Heralded by Cycle World, American Motorcyclist, and comedian Jay Leno, the Wheels Through Time Museum recently picked up even more exposure on an episode of History Channel's American Pickers. In "The Belly Dance," hosts Mike and Frank come to the museum in need—they've found a rare belly-tank racer, but unless they can get it to run, the find will have cost them more money than it's worth.
That's where museum founder and curator Dale Walksler, automotive enthusiast par excellence, comes in. In 1993, Walksler invited crowds and fellow bike buffs to join in the astonishing details of his obsession: more than 300 rare and historical classic motorcycles amid a collection of tens of thousands of related artifacts. Free from the ghosts of vengeful traffic cops, the double-decker garage resembles a fever-dream cycle showroom gleaming with vintage and contemporary models by Harley Davidson, Indian, and Excelsior, and one-of-a-kind machines that include the handsome Traub. The ahead-of-its-time machine was discovered bricked up inside a Chicago wall in 1967, built by a brilliant designer who apparently never built another bike before or after. Despite dating back to the 1910s, nearly all of the machines can still run—often zooming straight through the 40,000-square-foot museum floor¬—and lecture passersby on four-way intersection etiquette.
The clopping of hooves echoes across Winding Creek Stables’ wide-open pastures and jumping arena, where a staff of ex-competitive equestrians takes a comprehensive approach to riding instruction. In private and group lessons, instructors share their wisdom about handling and technique while impressing upon students the importance of respecting their steeds. Adults and children alike can pick between the hunt-seat riding style popular at horse shows and the western style, which includes instructions for chasing down robber barons and lassoing feral cacti. Students learn to groom and care for their horses before and after the lesson—a gesture of respect to the animals and a key takeaway should novices desire to advance to competitive riding. Before riding off into the sunset, check out the stable’s other horse-related services, which include pony parties and pony rides.
Since 1976, area merchants and knowledgeable experts from around the country have gathered to swap ideas, inspiration, and advice at the Western North Carolina Home Show. Throughout the Asheville Civic Center, hundreds of local businesses and experts set up booths where they explain the nuts and bolts of their industry, whether landscaping, interior decoration, window installation, or furniture crafting. Meanwhile, speakers present seminars on a wide variety of topics throughout the weekend-long extravaganza, from hyperpractical subjects, such as setting a budget, to more abstract topics, such as the definition and history of green building. Visitors to the show depart with rekindled enthusiasm for projects, as well as an arsenal of facts that give them an edge when vetting contractors or performing standup at interior-design conferences.
Fully restored to its original 1938 splendor as a Woolworth's luncheonette, The Soda Fountain whips up nostalgic noshables amid the converted confines of a historic department store turned art gallery. Classic sandwiches build the bulk of the menu, offering timeless tastes such as the Woolworth's BLT ($4.95), fried bologna ($4.75), and corned-beef Reuben ($5.95). Grillaholics can opt for a veggie dog ($2.95) or a freshly charred beef frank ($2.95), while those who prefer their meals to remain name-less can spoon on the anonymously appetizing homemade soup of the day ($2.95). Fountain fanatics can further indulge their inner child with old-fashioned desserts made from hand-dipped ice cream, including banana splits ($5.50), creamy malts and shakes ($3.95), fizzy ice-cream sodas ($3.50), or a red-cow ice-cream float, brewed with classic Cheerwine soda ($3.50).
Asheville changed drastically in the half-century following 1880. Railroad workers broke through the Appalachian Mountains' natural barrier and connected the city to the world, forever changing its culture and social zeitgeist. Though decades have passed, Brenda Seright Williams still feels the impact of this period, and the tour guide isn't content to let it fade into history. As it says on her website, she believes "the study of those who came before can inspire us to stretch our own limits."
Her Urban Trail walking tours not only explore the 19th century’s Gilded Age but also tiptoe through four other time periods, including the Frontier Period and the Age of String Cheese. Alternatively, Brenda shifts the spotlight to Asheville's pivotal female figures during the aptly named Herstory tours. However, neither of these excursions are cookie-cutter adventures. To weave her stories, Brenda has conducted more than 100 interviews and spent countless hours researching minute details and the correct pronunciation of the word "pioneer."
Alexandra Tait is a Level 2 professional Archery Instructor with USA Archery, has been certified by radKIDS–a children's safety and empowerment organization–and also has over 20 years of experience as a wilderness guide and holistic health and transformation practitioner. She opened an archery academy, named after and inspired by the ancient Greek moon goddess Artemis, and there she teaches traditional archery lessons and leads a women's group that introduces participants to survival skills.