Local Life and Lore in Asheville
By: Marla Hardee Milling
TERMS & TRADITIONS
Tipping the Weatherman
There's a long running joke in Asheville that Bob Ingle must be paying the weatherman. That's because at the first mention of snow, the shelves of Ingles Grocery Stores will soon be depleted of bread and milk. Ingle opened his first store in Asheville in 1963 and there are now about 200 stores in six southeastern states.
People who move to Asheville from other regions, especially the northeast, are amazed and critical when a small accumulation of snow closes local schools for the day. Locals know, however, how quickly the roads ice up and how dangerous it is to try to navigate black ice on twisting mountain roads.
A Rose By Any Other Name
The township of Leicester seems to be the constant victim of a pronunciation problem. People who don't know better mistakenly say "LEE-ces-ter." The correct pronunciation is "LESS-ter." The town, originally known as Turkey Creek, was renamed Leicester in 1859 for Leicester Chapman. His father was a captain under the Earl of Leicester and stationed in Wales. The English pronunciation of "Lester" is how he said his name.
Pisgah and the Rat
One of the peaks most easily recognized in the mountains surrounding Asheville is Mount Pisgah, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Residents will talk about Pisgah in connection with "the rat." This refers to an adjacent peak whose shape resembles a rodent seemingly inching its way toward Mount Pisgah. The 339-foot transmitter tower for Asheville TV station WLOS is located atop Pisgah. And, another pronunciation clarification: those who don’t know sometimes say "PISS-gah." The correct way is "PIZ-gah." George Vanderbilt, creator of Asheville’s Biltmore Estate, once owned Mount Pisgah and the surrounding land. It now part of the Pisgah National Forest.
This is an area just west of downtown Asheville where I-26 and I-240 merge into I-40. It earned the name "Malfunction Junction" because it can be confusing, congested and hazardous.
Be In the Know
Find out about happenings and events in Asheville by picking up a copy of Mountain Xpress, the local alt-weekly. It’s widely read by the locals. Best part is it’s free and distributed widely around town.
Asheville’s nickname by those on the cutting edge of what’s happening in town. The moniker gets even more mileage from a funky irreverent blog of the same name: Ashevegas.com.
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