d*s book tour diary: asheville, durham, charleston + savannah

by Grace Bonney

After weeks on the road, our great big book tour adventure is finally hitting the home stretch. As of this week, we’re 20 cities into 30, so the finish line is within sight (although we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the run). While we’re back in the South this week, I wanted to share a little diary update from last week’s trip to North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Amy and I had so much fun getting to soak up a little warm weather and sun and were so thankful to meet and spend time with everyone who joined us around town and at the events. Along with silly animal hats, delicious ham sandwiches and beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, last week was definitely a trip to remember. I hope you’ll enjoy the little peek into last week’s adventure! xo, grace

Durham: Our trip began in Durham, where we got to visit some fantastic independent bookstores in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Pittsboro. I loved checking out the striped cows at Fearrington Village and wrapping up our trip with an amazing meal at Lantern with the lovely ladies of Merge Records. Though we didn’t get a ton of time in town, I definitely marked Durham as a spot I need to see more of when we’re done with the tour. Thanks to everyone who came out to craft with us!

Locally made whirligigs at Fearrington Village

We loved Furbish studio in Raleigh. That rug almost came home with me.

The rug didn’t make it, but this Maru book did.

Amy was sadly and thankfully only our second craft victim in 20 cities. The other one was me. The two of us seem to be the only people (knock on wood) who suffered the wrath of a woodburning tool.

Ah, stewardess humor.

This lady’s BBQ sandwich filled our tiny plane with such delicious smells. Too bad she didn’t bring enough for all of us. Argh.

Asheville: I’d been dying to visit Asheville for years, as most of my art-major friends in college seemed to flock there immediately after graduation. We arrived to beautiful weather and were thrilled to check out Malaprops, a bookstore I’d heard so much about from nearly every Asheville resident online. It didn’t disappoint, and we had a wonderful time crafting with everyone. We also enjoyed the biscuits at Tupelo Honey Cafe. Yum.

Everyone told us to look out the window when we flew into Asheville. They were right — the view was gorgeous. I wish my phone could have captured the colors better. It was such a great time of year to be flying into the mountains.

How can you talk about Asheville without mentioning the street musicians (or hippies)? This one was a favorite of mine.

Our event at Malaprops was so much fun, and I loved getting to meet my Twitter bud Robin Plemmons in person. She was as rad as I thought and was so sweet to help us out with a photo backdrop at the last minute. Also, we received a map of the US made from vintage jeans — definitely the most creative and unexpected gift we’ve been given along the trip.

This rooster wall art around town was fun.

Biscuits at Tupelo Honey. Yummmm.

We needed a mood-lifter on the way out of Asheville, so we bought children’s animal hats at the airport. Still one of the best purchases in 20 cities. Amy said it was like “a hug for you head.” Right on.

Charleston: Amy had never been to Charleston, so I was happy we got into town with a little extra time to walk around. We had about an hour and a half to explore, so we chose to forgo a nap and get dropped straight off at one of my favorite spots, Hominy Grill. We inhaled at least five plates full of delicious veggie sides and some boiled peanuts and then walked back to the hotel, checking out Sugar Bakeshop (which made some of my favorite cupcakes of the whole tour) and Hope & Union on the way back. Our event was such a blast, and we were fortunate to have the help of both Leigh and her family at Dwelling as well as the very talented Tara Guerard (and her amazing team) and photography by Corbin Gurkin.

I loved all the hand-painted signs around Charleston.

Beautiful buildings (old and new) around town. I’d love to live in that modern home built downtown.

Food, glorious food!

I wish I could hang out at Hope & Union coffee shop every day.

Adorable stamp-work from our Charleston crafters.

Savannah: It’s no secret that Savannah is my home away from home. Since I first visited in 2005, it’s been my second favorite city (next to Brooklyn, of course), and it’s chock-full of amazing people and delicious food. We snuck into town early, so we could see a little more of the city and walk around with our good friends, the talented Cheryl and Griff Day of Back in the Day Bakery. Their Jambon sandwich is the stuff of my dreams and was worth waiting for. Seriously, I dream about that sandwich sometimes. As always, Savannah was sunny, beautiful and welcoming. I really enjoyed getting to speak to the students at SCAD and appreciated Sunny and everyone at SCAD for having me back.

Our drive down to Savannah included beautiful low country views and a few episodes of our new favorite show, An Idiot Abroad. (I love Carl Pilkington. The Jordan episode is my favorite.) Don’t worry, we had a very kind driver — we weren’t watching and driving.

The three amigos: me, Cheryl and Amy. We got a peek at her upcoming cookbook and it looks CRAZY amazing.

The ham sandwich of my dreams. This sucker is perfection.

This made my day — someone used a carousel horse as their balcony railing. So darn cool.

Two great DIY ideas from ARC in Savannah: a sweet yarn-and-nail sign and a ruler-bound notepad.

Our hotel (The Bohemian) in Savannah — it was so nice to be near the water and get some fresh air.

I loved the texture of this wall downtown.

A pretty bookshelf and clever tree carvings at Shop SCAD

I loved this bike shop’s sign . . .

Tiny pumpkin puree at The Paris Market Brocante.

Beautiful packaging on a scissor package (and candy-like thimbles) at Fabrika.

Heading to the beautiful SCAD lecture hall; the very friendly crowd that joined us.

Savannah at night — always a little spooky and romantic at the same time.

Suggested For You


  • Had a great time at the Charleston event and I have some of those little pumpkins from the store in Savannah. They make a great glass filler (and smell wonderful)

  • Glad you had great time in the south. Come back soon.
    Durham has plenty of wonderful things but, Lantern is in Chapel Hill, and Furbish is in Raleigh.

  • i hate that i missed the book tour! i had it on my calendar to sign up and somehow still missed reserving a spot! Glad you enjoyed Raleigh/Durham!
    Edit: Furbish studio is in Raleigh not Durham. :)

  • Hi. I now want to make a jeans-map of the US. What a GREAT idea!!! After all, what’s more iconically American than a pair of Levi’s?

  • Beautiful photographs!
    I will return to this post over and over until I can get there myself!
    Thanks for a lovely interlude in my day!

  • Maebelles House of beauty is right next to my work, Five Loaves Cafe. You should have stopped in! So sad I missed the book signing!

  • Any plans to come to Athens, GA? We have a brand new independent bookshop, Avid, that is fast becoming a pillar of our community. No anthropologies, of course, just local, independent shops and a great music scene. http://imanavidreader.blogspot.com/

  • ARgh! Just realized I missed you guys in Athens. For some reason it wasn’t publicized that much around town (and I was at work all day). So sorry, but glad you came to Athens and can’t wait to see the photo journal!

  • I wish I would have known you were in Asheville. I would have definitely come by and would have shown you around town. It is a wonderful place to live and I have lived in Philly, Savannah, Florence and New Orleans. Next time!

  • this is so close to my heart! i grew up near savannah + met and married my husband there (he was at scad) we have family in asheville and charleston. makes me a bit homesick this morning! ps–my son has the tiger hat. he LOVES it!

  • My heart dropped when my weekly scroll through your website presented a post about my hometown Savannah, GA. I lived literally around the corner from Arnold Hall (34th/Drayton) for 12 years and can just remember walking my beagle down this spooky/romantic, huge corner oak tree, moss- filled, cobblestoned street every day and night. Kind of tearing up! I left Savannah last year for CalArts. Being a native Savannahnian, I won’t outwardly mention that I’m not a fan of SCAD (65% acceptance rate: the hell? Great facilities though).

    Alas, Savannah, Ga knows what true love is.

  • some of the most wonderful cities i’ve ever been to! i just moved down to SC a little over a year ago but seeing these photos, a sense of familiarity washed over me that just felt like home. now i just need to make it up to asheville…

  • I live in Brooklyn now, but I grew up in South Carolina and spent a lot of time in Asheville, Savannah and Charleston. It makes me so happy to look at your pictures! It’s been too long since I’ve been back– no matter how long I live in NY, a special part of my heart will always belong to the South. Thanks for posting!

  • Tupelo Honey Cafe is AMAZING! So glad you went there while you were in Asheville! One of my favorite weekend get aways! I love your Savannah highlights. Can’t wait to be there next month again!
    And it was amazing to meet both Grace and Amy last night in Athens! Can’t wait to see the photo journal too!

  • These are great, Grace – thanks for posting! It was lovely meeting you in Asheville (or as I’ve dubbed it, the Austin of the Southeast ;) and swapping TX tattoo stories.

  • Hey, what’s with the no mention of Durham? What are we, chopped liver?


    • audra

      did you read the full post? it starts after the jump with durham. of course i don’t think that about durham. i wouldn’t organize an event there and fly down if i thought it was chopper liver. our tour post with images from the event will be up this week.

      i started by saying ” I definitely marked Durham as a spot I need to see more of when we’re done with the tour”


  • Wow. I was waiting for you to come to Durham, but never got the notice that you were coming. Now I’m wondering if you ever actually *were* in Durham. I don’t see Durham represented in any of your photos, nor really represented in your post. That’s a shame. Durham has so much to offer …

  • Grace,
    Saw the full page D*S annoncement by LaDifference in Richmond Magazine. Now I want to go to that talk as well, but decided that it would be too much like stalking since I am already going to the Norfolk book party. :-)

  • So glad to hear that you liked my denim USA map! Hopefully as much as I enjoy your wonderful blog. Thank you for including the amazing city of Asheville in your book tour.

  • I do hope you visit Durham again and get to see more of it. It gets a bad wrap, but it has changed so much in the last 10 years. You would LOVE the Scrap Exchange – right up your alley! Not to mention some of the best independent restaurants in the South such as Watts Grocery. And downtown Durham is going through a huge revitalization. Please come back soon – we’d love to show you what our town is all about!