Sometimes renewal comes in the form of earsplitting drums and synthesizer music, a room full of bearded guys drinking Wild Turkey straight out of the bottle, and a terribly unappetizing half-eaten bowl of guacamole.

My trip to Asheville was a 40th birthday present to my friend: a weekend of girl time. It took 10 months to make it happen. But in the end I found a kind of rock star renewal in just being out and about. Without wipes or cheerios in my bag.

Here’s a timeline snapshot of the weekend:

Friday night, 7pm: Zapow gallery, art show opening, Mad Tea on the electric guitars. French Broad brewery dark beer. Free!

Art at Zapow

Friday night, 9:30pm, The Vault. Only admitting one person at a time. Asheville was packed. I had a headache and was hungry.

Friday night, 10pm: OneStop Deli. Locally-raised roast beef sandwich with au jus. And a terrible cocktail. Began quest to find a good cocktail in this beer town.

Friday night, 11pm: “Ice cream,” a two man band, playing a newly opened guitar store. Low ceilings, men in beards, Wild Turkey bottles, the aforementioned disgusting guacamole, and awesome music. My headache went away, and I started to dance.

The duo, Ice Cream

Friday night, 1:30pm: Curled up on a sofa with a dog and fell asleep.

Saturday, 10am: OMG, the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life at The Dripolator. If not a great cocktail town, definitely a coffee town.

Cappuccino from The Dripolator

Saturday, 12pm: Lunch outside at Chai Pani, Indian Street Food. YUM. Charleston has no Indian restaurants with ambiance.

Saturday, 2pm: Shopping, but only buying local. (Justifying my consumerism.) Found a scarf made in Asheville from organic cotton grown in NC. Mmm, soft.

Saturday, 4pm: Nap

Saturday, 5pm: French press coffee on the porch of Ami’s house-cum-folk art-gallery.

Saturday, 6pm: Drinks at the Sky Bar. An amazing view of the sunset over the mountains. And finally, a good cocktail! With cucumber in it, of course.

Sunset at Sky Bar wearing my new scarf

Saturday, 8pm: Another cocktail at a different club, but still with a cucumber.

Saturday, 9pm: Dinner at Cucina 24. Figs, cheese, meat, pasta, radishes. Delicious.

Saturday, 11pm: To bed early on the red pleather sofa.

Sunday, 10am: A hug goodbye, a new playlist on my iPhone, and a beautiful drive home. On my playlist – Mad Tea, Baby Gramps, Jar-e, StephaniesID – and a range of voices reminding me that a dose of mountain magic is sometimes just what a tired mom needs to feel renewed.

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