Asheville, NC’s virtual 2020 time capsule


🎶 Hey look, ma — we made it. 🎶 No matter where you are, 2020 has been one for the books. At home here in Asheville, we’ve celebrated, quarantined, protested, cooked, built, shopped, dreamed, voted + when all else failed, we danced.

We know a lot of you probably just want to forget this year ever happened. But there are lessons to be learned from all we’ve experienced as a community: adaptation, growth, resilience, patience, and perspective (to name a few). To preserve these lessons and memories for the future, we’ve been collecting your virtual memories for a digital time capsule.

For the past month, we’ve asked you to submit your most meaningful Asheville-in-2020 related photos, videos, diary entries, blog posts, text messages, screenshots, etc. In total, we were able to accept 50+ “items” from residents around the 828 — including images of historic moments, quarantine parties, photographs, artwork, multimedia projects + messages for the future.

Each image, video, and narrative tells a story and — we hope — will shed some light on our city’s collective experiences for auld lang syne whenever this webpage is revisited. We don’t know what the future holds, but we’re glad to be on this journey with you, Asheville.

Here’s what you shared with us –

Photos, videos + artwork

Black Lives Matter street mural and shrouded Vance Monument | Photo by Curve Theory
Halloween costume 2020! | Photo by Mae C.
Thankful for Biltmore | Photo by Mignon D.
Thankful for Bent Creek | Photo by Mignon D.
I am grateful for the safety and serenity of home. This is my office where I am writing my book. 2021 is already looking better. | Photo submitted by Mignon D.
At the North Carolina Arboretum | Photo submitted by Candis H.
Celebrating new life | Photo submitted by Cindi C.
curbside asheville eric lisa jesse
I think Carol Spagnuola did an amazing job capturing the small businesses in town that were struggling to stay open.. Here are her shots of us at The Chocolate Fetish. | Photo submitted by The Chocolate Fetish
curbside asheville kitchen
I think Carol Spagnuola did an amazing job capturing the small businesses in town that were struggling to stay open.. Here are her shots of us at The Chocolate Fetish. | Photo submitted by The Chocolate Fetish

“The Razor’s Edge” | Submitted by Terry Carolan

As I rode my bike through downtown AVL one day in April 2020 it was like a ghost town. Of all the photos I took that day this one summed up what I was feeling. | Photo submitted by Randy A.
Photo submitted by Gavin L.
Here is our annual festive trip to the Grove Park Inn lol | Photo submitted by Laura W.
Title: An Abundance of Caution 2 | Location: PieZaa Asheville | Photographer: Zoe Litaker | Model: Connie Schrader
Title: An Abundance of Caution | Location: Asheville | Photographer: Zoe Litaker | Model: Connie Schrader
Since March 2020, the Church of the Advocate, (started in 1997), has continued to serve meals, clothing, personal care items and AVL love at 21 Aston St courtyard. | Photo submitted by Gerald A.
My 7 year old granddaughter playing her violin at her 90 year old great grandmother’s window (at her assisted living facility). | Photo submitted by Lunda R.
The Stay Home Asheville beer collab | Photo submitted by Archetype Brewing
Photo submitted by Archetype Brewing
Photo submitted by Archetype Brewing
Photo submitted by Archetype Brewing
Early voted and donated blood on the same day! Donating blood is a tangible way to know that you are helping others and saving lives, which makes me feel like my actions matter in a time of so much helplessness. | Photo by Claire B.
This was a photo I had taken on my husband’s birthday. I got him a bowtie and we had some champagne – you can see in the back. He works at the hospital as a PT. | Photo submitted by Liisa A.
This year was rough, but I’ll keep it in the books. This little one joined our family. Her expression sums up the rest of the year pretty well. Here’s to 2021! | Photo submitted by Cathy F.
Volunteering for Democracy NC | Photo submitted by Jenny S.
2020 – the worst because but also the best because I married my best friend in May. | Photo submitted by Brittany F.

I wanted to submit a label design I did for the amazing new brewery that opened up in 2020 DSSOLVR. I really loved how this label came out, and it was also a beer in collaboration with Pléb! | Submitted by Tegan H.
Taken in the Rose Garden at Biltmore spring 2020. Niki and John Posten, 20 year residents of Asheville. | Photo submitted by Nikki P.
This selfie captured it for us and we used it for our Christmas card this year! | Photo submitted by Vann J.
I’m a student at UNCA! This is a picture of me in one of my favorites masks!! | Photo submitted by Olivia A.
Asheville anniversary celebration | Photo submitted by Karyn G.
Photo submitted by Karyn G.
Photo submitted by Karyn G.
Here’s an inventive mask with straw — made for my beer loving husband, Paul Viau, by a friend, Lanie Robinson, both of Waynesville. | Photo submitted by Carol V.
Asheville artist Joseph Pearson’s painting “My Life Matters.” | Photo submitted by Andrea K.
Asheville artist Joseph Pearson’s painting “Hands of Love,” about the rescue and health care workers of the pandemic | Submitted by Andrea K.
Four Ukrainian Pysanky eggs I made as part of a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter. They are all Memorials to Black lives- people who were killed unjustly. The eggs sold for $50 each, and 100% was donated to BLM, and Pink Dog Creative matched the donation by 100%. All three of these artworks are part of the ongoing exhibition “In Solidarity” at Pink Dog Gallery. | Photo submitted by Andrea K.


I am submitting this video performance of a song my husband Chris and I wrote during the pandemic.. “I Wanna Be Quarantined With You” | Video submitted by Andrea K.
This is a picture of the first time I wore a mask, the day before lockdown. As you see, it was a folded bandana/rubber band mask that I saw instructions for on the internet. I was determined to get my spring planting supplies at Lowes before the stay at home order, but I was really scared to be there and everything seemed surreal. | Photo submitted by Maggie P.
2020 WNC Farmer’s Market Christmas Tree shopping, quarantine style (all the way down to Santa in a box)! | Photo submitted by Natalie
Getting the vaccine | Photo submitted by Emilie R.
Getting the vaccine | Photo submitted by Emilie R.
I was on a guided photography walk at the Arboretum and found something of beauty at my feet. | Photo submitted by Barbara T.
Loved wearing my RBG mask while casting my political vote. One of the only times I actually liked wearing a mask! | Photo submitted by Caitlin V.

A video that I made when the city was first shut down. | Video + music by Brian B.,


Stay safe and six feet apart chalk drawing | Photo submitted by SW Bell
Socially distant Fourth of July | Photo submitted by SW Bell


Mask-making station in the kitchen | Photo submitted by Sarah D.
First grade at home | Photo submitted by Sarah D.
Photo submitted by Jae H.


Check out this Morse Code cardigan made by reader Jenny O (next two photos):

A Covid project as I posted on Instagram – you can get the idea through these 2 photos. And I’ve been loving wearing it now that we’re back in sweater weather. | Photo submitted by Jenny O.


A Covid project as I posted on Instagram – you can get the idea through these 2 photos. And I’ve been loving wearing it now that we’re back in sweater weather. | Photo submitted by Jenny O.

And the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree in Asheville + Washington, D.C. (2 photos)

Here’s the U.S.Capitol Christmas Tree in Asheville… | Photo submitted by Linda C.
Then my family saw it in Washington DC. | Photo submitted by Linda C.



Submitted by Peggy Wolf

May 20, 21, 22, 23, 2020

It seems that this week, this month, this year and my life are all slip slidin’ away. Here we are near the end of May on the cusp of the summer season. How did that happen…already?
When I kissed 2019 goodbye along with expressing good riddance since it was not one of my better years, little did I know the challenges 2020 had in store for our world. I feel that Hubster and I have weathered it well, so far. I am sad for those who have suffered in so many ways for all these days and have only a bleak future before them. And of course, all those whose lives have been cut short and their loved ones left behind to grieve their absence.
This will be my last Social Distancing post. I feel a sense of freedom today that I haven’t felt since the necessary social-distancing began. I know not why.
Not that we will be participating, but perhaps it’s because most “things” are “opening up.”  Once again, people are getting out and about, some wearing masks and some not. I’m sure that the worst is not over yet, but I do have a sense of peace about the overall situation for the time being…until the other shoe drops in the form of a resurgence of COVID-19.
I look forward to satisfying my craving for a wild mushroom and chicken pizza at Sidestreet Pizza in Tryon, sitting in the sports bar and washing said pizza down with an icy cold Shocktop garnished with triple slices of oranges while sorta watching a game on the TV.
Right now happiness is a new skillet and a new mouse ordered online and delivered to our door. My old mouse and I spent so much time together, I almost feel it deserves a proper burial.
My biggest concerns are with Hubster’s family. His 62-yr old brother was just diagnosed with cancer and is not doing well. It seems this is the fate of anyone in the Olivier family who is or was a smoker. Hubster’s brother moved in with their 93-year-old mother this week. She is suffering from severe hip pain after another fall this week. She was looking forward to the casinos opening again but is disappointed that she is in too much pain to go out this weekend. With all this in the forefront, COCID-19 has taken a backseat since Hubster’s brother tested negative.
Their sister Christy, who came down from Nashville, is doing an amazing job of keeping everyone informed while managing and caring for both Mom and Phil. She’s dealing with multiple hospital and doctor appointments and all the issues that arise and change from day to day. However, she won’t be available to stay much longer.
Here we continue to go about our days. After a restless night of little sleep, Hubster’s been at a rental twice today trying to solve a plumbing problem. He received another call from an employment recruiter this week for an electronic engineering position. He’s working so much during his retirement, he has no time to fit in a paying job. No progress on the pasture fence the past few days since he’s had to spend a lot of time and energy this week maintaining our dirt road between the frequent gully washers that have hit hard.
My war against the weeds continues and I haven’t even started the battle at the rental that’s becoming overgrown with them. I was loading a bounty of the enemy into the Bobkitten today when the sky broke loose. It didn’t quite rain cats and dogs but I wouldn’t have been surprised. I got the Bobcat up to the compost and then down to the barn without slip slidin’ in the mud, thanks to our soil being sandy instead of clay.
Being totally drenched by the deluge, I called it a day for the outside work, jumped in the shower and before I was clean and dry the sun was back out all bright ‘n shiny again.
Stay safe. Stay well. And know that with wisdom and love this world will get better…someday.


What’s the Capital of Andalusia? and other almost conversations

Submitted by Cheryl Perry, part of the weekly blog Living with Ethel 

My husband and I have been hanging around our little cottage together for exactly 159 days.  We have no other constant companions.  We constitute a two-person “bubble,” safer from the virus, insulated in our own tiny congregation.  The situation is challenging our ability to meaningfully communicate with one another.  The outside world provides some conversational variety via Zoom, but the inside world stalls on familiarity and limited experiences.  There is little fodder to prompt much in the way of engaging conversations.

Nothing sparks an interaction with my mate more than when I detect an unpleasant odor.  This is usually because I suspect the smell is of his making.  Certain whiffs have familiarity, such as the stink of beer-brewing fermentation or the nauseating smell of wood finishing products.  Those are his hobbies and he is often a little too proud of their emanations.  When the odor is unidentifiable, it is usually up to me to sort it out and get rid of it.  I am the only one it bothers.

I call this the “almost conversation” because it usually leads to a short question and answer period and nothing else.  Though I could wax philosophical about the evils of foul stenches, with an historical perspective on how often a smell event has led to the death of individuals, the man of the house chooses to dismiss their existence or the relevance of their existence, which creates a shortened dialogue.  Being forced to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week within earshot of each other during this lengthy pandemic has created a form of communication we had previously only flirted with.  Now we are perfecting it.  Pandemic togetherness along with 27 years of marriage have conspired to short hand our conversations.

There is not much to report in terms of our experiences during time spent apart.  Over dinner I will relate the frequencies with which our dog-walking neighbors have passed by in the street while he was down in the basement fiddling at the workbench or rattling around amongst the kegs and beer fridge.  He, in turn, will offer the news of the day gleaned from his hours of watching the Today Show while reading much of the same stuff on his i-Pad.  He knows how often dog-walkers go by based on the barking and howling of our dog, which can be heard from all corners of the property.  I already know the news of the day based on my hours of Facebook scrolling and time spent with friends on Zoom.

When we ponder some rosy future from which we will nostalgically recall our time spent together in isolation, we will remember this redundancy.  Redundancy and triviality.  Sure, so far this summer there was a hurricane and an earthquake.  We’ve seen those before and these recent home-bound disasters paled in comparison.  Political divide?  Seen it.  Out-of-control politicians?  Check.  Civil unrest?  Well, we have interest in all these things.  We are on the same page on all this stuff, and don’t need to check in on what the prevailing thoughts are.  I could ask, but then again, I could also answer my own questions.  Perhaps we have become too complacent.

Triviality is much more entertaining.  What is the capital of Andalusia?  There’s one for the memoirs.  Is Andalusia a country?  No, it’s a region in Spain.  Does that make it a country?  According to this crossword puzzle, it has a capital.  So does New Jersey.  Does Spain have states?  Maybe provinces, like Canada.  Well, I’ll be damned.  We’ll call this exchange “learning,” even though neither of us can tell you the capital of Andalusia.   It counts only in its provocation of a lengthy (in retrospect, really not very long) conversation.  At least it wasn’t about bad smells, or the dog, or bad smells related to the dog.

We have a son, far away in another state.  He’s fairly good at checking in with us.  We are fairly good at analyzing the information proffered during these weekly calls.  He mostly tells us he’s fine; girl friend is fine; dog is fine.  We wonder what he means by fine.  Did we detect a component of happiness in there or did he sound a bit tired?  We offer him our meager news.  Not much has happened since last week.  It’s great when his call follows a phone call we received from family or friends.  We can then relate all of their news, though I suspect this might bore him.  These calls are more about reassurance than content.  We are happy that he is fine, whatever that means.

Our friend Linda, in a birthday call from us to her husband, reminded us that she calls her 90-something-year-old father in England every day and speaks to him for 45 minutes, a feat we much admire.  She admitted that sometimes the conversations stall out, having just spoken to him the day before and also the one before that.  She voiced her delight at having heard from us as she would now be able to work our news and everyday tidbits into her next phone chat with dad.  We can certainly relate to these tactics and hope we are not too boring a topic.

At the Hobbit House (our little mountain casita), our collection of short-range topics of conversation would bore the pants off anyone with even the scantest of life experiences.  As my mother used to say “It’s like watching paint dry,” which has been one of our topics.  I am painting the fireplace, a feat which requires multiple coats of a variety of colors.  The application of paint is generally followed by watching it dry so as to assess color and uniformity of application, and the opening of windows to dispel the smell.  It’s seems to always come around to our olfactory adventures.

Then there is food.  I cook four nights a week.  We enjoy the leftovers and when that’s gone, order takeout.  Here’s where it gets really exciting because neither of us wants to decide where to order from.  It’s a stand-off as old as the Alamo itself.  The resulting exchange of words is so very polite and noncommittal.   “Whatever you want,” is my husband’s passive way of saying he doesn’t want to take responsibility for this momentous decision.  I remind him that I decided what to eat the previous five nights and now it’s his turn.  We eventually settle on something and are sometimes even happy with it.  That we keep ordering from the same four restaurants is a little detail revealing the above-mentioned complacency and our embarrassingly compact, pandemic-related world.

The magic is still there though.  My guy is an amateur astronomer.  He revels in sharing the sky with me.  I sometimes show indifference, especially if I have to get up a 4 am to maybe catch a glimpse of a comet or other astrological wonder.  Just last night he coaxed me out of the house onto the back deck at 10 pm.  To my surprise, he had set out the sleeping bag pads on the deck along with matching pillows I did not even see him take from the couch.  We reclined outside with our eyes toward the heavens, which happen to be mostly clear, to catch an early view of the Perseid meteor shower.  We saw exactly one meteor.  It was the most spectacular one I’ve ever seen, leaving a screaming bright trail as it disappeared behind some trees.  It was a “wow” moment which required no words.  Except, I screeched in delight over this tiny little gift.  I can’t imagine what the neighbors thought about the occupants at our tiny stone cottage.  We stayed there quietly for a while, as a distant storm created flashes of light which reflected in the atmosphere.  It was one of our best conversations.


The ultimate Pandemic indulgence-binging non stop from 5pm to 2am watching a whole season of ten episodes of manhunt Deadly Games without an ounce of guilt. – Carol G.