Although my husband and I had been to the lovely city of Asheville several times, it was usually just for the day. When we decided to spend a couple of nights there at Christmastime one year, Rick studied a guide book.
“This looks like a good area to stay in,” he finally said. “Let’s try this hotel.”
I looked at the book, noting a mountain view on the side away from the road. When we checked in a few days later, I asked the woman behind the counter, “Does it cost more for the mountain view?”
She gave a little laugh. “No. Its costs the same.”
I didn’t think it was an odd question, since many hotels charge more for a good view, but we took our bags upstairs and settled into our room, admiring the small mountain about a hundred yards away, and noticing a little settlement of trailers next to a railroad track.
“I wonder if the train ever bothers the people who live there,” I said.
“I would think so, since they’re so close. Maybe they’re used to it, though.”
It didn’t take long for us to realize we weren’t in the right part of the city. There weren’t many places to eat nearby, and we ended up having supper at the Holiday Inn across the street from our hotel. Although it had a nice atmosphere, we had hoped for something a little more special.
When we returned to our room, tired and ready for a good night’s sleep, we slipped into bed and dozed off. About two in the morning we both sat up straight, unsure of what was happening until we realized a super-loud train whistle invaded our eardrums. The pictures on the wall above our heads rattled, and the whole room seemed to vibrate. It reminded me of an episode of “I Love Lucy,” except our bed stayed in place instead of moving around the room.
It took us a little while to recover from the blast of sound and earthquake-like shaking, but we finally managed to go back to sleep. Not much later, maybe an hour, we were bolted upright again. The room shook and the noise screamed, and we waited for it to end. It’s difficult to remember, since it happened years ago, but I believe we went to sleep again, only to be awakened a third time.
Exhausted the next day, we wondered how the people who resided next to the tracks were ever able to sleep with such a loud noise sounding throughout the night. Then we did something we’d never done before. We checked out early. I figured the train was the reason the clerk thought it was amusing that we asked about the mountain view, and a man on the elevator told Rick it’s not bad on the other side of the hotel.
We went to the other side of Asheville near the Biltmore House, where we should have gone in the first place, and checked into a decent hotel with no railroad tracks in sight. We visited a really nice hotel next door which had great Christmas music, trees, and decorations, making it really seem like the holiday season.
We had a good night’s sleep, and we easily found restaurants and interesting shops which made our time there even better, and it was easy to find a mountain view.