Hi. That’s me. I’m Jan Schochet [pron. shock-it].
I’m a folklorist (M.A, Folklore, CGP) and lover of the Carolinas and all good things here.
I’m also your insider guide to what goes on across North and South Carolina past and present. The best places to visit and how to have a sensational time, tailored to YOUR sensibilities.
There’s nothing I like better than connecting people with the things here that they’d love best.
My family arrived in Asheville in 1887.
That’s eighteen eighty seven, y’all. Not nineteen eighty seven.
And all of us, my parents, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, cousins, all of us owned stores downtown. Over the years. Or if we didn’t own ’em outright, we worked in ’em for other family members.
And what that means is: we all were asked all the time, by the thousands of tourists over the years who came into our stores, “Where should I go? What should I do? What do you recommend?”
Those tourists were smart. Asking the locals.
And I know you’re smart, too.
You want to know what the locals know so you can go where the locals go.
And . . . I’m pretty sure you’re Beyond Tourism. Or you wouldn’t be here.
You want to grab life. The experiences. The real thing.
You demand authenticity.
You want to smell the earthy outdoors.
To taste the barbeque and the biscuits.
To see the cotton mills and oyster factories.
And the speakeasies.
Not to mention the latest and the greatest places to eat. And shop. And poke your head into.
To hear Real. Local. Stories.
Of chopping wood. Fishing for food.
Of dancing the night away. Whether in a barn dance or the fanciest hotel in town.
Of parades–baby parades, dog parades, Christmas parades.
Stories of what used to be.
And what is now.
More than museum life.
And yet honoring what came before.
To hear the tunes born in this banjo land.
Banjo tunes that brought together populations–White, African, Native American.
And see the places where movies were made.
A silent film in 1921. The Swan, starring Albert Guinness and Grace Kelly in 1956. Thunder Road with Robert Mitchum in 1958. The Prince of Tides in 1991.
Last of the Mohicans in 1992. Deliverance, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Great Santini, Forrest Gump and a hundred others.
I love the Carolinas where I live and play. Where I was born and bred.
Where I was reared up, as we mountain natives like to say, among the Carolina pines.
In the lush green valley where Asheville lay. Surrounded by some of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River.
Me, I’ve been around.
I studied folklore in school. I have a B.A. and a M.A. in it. What does that mean? Am I a story-teller? I sure am.
But I studied the people, the places, the foodways and the attractions here. For 30 plus years.
It’s been my compelling drive. To explore the backroads. The by-ways and off-beat places. The kitsch and the common. And the artsy, the high-brow.
And to know what’s cool. And to know what’s current.
Everything that makes the Carolinas interesting.
To enter this country right here right now, you can read my blog posts.
I’d be honored if you did.
PS. Are you: coming to the Carolinas? Or are you a Carolinian traveling within the region?
Would you like an epic, top-notch trip that’s oh-so memorable. Meaningful, really.
Contact me for a personalized-to-your-passsions curated itinerary. We’ll have a one-on-one convo so I can discover your uniqueness. You might discover some things about yourself, too. Then you’ll get the inside juicy skinny on exactly where you’d love to go, plus the stories that bring it all alive.