Monday, November 30, 2009

North Carolina Arboretum

A cool Saturday afternoon, crisp wind, bare trees, no crowds..... An enjoyable visit to the North Carolina Arboretum even though the buildings were closed for the holiday weekend.

The entrance gates to the Bonsai Garden - closed for the day but beautiful in its design.

One of several architectural pieces in the garden - roof, seating, shade and orientation to the surrounding gardens.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Asheville Christmas Parade

The Asheville Christmas parade took place last weekend. Marching bands, beauty queens on convertibles, dancing troupes and the usual christmas themes. However, this city had several "different" themes in their christmas parade. After all, this is Asheville, the same city that has the LAAF festival and the "just because it's Asheville" celebration. The crowd enjoyed it all....
One of the many dance groups who performed in the parade.

This group is from the Shakespeare actors who perform in a local park several times a year.

This group of llamas provided an interesting feature for the parade.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Basilica of Saint Lawrence

The Basilica of Saint Lawrence in downtown Asheville celebrates its centennial this year, 2009 AD. There are approximately 54 basilicas in the USA but Saint Lawrence is very original in its design. Rafael Guastavino (1842-1908) came to Asheville from Barcelona to work on the Biltmore House and subsequently designed the basilica. The elliptical roof is self-supporting and utilizes an ancient method of thin layers of tile and mortar that was revived by Guastavino in Catalunya. Guastavino died before construction was completed and his body is interred in the Chapel of Our Lady to the left of the main altar.

The bell tower to the left of the main entry showing the brick masonry, copper dome and statues.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pack Square Park

Pack Square Park is the new, improved public urban gathering place for the citizens of Asheville located in front of City Hall and the County Courthouse. The land for this park was donated in 1901 and construction for this vision was begun in 2005. Construction is still underway but this section is now complete and is a welcome addition to Asheville. For more information on the history of Pack square see
A view looking west showing the fountain, green and the Vance Monument obelisk at the edge of the park on Biltmore Avenue.

A close-up view of the tilework on the wall; notice the tiles in the pavement also.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Urban Art

Interstate highways present two very different views to drivers. The speeding car on the roadway above the city, oblivious to the landscape below, and the street traffic that navigates the "canyon" below. Asheville artists have transformed this underpass to a work of art. During the summer months the street is closed and a stage is erected for musical performances when all may enjoy this exceptional art.
The highway support structure opposite the one above showing the variety of art displayed.

A close-up view of the view above.