To capture the tradition of a joyride in the mountains, we enlisted photographer Emily Chaplin, a Charlotte native with ties to Asheville. Emily spent 10 days in the mountains working solo — no assistant, other than the helpful car owners, who were incredibly generous with their time and prized possessions.
“On a number of occasions, I rode in the passenger side of the car on the way to our shoot location,” Emily says, “and something I found surprising (though I shouldn’t have) and wonderful was how many smiles, thumbs-up, cheers, and waves we received — from pedestrians, other drivers, cyclists.”
For this essay, Emily shot 1,936 pictures and photographed 27 different cars.
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These places are the stewards of some very special items: Doc Watson’s first recording, the desk Virginia Woolf used to redefine the novel, and Elisha Mitchell’s pocket watch are just some of the cherished pieces that teach us about our state’s history and the people who preserve it.