If you read last week's post, WNC Crawl Part One, you'll have seen six of the eleven yarn shops that make up the Western North Carolina Yarn Trail. This week, I cover over the remaining five local yarn shops in the area in addition to some yoga studios and bonus stops along the way to round out your WNC Crawl in the best way possible.
Asheville, home to almost 90,000, has three yarn stores within a quarter mile radius. And yoga? There's a lot of that too! While it'll be hard to narrow down some bonus stops in Asheville (there are so many to choose from), I'll do my best to keep the options varied and unique. One of Asheville's Mottos is, "Keep Asheville Weird," so it shouldn't be too difficult to find some quirky things for you!
Purls Yarn Emporium - LYS #1 (yarn)
Purls Yarn Emporium may not be the oldest kid on the block, but they have definitely made their fiber mark in town. They are, (in my opinion) the LYS with the widest vareity of yarn and notions in downtown Asheville. Purls officially opened shop in 2005 on College Street, and moved to its current location on Wall Street just three years later.
A definite highlight of Purls comes before you even walk in the doors. At certain times of the year, you'll be able to tell that you're closeby from the decorated lamposts (yarn bombing). But that's not all. Purls goes all out in decorating their window displays, which are pretty incredible, and change seasonally. I've seen their windows decked out like Downton Abbey, Star Wars, and Harry Potter - all depicted in scenes with sock monkeys in knit costumes. What Purls says about their yarn displays, "We definitely try to make our windows reflective of the personality of our store: nerdy and welcoming."
Consider me part of the nerdy yarn tribe! Purls sells local, American made, fair trade yarn in addition to luxury brands from around the world. They're pretty much the yarn authority in downtown Asheville. They have all kinds of classes - knit, crochet, sock classes, and yarn dyeing(I learned how to knit at Purls a couple of years ago! Thank you, Marilyn!), as well as community stitch nights (on Sundays , their "Nerd Night" they have movies going while they knit). From their many offerings, it's easy to see their commitment of being a community gathering space for fiber nerds of all kinds!
Asheville Yoga Center - LYS #1 (yoga)
Asheville Yoga Center (AYC) is kinda like the yoga mecca of downtown. Although it seems like there's a studio around every nook and cranny (there's a running joke that, "if you throw a stone in Asheville, you'll hit a yoga teacher"), AYC is like the mothership.
AYC started small. I remember when I first came to visit Asheville - it was one, tiny practice space and a small lobby. Today, AYC has a building with two, large practice spaces, as well as a training facility that also houses a boutique just up the hill. They have an extensive class schedule everyday of the week, and each weekend, there's either a workshop or teacher training going on. But guess what? They don't have a 6am class, so I only get there on special occasions now. (Once you get used to being on sunrise patrol, it's really hard to go to yoga later in the day!)
Asheville Bonus Stop #1
Battery Park Book Exchange is on the list because it is both a personal favorite, and beloved by many. Nicknamed, "The Library" by my dad, Battery Park Book Exchange is a used bookstore, coffee shop, and champagne/wine bar all rolled into one. You can browse their extensive book collection whilst sipping a cappuccino and a indulging in a piece of cake, or order champagne and a cheeseboard to your table and just feel yourself getting more cultured from the ambience.
With family or friends, this place is always an enjoyable spot (and I don't think I've ever even flipped through a book while there!).
Earth Guild - LYS #2 (yarn)
The oldest kid on the block is the Earth Guild - they have been serving the crafting community of Asheville since 1970! I've only been inside one time, but they still have the old school vibe.
If your interests extend beyond yarn for knitting and crochet, this is the stop for you. Earth Guild has tools and materials for: basketweaving, candle making, felting, leatherwork, paper making, dyeing, pottery, rug making, spinning, weaving, and woodworking. In fact, their yarn selection is probably the least encompassing thing about them! If I ever get into spinning, weaving, or dyeing (or any other craft for that matter), Earth Guild will be a source of inspiration for sure.
Violet Owl Wellness - LYS #2 (yoga)
Violet Owl Wellness (VOW) is right in the middle of the yarn trail, and would be a perfect place to pop in for a class in the midst of your fiber crawl. I haven't been to the studio as it is currently named, but the space has been housing yoga for a while, and I had been in when it was Little Volcano Yoga.
There are a couple of things I love about VOW just from peeking at their website. Firstly, they offer sliding scale yoga classes - pay what you can in the price range suggested. Secondly, and really this should be tied with firstly, they have an event coming up called, "Caturday Cat Yoga and Coffee." It is just as you would imagine it to be - a yoga class surrounded by adoptable kittens (followed by coffee)! This event is in collaboration with Furever Friends Animal Rescue and Asheville Cat Weirdos, and sounds right up my alley! Thirdly, (is anyone still reading, or have you already gone to sign up to take this class, or see if one is offered in your area?!) they have a wellness boutique that sells supplements, apothecary, candles, essential oils, color therapy glasses and more. I'm a sucker for boutiques with unique items.
Asheville Bonus Stop #2
Did someone say chocolate? No? Oh, that's just where my mind is a lot of the time. And so, French Broad Chocolate Lounge is high on my list for places to visit in downtown Asheville.
If you're a chocolate lover as much as I can, you can visit the Chocolate Factory, Lounge and Boutique. I've done all three (big surprise). The line to order something at the lounge is often out the door, but it moves quickly so don't let that deter you. All kinds of chocolatey goodness awaits, from truffles to ice cream, to cakes and cookies, to something called "The Mudwrestler" which is a drink (milkshake?) that has local stout beer, a shot of espresso, a mini scoop of ice cream and chocolate sauce all rolled into one.
Of course, they have desserts and drinks for the non-chocolate obsessed as well, so don't feel bad dragging your vanilla friends along. It's soooooooo good.
Asheville NC Home Crafts - LYS #3 (yarn)
Asheville NC Home Crafts is in the historic Grove Arcade, and houses crafts and goods from more than 100 artisans in the area, including hats, quilts, dolls, honey, coffee, and barbeque sauce. Quite the range! They also, of course, sell yarn and notions as well as supplies for felting and hand dyed fibers. Their 'Sit and Knit' is every Friday from 5:30-7pm.
Anjali Hot Yoga - LYS #3 (yoga)
Anjali Hot Yoga had to make the list of yoga in Asheville since it is the place I head to every Monday and Friday (and sometimes Wednesday) morning at 6am! I'll be honest, hot yoga in the winter time is awesome. Hot yoga in the summertime? It's really freaking hot. But it's still a great way to move, start the day, work on strength and flexibility, and be in community, so I still go :). The combination of proximity and teachers make Anjali my 'home' studio, and I look forward to my studio practices every week (despite having to set the alarm for 4:45am).
Fun tidbit: Anjali is the mudra of hands in prayer at heart center, and in Sanskrit, means 'divine offering.' This mudra is often used in greeting as well as in thanks among yoga practitioners, Hindus and Buddhists. (It's also an emoji!)
Asheville Bonus Stop #3
I absolutely have to recommend Zen Tubing as a bonus stop in Asheville, because I am obsessed with their motto, "Get in Touch with Your Inner Tube." The French Broad River runs right through Asheville, making floating on an inner tube the thing to do in the summertime. That being said, I have yet to do the thing. Back in college (Gainesville, FL, Go Gators!), we would often go tubing at Ginny Springs. The springs were the same, 75-degree temperature year-round and in the middle-state Florida heat, there was no better place to be.
While Asheville isn't Florida (despite half of the Florida population vacationing or moving here en masse, self included), it still gets preeetty hot here. Zen Tubing offers a fun and cool activity that I swear I'll partake in someday!
There's no denying that Black Mountain is a mountain town, it's very name suggests it! But with a population around 8,500, and a small downtown with cute shops, art galleries, and restaurants, Black Mountain is like a smaller, quieter, Asheville. And we love it. Asheville can get pretty congested (it's always tourist season, especially since Asheville keeps making it on the "best of" lists around the country), and Black Mountain has a peaceful charm that warrants the 45 minute drive. It also has the best yarn shop, a great yoga studio, and plenty of activities to keep you busy day or night.
Black Mountain Yarn Shop
I've decried my love for Black Mountain Yarn Shop (BMYS) before, but it's worth repeating over and over again - this place is a fiber lover's dream come true. BMYS, has the most enviable (in my opinion) yarn and notions selection on this yarn crawl. Not only that, but they also bring in knitting celebrities for workshops (like Andrea Mowry, who I am going to meet this Friday!) and Stephen West. I'm telling you - I went to sign up for a class at BMYS with Andrea, and within eight minutes of the classes being open for registration, they sold out. Thankfully, I was still able to grab a ticket to the Meet and Greet (she's kind of my knitting idol).
For the official WNC Yarn Crawl, BMYS had a raffle giveaway, trunk shows, a special colorway, festive pins and bags, and on Mother's Day they opened the shop specially for cupcakes and mimosas (and of course, shopping too). My mom and I went there to take part in the festivities, as well as shop for yarn for my Tegna sweater (next on my needles), and I also picked up some Shibui in their sale room. My mom bought me their special Yarn Crawl pin (pic at the top of this post), which has a prominent place on my Fringe Field bag. Donna and Don, the owners, are the nicest, sweetest people, and I love every trip to their shop. If this is the only shop you visit on the crawl, you will not be disappointed. (But go to the others too!)
Black Mountain Yoga Studio
A short trip up the road will bring you to Black Mountain Yoga Studio (they have the same initials as the Black Mountain Yarn Shop!). Also mentioned in a previous post, this yoga studio is fabulous and fun for the whole family. Choose from flow, restorative, gentle, power and therapeutic yoga classes as well as classes suited specifically for: Babies (newborn to pre-crawlers), Tiny Tots (crawling to two years old), Kids (ages 4+), and Tweens/Teens (ages 8+). They've also got workshops, yoga therapy, a sauna, and acupuncture. Your body will thank you for treating it to some Black Mountain Yoga Studio!
Bonus Stop Black Mountain
Since there's much to delight at Black Mountain Yarn Shop, Black Mountain Yoga Studio, and everywhere in between, /why not make it an overnight stay? This bonus stop is a recommendation of a vacation rental property called Kitzuma Cottage. The two bedroom cottage boasts pottery lessons at an adjacent pottery studio, biking from the front door (bikes come with the rental) and hiking a short drive away. Is it weird to want to book a vacation stay in a town that's only 45 minutes away (?) because this place sounds pretty perfect to me!
Morganton is the final destination of our WNC Crawl. Around 17,000 people call Morganton home, and in addition to a yarn shop and yoga studio, they're in the neighborhood of some of the area's best outdoor activities.
O'Suzannah's! Yarn on Union
Though I didn't get out to O'Suzannah's for the WNC Yarn Crawl over Mother's Day weekend, I can tell from their Facebook posts that they had a pretty good time. They held a daily raffle for a door prize and celebrated the name of the winner (and a picture of the prize) with a post each day. I can tell you that four lucky yarn enthusiasts scored big at O'Suzannah's!
Their web presence is mainly through Facebook where they advertize that they have a 'comprehensive supply of yarn, tools and classes for all your fiber needs.' I have yet to go, but as with all of the other shops that I've yet to crawl in the area, I'm bound to get here soon! (And until then, I'll probably have the song stuck in my head...)
Breathe Yoga & Wellness
Breathe Yoga & Wellness is about 'fitness, emotional wellness and specialized health.' From True Beginner Yoga to Ashtanga Led Half-Primary Series and from Kids to Senior Yoga, this studio has it all. They also host special events for the wellness and holistic community such as Yoga for Addiction and Recovery Support, Thai Massage, Yoga on the Greenway (to celebrate National Land Trust Day), and Half-Marathon Training and Yoga Program.
Did you know that we take an average of 26,000 breaths a day? Why not make several thousand of those at Breathe Yoga & Wellness the next time you're in the Morganton area? I will!
Bonus Stop Morganton
This area is known as "Nature's Playground," so play we must! Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, boating, swimming, paddling, camping or horsebacking riding - all are available and easily accessible from Morganton. Do you like waterfalls? Hike to Linville Falls, through Linville Gorge which is considered the Grand Canyon of North Carolina. Perhaps your water affinity is more suited to water activities like boating, swimming, and paddling. If so, then your playground is definitely the 6,812 acre reservoir of Lake James State Park. Or maybe your thing is connecting to nature on two feet, or two wheels. Between Lake James and South Mountains State Parks, there are over 30 miles of mountain biking trails, and more than 40 miles of hiking trails. (There are ample places to pitch your tent if you decide to break up that mileage over the course of several days!)
If all the yarn and yoga and bonus stops on this WNC crawl haven't worn you out yet - then Nature's Playground will try its very best to do so. When you return home after this epic tour of the entire WNC area, having crawled eleven yarn shops, eleven yoga studios, and more than eleven bonus stops, you can rest assured that you have seen, done, and tried some of the very best this area has to offer. Happy Crawling, kiddos!