Dale Allen Hoffman laments that Asheville has become so expensive for working class people. Hoffman, his wife Loretta, their daughter, Éowyn, and their dog, Honey, sit in front of their rental home in West Asheville. The Hoffmans say they hate to even consider leaving Asheville, but it's just become too expensive to live here. // Watchdog photo by John Boyle

First off, Dale Allen Hoffman wants you to know he really does love Asheville. Deeply. Passionately.

Or at least he loves the dream of Asheville. Or of what our fair mountain oasis used to be.

But what it’s become of late? Maybe not so much.

A West Asheville resident who could not have a more Asheville job title — “Ancient Aramaic Wisdom Keeper and Author of ‘Echoes of an Ancient Dream’” — Hoffman penned a Facebook post in mid-September that went absolutely viral, and for good reason. As he said right off the bat, it was “a rambling love letter — a heartbroken breakup note to a lost love named Asheville, as well as for all who continue to love her, no matter how painful this love may sting.”

Like a lot of you folks out there, I find about 90 percent of social media to be essentially a vast wasteland of ego stroking, fruitless political arguments, and pet videos. OK, I really like the cute dog videos.

My point is this: Hoffman’s post really struck a nerve with me, too. I’ve been here since 1995, and I still love the place, but it’s becoming more and more unlivable, unless you’re pretty darn wealthy and don’t mind excessive traffic.

As of Sunday evening, Hoffman’s post had been shared 635 times and had nearly 220 comments. When I talked to Hoffman last week, he said he was honestly kind of exhausted by the attention, and a few of the nasty remarks, although most people were kind and thoughtful.

Here’s an excerpt from his post:

“Just a few months shy of 20 years ago, our young family moved to our dream town of Asheville, North Carolina. This Appalachian mountain treasure of a community was absolutely to be our lifetime home. For years and years, we continued to drive and walk in concentric circles around our beloved artsy village, almost pinching ourselves to help us realize that this had really happened. Asheville was really our home.”

Hoffman said he, his wife, Loretta, and their four children “knew this was the place where we would rest our heads after our final breaths on this earth. It was a city that just felt like home.

“We always ran into beloved friends, no matter the time of day or location around our little mini-city,” Hoffman wrote. “We felt a love and pride for our area that we had never felt in our lives.

“But then about seven or eight years ago, things began to change,” Hoffman continued. “We started to see the rabid hordes of tourists and opportunist out-of-state investors swarming into our area. They were simply responding to the maniacal, if not cavalier over-marketing of our incredible secret gem. No matter where on Earth I traveled to speak, people were suddenly huddling around me asking if Asheville was REALLY as amazing as all of those magazine and TV stories claimed it to be. My wife and I were receiving 5 to 10 texts, emails and messages every single week from friends, friends of friends, and total strangers, asking us for advice on how to move here to what I have long called my beautiful ‘Appalachian City of Light.’”

Dale Allen Hoffman laments that Asheville has become so expensive for working class people. Here he stands in front of the home he and his wife, four children and an in-law rent in West Asheville. He and his family likely will leave next spring, he said. // Watchdog photo by John Boyle

To be clear, Hoffman does not pretend to be a native of this area. He’s from New Jersey originally, and he and Loretta lived in Florida for a decade before moving here.

Like a lot of us, he was a tourist before deciding to move to Asheville. But his family and he felt drawn to this town, to these age-old mountains.

But now they feel Asheville has changed. His post continued:

“My family and community of friends stood in horror as we watched our precious ‘forever home’ begin to dwindle away under the strains of gentrification and America’s ever-expanding divisions between classes. The orphans of wealth began filling our streets and homeless shelters. Many are beautiful souls who once had good jobs and many had owned once-thriving businesses in the Asheville area. Now they were sleeping in doorways and forced to beg for change or scraps of food from total strangers — often with their spouse and children by their side.”

Killing the golden goose

Hoffman used a line I’ve heard a lot lately, in a variety of circles, whether it’s business owners  worried about crime downtown or young people who feel like they’ll never be able to afford a home here.

“We were forced to watch the slow and prolonged strangling and ultimate asphyxiation of the goose that laid the golden egg,” he wrote. “The incredible street performers, musicians, artists, hippies and visionaries that we are and adore so much — the freaky souls who made this town so magical in the first place — could no longer live anywhere near town. They made it the cool place to be, yet now they all had to leave and make way for ‘progress.’ Rents went up 20 percent, then 30 percent, then 40 percent. Home prices doubled and TRIPLED.”

He’s not wrong about that.

ApartmentList.com’s October rent report for Asheville shows the overall median rent in the city stands at $1,529, after rising 0.7% last month. Median monthly rent for a one-bedroom stands at $1,312, and $1,631 for a two-bedroom.

Rents are actually down 3.9 percent over the past year, giving a little relief to renters. But Asheville still consistently ranks as the most expensive place to rent in the state, or right at the top.

If you’re trying to buy a house, brace yourself. The median sales price for a home in Buncombe County in the second quarter was $480,000, up from $465,000 a year ago, according to the Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks second quarter real estate report for our region.

When my wife and I bought our three-bedroom, two-bath rancher in 1998, we paid $116,000. Those days are long gone.

While D.R. Horton is advertising homes for sale in the Enka area starting in the high $300,000s, the median sales price for a home in Buncombe County in the second quarter was $480,000, up from $465,000 a year ago, according to the Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks second quarter real estate report for our region. // Watchdog photo by John Boyle

“The median home sales price increased 4.5 percent over the second quarter of last year and is up 2.4 percent in the first half of this year,” the Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks report states.

Hoffman, 51, said he and his family lived in a rented trailer on Spivey Mountain west of town for years — for $600 a month — before moving to the home they now rent near West Asheville Park off Vermont Avenue. It’s a nice house in a great location, with four bedrooms and a small office space for him, but they also have seven people living there now.

And the rent has steadily increased, rising by $500 since the spring of 2020. It’s $2,400 a month now.

“I love Asheville, but I just can’t afford to live here anymore,” Hoffman told me as we sat at a picnic table at the park shelter.

Before the pandemic shutdown, Hoffman was making $50,000 to $60,000 a year, but that’s been cut about in half now. He speaks ancient Aramaic, the language scholars say Jesus spoke, and conducts online and in-person seminars on Biblical subjects, particularly Mary Magdalene.

His wife cleans houses but is not working as much as she used to, as they have a baby daughter now. They also have a 12-year-old daughter, and a son and a daughter in their early 20s living with them, as well as the oldest daughter’s husband.

When he thinks about moving, Hoffman said, he literally becomes sick to his stomach. And when monthly rent comes due, his stress level shoots through the roof.

Hoffman said his family — and reluctantly, himself — are resigned that they’ll likely move out of the area at the end of next April when the lease is up.

“Me, I’m probably about 80 percent (sure), and if I asked anybody else in my family, they’re probably 99.9.percent,” Hoffman told me. “And the reason is — I’m going to start crying here — . I know that they see these hippos on my back (every month).”

“It’s awful — we moved here because it felt like home to us,” she said. “When we came here for our honeymoon 25 years ago…we just felt like coming home.”

But now, it feels like a different town.

“Unfortunately, it’s kind of like we want to stay, but at the same time it’s next to impossible to find a place that’s affordable — that’s what makes it so hard,” Loretta Hoffman said. “We love the area, but with so many people that have moved here, and everybody doing Airbnbs now, it’s just you can’t find anywhere you can rent or even buy that is affordable anymore for locals.”

Where they may go, that’s still up in the air.

“We’ve scoured the country,” Hoffman said. “One of the places we looked at was Charleston, West Virginia — these former coal mining towns where there’s actually a really strong infrastructure.”

And the homes don’t cost as much. Loretta Hoffman said they’d also consider living farther outside Asheville and Buncombe County.

‘This was the dream’

Hoffman recalled that prior to Loretta and he moving here, they had moved back to New Jersey for about nine months to be closer to his parents. But Asheville’s pull was strong.

“And we came here, literally with a moving truck full of stuff,” Hoffman said. “We actually went from Jersey down to Florida, emptied our storage unit and showed up here with several thousand dollars in cash and a huge moving (van), plus a car and no job, no place to live. That’s the Asheville way.”

Well, it kind of used to be. 

They found an apartment near Bent Creek first, then moved out to Spivey Mountain to the single-wide. Their rent there stayed the same the whole time, but they needed a bigger house for their family.

Hoffman knows some people have slammed him for his post, suggesting he’s the problem because they moved here, or maybe implying he should get a better-paying job. He points out that we’re largely a community of transplants now, and that he worked in manufacturing here, and in New Jersey and Florida, until 2007 when he started his own business based on his expertise with Aramaic.

“That was my passion work-wise,” Hoffman told me. “But choosing to walk away from the security of a 40-to-50 hour-plus hour a week job looks like economic insanity to normal people. And maybe it is. But I know why I am here on this earth. I am grateful beyond words for that.”

I’ll note that this, too, is a very Asheville sentiment — coming here to do fulfilling life’s work.

Still, between skyrocketing inflation and perennially lagging wages, it’s been tough for Hoffman to see his family do without things other families have, or to endure insecurity about their housing situation. His family is tight, though, and Hoffman says they lean on one another.

“We all used to feel that (way) about our beloved community of Asheville,” Hoffman told me. “But it has broken my heart to see each member of my family slowly let go of our knowing that Asheville is our former home.”

Hoffman acknowledges in the Facebook post that what’s happening here is happening all over the country, if not the world. A lot of those who commented on the post also lamented that they’ve seen the same issues where they live, or used to, whether it’s New Orleans, San Francisco or Greenville.

“The same happened to Moab, Utah, and the island of Kauai,” Damian Nash commented on Facebook. “I’m sorry to tell you that almost all the desirable places on Earth will soon belong to the wealthiest 10 percent.”

That might be hyperbole, but I’m sure a lot of locals here would agree.

Hoffman told me that back in the 1990s, before marrying and well before moving to Asheville, he used to keep a “dream book” of his life, where he wanted it to go and what he wanted to be. It was filled with pictures and information about Asheville.

April 30, when the lease is up, seems far away but also way too close.

“When it actually comes down to it, I literally want to throw up thinking about it,” Hoffman said. “Because this was it. This was the dream.”

For a lot of local folks, that Asheville dream is dying. And that’s truly sad.

Correction: An earlier version of this column said the Hoffmans have two sons in their 20s living with them. They have a son and a daughter in their 20s, along with the daughter’s husband, living with them.

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. John Boyle has been covering Asheville and surrounding communities since the 20th century. You can reach him at (828) 337-0941, or via email at jboyle@avlwatchdog.org. To show your support for this vital public service go to avlwatchdog.org/donate.

39 replies on “Opinion: One family’s decision to leave Asheville really strikes a nerve”

  1. I am a 30+ year resident and this resonates with me. We only go downtown when there is an event we volunteer for and can’t remember the last time we ate in a restaurant at night – too many tourists/unhoused etc and too few parking spots. We are fortunate to be able to afford to continue living here but feel for those who no longer can. When I think of what has happened to Asheville I am reminded of the Eagles song ” The Last Resort ” and how we are the Eastern example in the lyrics. Ironic that this article is published on Indigenous Day as the Cherokee are part of the song’s message.

  2. While I agree with much of what Hoffman says, I also wonder why they didn’t find a way to buy a home here during the many times it was ‘affordable’ over the years since they loved it so much. There have been many opportunities: 20 years ago, 14 years ago, etc…I lived in a tiny room over a garage and ate beans and didn’t go out for 2 years while saving to buy here in the late 1990s on limited income. Asheville was underpriced back then. Now it’s probably accurately priced. Possibly a ‘bargain’ for wealthy tourists–though they might like do some research about medical options, our devastated police force, and lack of running water in cold weather before making the move.

  3. Change is often sad. It’s also inevitable. And our choices, such as having a fourth child we can’t afford, often make change even sadder. His wife could be cleaning more houses without the new baby, thus helping pay the rent. He could get a second job working part-time for minimum wage just about anywhere. Those jobs are going begging. They could also move outside of Asheville yet still be close enough for frequent visits. There are cheaper rentals on the outskirts, certainly not in West Asheville. Doesn’t anyone else get tired of the constant whine of victimhood that seems to be the hallmark of American life these days?

    1. Agree. This was a bit melodramatic. Many personal choices he and his wife made directly contributed to their financial situation.

      1. Yes, we all make decisions whether or not to have children, pets, cars, homes, tattoos, alcohol, smokes, second jobs, roommates and the list goes on and on…I wish our city/county/state would make financial literary part of public education. Until they do (and knowing that most grownups completely fail their children in this regard), I’d recommend that all young people (and a great many older folks) take it upon themselves to read some personal finance books and blogs. These include ‘Smart Couples Finish Rich’ by David Bach…and Mr. Money Mustache (online)…It’s admittedly pricey for some young people who are coming here. But it seems to me that the Hoffmans arrived at the right time that they really could have purchased in West Asheville (when rates and prices were lower) had that been their focus. There were even massive tax incentives in 2009.

        1. I agree 100% on financial literacy being a required course in public schools. I had to learn it on my own as my parents didn’t teach me those concepts. Some other great resources in addition to the two you mention are r/PersonalFinance on Reddit (especially the Prime Directive flowchart) and the counselors at OnTrack WNC. I made poor money decisions earlier in life that I have since recovered from, so it’s not too late for anyone to change how they approach money. Note that I’m not saying that there isn’t a problem with the cost of living in Asheville. I’m also not saying that everyone can budget their way out of cost of living issues. But, many people can take a look at their finances and make changes to improve their financial well-being.

  4. A friend of mine was once annoyed that the Chamber of Commerce didn’t adopt his slogan idea for Asheville:
    “Asheville — A Good Place to Die”.

  5. I moved to Asheville in 1982 when young people were leaving as soon as they graduated high school. My parents had moved here in 1978 to care for my grandmother after my grandfather died (my mother grew up in Black Mountain). I had not planned to stay in Asheville but I met my first husband in Asheville. I ended up living in Asheville for 30 years. Much of my love for the city was based on the 5 generations of my family that were born in the area. I bootstrapped my way up the food chain selling lumber to builders after I became a single mom and I watched the city grow from the inside out through construction and development. Honestly, this story is not new. This same story could have started in 1990 because that is about the time that the boom really began to take off. I transitioned to selling real estate in 2004 and by 2008, the bubble popped. I had tremendous success selling (out) my beloved city only to find myself with virtually no income by 2010 and I knew I could not hold out any longer. Through divine intervention, I decided to move to Kentucky and start over, marrying an old college sweetheart and going back to school to become a nurse at 53. Fast forward, there IS life after Asheville! We live on a lake and I’m a travel nurse, working in Louisville 3 days a week. Trust me, Asheville is nice but it’s not the same and there is incredible life after Asheville.

  6. I feel for the Hoffman’s. We had a beautiful house that we purchased new in 2004 and improved it tremendously over the years. My husband and I left briefly (1.5 yrs) when we retired in 2017 and adventured to New Mexico only to return in June of 2019. Fortunately we were able to purchase a Townhouse in Blk Mtn. We too are concerned as to what has happened to Asheville (we visit often 2-3 X a wk). Currently we think of leaving the states all together! Basically it comes down to too many humans, greed and the people in power not focusing on the needs of the community. Like rebuilding the infrastructure for safe water, etc. to accommodate the ever growing population!

  7. I will say that it is just a little ironic that the hoffmans moved here after visiting the area as tourists , yet lament the ” rabid horde ” of tourists ruining their quality of life here. I am not saying this to be mean, I am only pointing out a flaw in their position.

    1. So when *can* one legitimately weigh in on changes for the worse in Asheville, if living here 20 years isn’t enough? 30 years? 50? Have to have been born here? I don’t see the “flaw” as you put it.

  8. My sentiments exactly. We were visitors who decided to leave the drive by shootings, home invasions, drugs and so on in South Florida in 1992.
    The people were genuinely friendly, always said hello and thank you and even waved to you as you passed driving in opposite directions. Most businesses were closed for the night around 9 or 10 PM.
    I could ramble on but I’d just be wasting my time.
    Asheville just isn’t the same homey, friendly place overall as it once was.
    I thank God for my church, Trinity Episcopal, and my sister and Brother-in-law for a sense of community and wellbeing.

  9. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman I truly feel for you both and your children. My father was transferred here from Seattle, WA in 1961. I was 11 years old. Talk about a shock, leaving all my friends and moving to the south. But as I adjusted I think about how great it was. Hendersonville Road was 2 lanes and had nothing but farmland on both sides. There were no restaurants nor fast foods and no development. My friends and I used to ride our horses up the road. The Biltmore House was closed in the winter and we lived close enough to hike up on the property and spend hours just playing around. Today, a totally different scenario. I fear my life just driving on Hendersonville Road. Apartments surround my home. I will not go downtown. I still like Asheville(but not as much as I did growing up). I hate the change. I wish you and your family the best of luck in your choices.

  10. I’ve lived in AVL only 4 years, and yes my wife and I had been tourists to the area several times beforehand. We came after retirement to escape the density, traffic, cold winters and cacophony of big city life. Since moving here we have learned of Asheville’s unfortunate tendencies: poorly maintained infrastructure, endless debate over the simplest of issues, worship of the tourist and his/her money over its residents, an utter inability to plan for or cope with growth, failure to levy appropriate taxes on the wealthy and non-resident owners, marginal approaches to the addressing the unhoused …
    We were lucky enough to afford a home in 2019 which we couldn’t approach today. My wife had to endure a break-in while home alone, on a Sunday afternoon no less – something we’d never encountered in 25+ years in Chicago. The police dept is depleted and inadequate pay scales make it impossible to recruit. Too many jobs, especially teaching, do not pay a living wage. The city seems to reel from one crisis to the next. And I won’t even begin to address how the state legislature always finds ways to make things even worse.
    No wonder some are crying ‘uncle’ and looking to move on. My wife would leave tomorrow if given the chance and I’m unfortunately not far behind her.

    1. Not a lot of calling for learning Aramaic? Might want to get a job to supplement the supplemental job. Also son, daughter and inlaw, three adults need to be helping out or getting out. Five adults working should be bringing home a small fortune for one household.

  11. I certainly understand your reasons for leaving and the pain you are experiencing in making that decision. I moved here in 1989 with two of my sons to start a new life with the man I loved.It was like coming home for me as well, I loved everything about the city and the surrounding areas. We rented a new home in Weaverville for $500 per month. That is not possible now. After a year we purchased a new build in Asheville, 4 bedrooms, 3000sq feet for $150,000. Those homes now sell for $450-550 thousand and perhaps more.
    I worked here for the State until my retirement seven years ago. I planned to stay in my home in Fletcher until I couldn’t. My tax value went up this year from a $250,000 home to $414,00. I will stay as my sons have families and I can’t imagine moving away from all of them. I love our mountains regardless of the 1% take over. A ride on the Parkway to view the rolling hills and peaks restores the sense of peace. We are not alone. There are many people moving from cities becoming too overwhelming with an influx of people and high prices. Good luck to you and your family.

  12. I hate going to Asheville! To much traffic! I live in Candler outside of Asheville! It’s really crowded here now!

  13. Have to say, I sympathize with the Hoffmans and agree. I can afford the real estate, but I don’t want to live in a monoculture of rich retirees. Asheville was becoming an interesting and vital city, but the quality of life has so diminished for residents since the city sold itself out to the tourism trade lock, stock and barrel.

    Tourism as the sole economic generator is an act of self-destruction. The City had a chance to support burgeoning local enterprises like the green industries The Collider was trying to develop and Moogfest which was bringing young people in music and the arts and technology who were bringing jobs and businesses with them. Instead they turned their back on those local business generators in favor of things like giving millions to rich multinational companies like GE and Raytheon for a few middling jobs and no long-term commitment.

    I haven’t been downtown in months. Can’t get into the restaurants. Don’t like running the gauntlet of drunk tourists and mentally ill aggressive homeless people. All city resources go to tourism downtown and the neighborhoods are ignored. The city’s attempts to build affordable housing is really another give-away to the hotel industry so they can pay workers nothing, and get their housing provided by the tax paying residents. I miss the buskers and artists and seeing people I knew. Local government has sold residents out – and to the lowest bidder. And they’ve reneged on almost every promise they’ve made to us from sustainability to reparations.

  14. I am a native-born citizen of Asheville (1942). We grew up
    poor (my brother, sister and I were born at home). We walked the railroad tracks for coal that had fallen from coal cars, etc., for heat and cooking.
    Moving forward, I left home at 17 (Dec.) for Great Lakes and the U.S. Navy, hoping to return one day.
    Thomas Wolfe said it in his book, YOU CANNOT GO HOME AGAIN! He was right. The liberals have allowed Asheville to become one of the worst 10 crime cities in the country. SAD.

    1. Always nice to have some amorphous “other” to blame everything on. Has it ever occurred to you that the decline in the quality of life in Asheville is attributable to the Chamber of Commerce and the TDA? These are not “liberal” people. They are hucksters who want to turn Asheville into Atlanta, and our city government is led by Real Estate Attorneys who think development is just peachy. This bubble will burst at some point, and Asheville will go through another period of abandonment before they blow up all the hideous hotels and start over once again.

      1. Thomas Jefferson was a liberal.. Rashida Tlaib is not. The term is meaningless now. The people that run the city, county, and the TDA are democrat party authoritarian ideologues who believe THEY alone know best.

  15. Mr Hoffman,
    I am a West Virginian whose family transplanted here for employment. If you are really looking at W.V.don,t limit it to Charleston. Try the smaller towns; Elkins is a perfect place with a college, forest industry and the wonderful mountains plus decent schools. Good luck in your hunt if you do decide to move.

  16. As “Debbie” wrote here in a reminiscent way that I remember growing up in Asheville in the 1950s and 1960s, I thought about the free range we had—picnics as teenagers back in and off the BR Parkway on land that was probably part of Biltmore House property (BH had not yet transformed into a million+ visitors per year. Probably not even half that many visitors per year.) or running through Grove Park Inn property as little kids, during the October-March winter closure because it wasn’t winterized. It didn’t get winterized and open all year round till the mid-1980s.

    My favorite era was The Asheville One Thousand era when there were limited events to go to in the late 1970s till very early 1990s and we would all end up at the same events—one foreign film every other week or The Freakers Ball at Halloween or a party at Hanger Hall and always Sunday morning brunch at Stone Soup. Even at the first Stone Soup in the Allen Center that also used to have a traditional/folk music club on weekend nights. (Of course there were not 1000 of us. It just seemed that way!) Or fast forward to early 1990s when a guy named Dean and his wife taught African drumming in town and had us following famed African drummer Babtunde Olatunje around the east coast. If we had drummed in Pritchard Park back then, the police would have arrested us and thrown us in jail. Now, and for at least the last 15 years, TDA takes the current leaders (totally different from our drumming leaders) of the Friday night Pritchard Park drum circle to tourism shows in Atlanta to attract people to come to Asheville and they’re featured in tv commercials across the southeast. Yes, things have changed vastly over the years.

    I charge that TDA has overcorrected. And that the STRs are a huge problem, taking formerly reasonably priced rental homes out of circulation. And it’s true that this is happening all over the country.

    And my last statement right now is this: how do you think those of us who were born and raised here, and whose families have been here for more than 125 years (and I have friends whose families have been here since the 1700s!), felt at each stage of influx of tourists-who-become-residents? Some are ok with it. But some are not. But as others have pointed out, change is inevitable. And that’s something we can all count on.

  17. I moved out in 2020, and it is or was a magical dream for myself. I loved the weirdness and its people. But like the area I grew up in just 2 hours away from Asheville – its all about the money. Not the traditions. I feel for you, and the love you have for Asheville. It broke my heart to leave as I have always loved it there. It was a dream! But now because of money – it’s not affordable. I also feel for the generations of those who made it such a special place. The memories are what I cherish. I don’t know where to live at this point because North Carolina has become too rich for my blood.

  18. President Biden says: “For God’s sake man, if you can speak and teach Aramaic you can sure as hell LEARN TO CODE and make some REAL money. “

  19. Let’s be honest, people just like Hoffman killed Asheville’s golden goose. It makes me happy people like him are leaving.

    As a native, I ‘m going to just say the truth. All the transplants moving to Asheville bringing their politics with them is exactly what caused the downfall of our community.

    1. I moved to Asheville in 1984. Loved it for a long time. But the local wages NEVER were a living wage! I thought I would spend the rest of my life in the greater Asheville area. In January of this year I decided to move to Philadelphia to be near my 2 sisters here. I sold, consigned, gave away and donated everything that wouldn’t fit in my car with ma and my cat. It was very deep decision. I resonate with this article a lot! Thanks.

  20. It’s the same story in many places. I lived in Anna Maria Fla. for 55 years and watched the same thing happen there. Our little piece of paradise disappeared after big money moved in and took over. The small quaint homes disappeared and the huge mega mansions were built where they once stood. Expensive rentals took over and the tourists came replacing the working class. Big money always wins. Sad to say but no matter where you end up one day it will be the same story. Its funny because the newbies think they have found paradise, but they will never know what it really was.

  21. Why are all of these whining people still here if Asheville is such a source of misery to them?

    Change is a certain constant in our lives and expecting otherwise is not rational. If you aren’t willing to try to facilitate the change you would prefer, stop complaining about how things turn out.

  22. This story ‘strikes a nerve’ with me for different reasons. These are people who (say) they knew they wanted to put down roots here from the moment they arrived (see below), but year after year they did not find a way to buy a place when they may have had very good chances to do so. What wondrous place such as Asheville was as affordable as Asheville 20 years ago? Why did they not bust their tails and make sacrifices to commit? I hope that when the Hoffmans find their next ‘forever’ home (and I hope they do), they’ll find a way to put some skin in the game and take control of their own destinies. Meanwhile, it’s highly likely that the West Asheville home *they did not buy* is now owned by an investor and used as a vacation rental. Ergo, the Hoffmans may be a larger part of their own problem than they comprehend.

    “Just a few months shy of 20 years ago, our young family moved to our dream town of Asheville, North Carolina. This Appalachian mountain treasure of a community was absolutely to be our lifetime home. For years and years, we continued to drive and walk in concentric circles around our beloved artsy village, almost pinching ourselves to help us realize that this had really happened. Asheville was really our home.”

    Hoffman said he, his wife, Loretta, and their four children “knew this was the place where we would rest our heads after our final breaths on this earth. It was a city that just felt like home.

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