|The Jimmy Dorsey Band|
Pursuant to our newly set travel aspiration theme of dance travel, this past weekend we hopped in the car for a long weekend trip to Asheville, North Carolina. Every January, the swanky Omni Grove Park Inn holds a big band dance weekend in their ballroom. A few of our fellow dancers from the Arthur Murray studio in Alpharetta have gone in years past and we put together a nice little group occupying two tables.
The event spanned both Friday and Saturday nights with different bands each night. Both were of the "big band" variety with plenty of brass and sultry vocals. The Saturday night band was the Jimmy Dorsey band (we assume their provenance is solid), and they played all the great expected tunes like "In The Mood", "Moonlight Serenade", "Sentimental Journey", and plenty more. Especially memorable (though not exactly danceable) was their rendition of "Sing-Sing" showing off their drummer. Dancing styles were mostly foxtrot and swing, with a few cha-cha's and waltzes thrown in.
The Grove Park Inn is likely Asheville's most picturesque building, which is saying a lot in this beautiful corner of the world that has long attracted the wealthy from the northeast (like the Vanderbilts, who built the nearby Biltmore Mansion). Nestled in the Smoky Mountain area of the Appalachians, the century-old Grove Park Inn is situated on the side of a westward-facing slope. The sunsets, best viewed from their back porch, are spectacular. This grand old hotel and spa has been visited by countless dignitaries, including Presidents, a fact they show off with interesting photo displays and placards.
|Sunset from the Grove Park's Westward Porch|
|One of Grove Park's Huge Fireplaces|
If you've never been to Asheville, it's worth consideration. The centerpiece of an Asheville visit is Biltmore Mansion and the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but the compact (though hilly) downtown with its artsy/funky shops, bars, and restaurants will keep you amused for a couple of days. If you happen to come through during North Carolina's short ski season, you can also hit the slopes 30 minutes west at the Cataloochee Ski Area.