Even in the ’70s, when there was no talk of a cosmic vortex in Asheville, the North Carolina mountains were a magnet for the young, the artistic and the rugged. They hosted hundreds of hippies who didn’t panhandle or go shoeless, but who farmed a dozen acres, drank from the spring and heated with wood. The goal was to live a holistic existence, a lifestyle that was green and sustainable. These back-to-landers bonded with natives who shared mountain folklore, music, dance and love of the outdoors with them. Dan and Nancy were among them.
Then, as now and before, a large percentage of people lived an artistic life. Dan and Nancy’s friends made wind chimes, woodcarvings and pottery. Asheville was a town full of characters and iconoclasts. In that respect it has changed little.
Then, as now and before, Asheville was also a magnet for the well-to-do, mostly in the form of former Floridians in search of three more seasons. Transplants gave Asheville a cosmopolitan feel that was lacking in the rural areas. They demanded more cultural and medical options than a town this size would normally provide, and the result was what one writer in the 1800s presciently called the Paris of the South. The current influx of retirees and professionals has fueled the trend toward a more colorful and diverse cultural scene.