The number of pan-handlers seems to grow by the week, taking the fun out of meandering downtown.
But in spite of some legitimate negatives, Asheville does have a very unique atmosphere, not found anywhere else. Plus, the generally progressive political sentiment of the city (City Council faux progressives excepted) is a main attraction for many of us. — Dionysis
The only reason Asheville is "overrated" is that it promotes itself far more loudly than a very small city would be expected to. Expectations are raised far higher for anything short of NYC to meet.
As for parking and walking downtown, I too was frustrated at first, until I learned not to even try for street parking and go straight to the parking decks, which provide cheap, easy access to walkable downtown, which is the biggest asset Asheville has (or at least should). The fat-assed tourists who want to pull up and park at the front door of everything should stay out of Asheville, for their sake and ours. — Big Al
Sounds like the H.P. writer's brain might be half empty. We have traffic jams? Compared to what, the Arctic? I like to tell the story of how I was stuck in traffic on I-240 one day for the better part of five minutes but simply gazed upon the beauty of the distant mountains. — Alan Ostmann
It may be an attempt to spare Asheville the influx of Canadian and Floridian vehicles. — Heather Moore
Maybe they will all go somewhere else. BTE take the people who moved here with you. — M. Michael Hyatt
Asheville is a terrible place to live. I can't wait to get out. — Greg Lewis
Greg if you need a ride to the bus station I'd be happy to give you a ride. :) — Der Zeitgeist Geistreich
It sure sounds to me like David did not have a very good guide, or receive very good advice on how to enjoy our "physically and emotionally fragmented mountain town."
If you did not enjoy your stay, or the traffic, maybe you should just stay away. Those of us who live here love it here. I would bet that if he were to come and stay with us, he could see the "real" Asheville and would likely have a much different opinion to share. Sounds pretty clear to me that Mr. Landsel is exactly the type of tourist that no-one wants here, anyway. — Dave Whitehead
I agree with you, Dave! we try to make it that way AT LEAST twice a year ... love it there! — Megan Callihan Barrett