And what are they doing here?

Chain saw created crow

44 Cherry Street: A fictional account of real life (and imaginary) happenings in Black Mountain. Find previous episodes on my website.

Susan was excited about renting an apartment in the newly renovated building at 44 Cherry Street. She decided to fly out from LA to begin decorating the new place. She was going to use the apartment as her pied a terre so when she came to visit her old friend Stephanie, she would have her own place to stay. 

Wonderful cupboard painted blue

She landed in Asheville on Wednesday and met Stephanie at Chifferobe. She wanted to try some of the wonderful restaurants she had heard about in Black Mountain, so they decided to eat dinner out that night. Black Mountain was a well-kept secret for a long time, much to the chagrin of local merchants, but something happened during the pandemic, and suddenly Black Mountain has become a booming tourist attraction. This, of course is great news for local businesses, but along with the growth have come growing pains. The first of which is traffic. In the afternoon the traffic going up Broadway Street to the light stretches down across the railroad tracks. Parking has always been tricky, but now it has become impossible. 

Handmade pottery lanterns by Leonora Willet

The other effect of Black Mountain’s popularity is that the restaurants are short-staffed, and getting a table is a nightmare. Even Wendy’s had to shut down for a while because of problems finding staff, and The Clean Plate is struggling to find enough help to open their dining room. Pepperoni’s Pizza has been reduced to take-out only. 

Small Horse Lamp

Susan and Stephanie couldn’t get a reservation at Milton’s until too late. They were dying to eat there since the new chefs at the restaurant had made major changes in the menu and the food is now fabulous. Trailhead is closed on Wednesdays. The Black Mountain Brewery was packed. They tried to get in to Black Mountain Kitchen, but there was a ridiculous wait, and neither woman is good at waiting. Finally they found a table at the Grocery in Cheshire, sank into seats and ordered drinks and small plates. It was a beautiful cool evening and they totally enjoyed themselves as one drink followed another. (Rumor has it that the chef there quit later that night.)

Large 19th Century overshot blanket

The next morning they went up to Tyson’s to get some big pieces of furniture. Susan selected a beautiful grey couch, a bed, and a small table and chairs for the dining area. Stephanie was concerned as the total she was to pay mounted up. Could Susan afford to buy so much stuff at one time?  Furniture is not cheap!

After the order had been written, the two women approached the cashier. Susan reached towards the cashier with her credit card, but the woman shook her head. “That won’t be necessary,” she said.

What was going on?

Very small antique cupboard

“Some gentlemen who were in here earlier said they would cover the expense of your purchases,” said the clerk casually, as if this sort of thing happened every day.”

Susan just shrugged. “Fine…thanks.”

Stephanie suddenly remembered that when she and Susan lived in New York, strange men would pick up their tab at fancy restaurants where the two ate lunch. That Susan! She might be in her seventies, but she still had it! It was a charisma that Susan could bottle.

Handmade ceramic flasks and planters