One of Asheville’s biggest teases is that it has this glorious river snaking right through its heart…that’s essentially unswimmable. The French Broad is a glorious place to spend canoeing or kayaking (many people tube…I won’t for reasons I’m about to divulge), but despite its appearance that invites you to dive in on a hot day, I would not.
I’ve already documented here how a dip in the French Broad got E.coli in my eye, but even worse, I recently found out a friend-who-will-go-unnamed also went to Urgent Care due to the river, only his infection was caused by due to peeing in the water (do your own math as to what got infected).
However, there is a somewhat under-the-radar beachy oasis in Asheville that’s perfect for a summer Sunday when you want to put your toes in the water, ass in the sand, have no worries in the world, and a cold beer in your hand: the Hominy Creek Outpost.
Operated by French Broad Outfitters, Hominy Creek Outpost sits right where the eponymous creek flows into the French Broad. This is the put-in spot for their River Arts floats, and while they have food cooking, a beer/wine bar, and plenty of tables, I’ve spoken to many people who are under the impression it’s only there for those kayaking. It’s not. Anyone could go spend the day/afternoon chilling at Hominy Creek, provided you purchase their beers and food (which I think is fair…but from what I’ve seen, a surprising amount of people take issue with, even though there are “no outside food or drink” signs everywhere—a rant for another day is the number of people who come to Asheville breweries with outside food and beverages and attempt to have birthday parties there…use a public park!… but I digress).
I spent quite a few unbearably hot Sundays wading in Hominy Creek, which is a delightful way to spend the day. One, however, has failed to leave the recesses of my mind. It was the Sunday when I witnessed a woman force her cat to swim with her.
I was sitting in a chair in the water with some friends, including several friends’ dogs—Hominy Creek is big with the dog crowd, and warning to any dog owners: they often go unleashed—when, out of the corner of my eye, I watched a woman walk towards the water with a leashed cat on her shoulder, and walk deeper, and deeper, until she was up to her shoulders, and the poor cat was scrambling towards the top of her head.
She walked over to a large log jammed against the opposite bank and let her cat run up on that while she and her friends laughed, talked, cooled off, and drank beer. A couple of my friends went over to investigate. From what I remember, she told them that the cat loved coming to Hominy Creek and loved to swim. She then put the cat in the water and let them watch it swim back (very quickly, I might add) and get back on the log.
Although I didn’t go over and engage with this nonsense, I was close enough to see and have owned enough cats to know that this cat was not loving anything about what was happening. It was enduring. That’s it. It maybe didn’t hate it (all the cats I’ve ever owned would’ve ran away from me—and like truly ran away and found another home—had I put them on a leash, let alone dunked them in a creek for the amusement of strangers) but there was no part of this cat that was enjoying itself. Now, the cat’s owner, on the other hand, loved the attention immensely, which is why I feel comfortable dubbing her an awful person.
Hominy Creek, however, is not awful. I urge you to check it out on a hot Asheville summer day.