Jeannette Carrillo Editor

Jeannette Carrillo, Editor, Biltmore Beacon

With Father’s Day just around the corner, perhaps you will be looking for a creative gift or a different way to spend Dad’s Day. Especially after being cooped up for over a year, and with businesses opening up following last year’s shutdown, it’s a great time to think outside the box.

In this week’s issue of the Biltmore Beacon, our writers have explored a few options that might make your hit list. If not, we hope the stories provide a few ideas for future visits or experiences.

If you are looking for a new place to try, consider trekking to downtown Asheville, where the renovated and rejuvenated S&W Market has breathed new life into the original S&W Cafeteria that originally opened in 1929.

When I visited the food hall for the media preview last week, I brought along a friend who used to visit the Cafeteria during the 1950s with her mother. Listening to stories about how she and her mom would put on their best outfits to enjoy a meal at S&W was the perfect way to enjoy the new space.

Back then, Carolyn said, visiting the S&W Cafeteria was quite an adventure for a 10-year-old girl. First she and her mom would get in line to build their plates from the delicious offerings and then they’d head up the stairs to the second floor to find a table. Most times, she said, they were lucky enough to find a window table and enjoy the view as well.

After lunch, the two would head down the street to shop, and Carolyn remembered always getting a brand new pair of shoes, or a pretty dress in a different color.

During the media night, Carolyn and I walked around the first floor, popping in and out of the food hall where vendors offered samples of everything from beer to handcrafted hot dogs and ice cream to steamed pork buns. It was fascinating to watch Carolyn do a mental walk down memory lane, pointing to this, that and the ornate ceiling that occupied the space above our heads.

Hanging on the walls of an interior hallway, we found a framed reproduction of a newspaper’s front page that announced the opening of the S&W Cafeteria in 1929, and another picture that advertised a 45-cent turkey dinner. Seeing the artwork led to more stories about holidays spent at the S&W, as well as how delicious that turkey dinner really was.

Then Carolyn and I walked upstairs to the second floor, where a vintage-themed beer lounge takes up most of the back part of the building.

“It’s just like being 10 years old again,” Carolyn said. Her smile and watery eyes were enough to confide a whole set of special memories she has for the place.

No doubt, anyone who knew the building growing up will experience the same warm experience.

One-of-a-kind Gift for Dad

If your dad is of the adventurous ilk, you might want to ditch the tie or golf club idea and consider adding a furry creature to his brood this year.

The Adopt-an-Animal package at the WNC Nature Center is a great way to put a smile on your pop’s face while helping out a good cause.

The Adopt-an-Animal program raises funds for habitat improvement, environmental enrichment and education at WNC Nature Center. Over the years, animal adoptions have helped provide major renovations to the cougar, bobcat and gray wolf habitats.

Gift levels start at $25, $50, $100, $250 up to $1,000. All levels include an adoption certificate and animal fact sheet, as well as an invitation to Wild Parents Day, where participants can help animal ambassador create tasty snacks for some of the adopted animals and then walk around the park to see how the animals enjoy their treats.

For more information on the Adopt-an-Animal program, visit https://wildwnc.org/adopt-an-animal/.

How ever you spend Father’s Day this year, we hope you have a great day honoring the most important man in your life.

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