This past weekend, I met up with one of my best friends in Asheville, North Carolina. With me in Nashville and Megan in Durham, Asheville seemed like the perfect place for a weekend getaway between our cities. Neither Megan or I had ever been to Asheville, and while we had heard wonderful things about the gorgeous mountains and charming downtown area, we had no idea Asheville is also a book lover’s mecca.

Like me, Meg is a total book nerd—and a publicist at the wonderful Algonquin Books—so I could not have asked for a better partner in crime. She was happy to indulge me with a visit to Battery Park Book Exchange, an amazing used bookstore that encourages you to enjoy a glass of wine while you browse (pretty much my idea of heaven). We checked out Malaprop’s, a great local bookstore where Meg sends her Algonquin authors on tour, and we loved their giant “staff picks” section—something I think all bookstores should have.

But we didn’t stop there. Thomas Wolfe, author of the American classics Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again, was born and raised in Asheville, and his mother’s gorgeous boarding house is now a memorial to the author and his work.

For the bargain price of $1/person, we got a guided tour of the house, watched a 20-minute film about Wolfe’s life and wandered through an exhibition recreating the many places Wolfe lived over the course of his career. It was such a fun way to spend an afternoon, and we walked away knowing so much more about the author—and his wonderful hometown.

Don’t worry, we engaged in some low brow activity, too, with lots of shopping, wine drinking and sampling of local (delicious) cuisine, but we were thrilled to discover all that Asheville has to offer the bibliophile. And now, of course, we're looking forward to planning our next visit.

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