Located at 2,405 feet elevation from the sea level, only fifteen miles away from Asheville, Black Mountain is a quaint, charming small town in North Carolina.
The small, fun town is a perfect place for relaxation with lots of outdoor activities, art galleries, handicraft stores, breweries and eateries, museums, unique tours, and day trips.
Black Mountain is named after the mountain range that stands over the town and looks delightful with architectural designs that were erected mostly during the mid-twentieth century.
It’s an artistic haven with art, music, poetry, painting, flowing through the culture.
Even today it is considered an artist’s Mecca with several galleries displaying some of the most excellent forms of southern Appalachian art and crafts.
With Black Mountain’s breathtaking mountain views, the thrilling charm of a small town, and warm southern hospitality, this place gets the status of the ‘Best small town in the Western NC’.
Black Mountain is also considered one of the best small, pretty towns in the USA for a vacation.
Robert Lake Park
A candidate for one of the best playgrounds in Western North Carolina, Robert Lake Park is a perfect getaway spot from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It has loads of playground equipment spread out across and around rocky streams of water with many small pools, boulders, and stepping stones, making wading shoes a must for the children.
Also a great picnic spot, it is surrounded by lush greenery and lets children explore the park as some sort of an adventure.
It’s a pleasant hike, even for kids, starting a little steep and then trails down gently.
There is a lake nearby, with boats and canoes and many small shops too.
Swannanoa Valley Museum
Formerly a fire station designed by Richard Sharp Smith in 1921, the Swannanoa Valley Museum now houses and displays the social and cultural history of Buncombe County.
The museum proudly features an archive of traveling exhibits, photographs, and ephemera.
Opened in 1989, the museum conducts monthly hikes to introduce places of significant historical importance in the valley.
Apart from the building itself, there are many hiking trails that lead to historical areas nearby.
There is a yearly temporary exhibition on their first floor along with their permanent exhibit on the second floor in which they explore the rich history of the valley.
White Horse Black Mountain
Originally a Chevrolet dealership, the founders of White Horse Black Mountain Bob Hinkle and Kim Hughes turned it into a hub of arts and music.
It is now at the heart of all music and art in Black Mountain.
A hosting site for concerts, theater, storytelling, and poetry, most events here are family-friendly with convenient parking and ticketing.
A no-smoking venue, the White Horse performance center tends to have events lined up for each day of the week.
It’s a place for budding musical artists to showcase their talent while viewers relax in the open seating with drinks and snacks served on site.
Discover Downtown Black Mountain and Shop the Local Stores
Downtown Black Mountain is filled with many local shops, art galleries, eateries, and breweries, offering tourists a memorable shopping experience.
Named America’s prettiest small town boasting of more than forty shops and thirty restaurants, the quaint village of Black Mountain is perfect for a casual, relaxing stroll.
This town was once a hub for the arts and the art galleries in town will tell you of its heritage.
You can enter many independent shops ranging from the old Town Hardware and General store opened in the 1920s which houses nearly about everything.
Dancing Dragonfly, Europa Gifts, or the Tyson Furniture Company, span across an entire block.
Red House Studios and Art Gallery
With an abundance and national recognition for its arts and crafts, Black Mountain carries a rich art history.
Housing the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League, the Red House Studios and Gallery, located next to the Monte Vista hotel has been the center of the art community in Western North Carolina.
Founded in 1967 by Mary Gilbert, an artist from Pennsylvania, the SVFAL was an attempt to form a community of artists from nearby, and sometimes even as far as Morganton.
The house itself is a two-story building with three galleries and seven studios, a gift shop, and a classroom.
The Red House was originally a farmhouse of historic importance and was turned into the SVFAL headquarters with much effort from the community and the then-new owners of the Monte Vista.
Folk Art Centre
If you enjoy ethnic art and vintage artwork, this is the place to be.
The Folk Art Centre in Asheville nearby serves as a home to diverse handicrafts made by members of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild on a venue extended above the Blue Ridge Parkway.
It displays two floors of magnificent glassware, furniture, ceramics and, woven artifacts, all made by hand.
There are regular demonstrations by the artists for a first-hand experience.
The center consists of three galleries, an auditorium, a craft library and, the Allanstand craft shop, the oldest continuously operated craft shop in the nation.
Few of the 3,500 exhibits date back to the beginning of the 20th century.
It also houses the Eastern National Bookstore and Information Center. Admission and parking come free as well.
Hiking the Trails in Black Mountain
The mountains bordering Blue Ridge offer an excellent activity spot for those who are fond of hiking.
Walking, camping, fishing, and hiking are commonplace in nearby locations such as Lake Lure at Chimney Rock State Park, just 30 minutes from Black Mountain.
For more avid hikers, there are plenty of trails nearby Montreat.
One of the more famous ones is the Graybeard Trail.
Recommended for experienced hikers and spanning about six hours, this difficult trail leads you to a breathtaking view of Mount Mitchell along with several other peaks.
Another popular trail offering a view of the Seven Sisters mountain range, and a wonderful picnic spot is the Lookout trail in Montreat.
Just 0.4 miles from Black Mountain, Lake Tomahawk is a reservoir accommodating ducks and geese during the migration season.
A wonderful spot for bird watching and photography, this is a nature lover’s paradise.
You can walk a half-mile trail with a grand view of Graybeard Mountain and other peaks.
It consists of a lake surrounded by a park, all spanning 16.3 acres.
There are facilities like a children’s park, tennis courts, and a bridged walking trail.
There is a pavilion for picnicking and fishing is allowed with a North Carolina fishing license.
Boating can also be done on the lovely waters with non-motorized boats.
The park stays open from dusk to dawn and has an ideal wide and flat path for runners.
You can see Black Mountain’s famous Seven Sister mountain range which spans around 3.5 miles and ends with the Graybeard Mountain summit, which doesn’t fall under one of the Sisters.
Another scenic trail east of Asheville is the Catawba Falls Trail.
A moderately difficult trail, it is located inside the Pisgah National Forest.
With a magnificent view of Catawba Falls, the trail is a sight to behold in itself.
About 20 minutes off in Old Fort, the hike is a 3 mile trip in all to see a 100-foot waterfall.
What’s a vacation in a small town if can’t enjoy some farm-time and scenic beauty?
Craggy Gardens offer a remarkable floral view along the 469 miles long Blue Ridge Parkway.
Visitors can view seasonal exhibits showcasing the natural history of the region.
There are also choices like hiking the Craggy Pinnacle trail to enjoy a spectacular view of green peaks.
You could also arrange for a picnic amidst the natural beauty, or visit Mount Mitchell located nearby.
It's the highest point on the east of Mississippi. Its wildflower tunnel offers a scenic drive when in bloom.
A mere 15 minutes from Black Mountain is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, spanning 8,000 acres.
The noteworthy property consists of acres of splendid gardens, a winery, conservatory, farmyard, and many other such nooks to be explored.
The 250 room estate attracts thousands of tourists each year.
Built in a Châteauesque architectural style, visitors can also stay in the estate if they wish to.
Even wandering the grounds and soaking in the architectural magnificence along with the stunning artwork of this world-renowned property is a joyful experience.
Most of the time, there is some event happening on the grounds, ranging from flower displays to Christmas candlelight tours.
Restaurants and Breweries
Black Mountain might be small in size, but there has been no stone left unturned to satisfy every visitor’s taste.
Encompassing over 35 restaurants and three breweries it is safe to say that Asheville is not called the ‘Beer City’ without reason.
The Lookout Brewery, established in 2013 by beer lovers John Garcia and his parents, sells over 80 types of beer.
Visitors can watch the beer being brewed or choose to taste some beer in the tasting room.
Another popular brewery is the Pisgah Brewery, 10 miles east of Asheville.
They have been making their all-organic beer since 2005.
Pisgah’s Pale Ale has become a must when talking of beer in North Carolina, since its conception.
In summer, their taproom is known for hosting live music and special events from time to time on the Pisgah Brewing outdoor stage.
You can even go on one of the breweries’ free tours or buy a little souvenir over at the gift shop.
Located near Pisgah, is Black Mountain Ciderworks and Meadery.
Here, you can find dry ciders and meads, made by fermenting the choicest heirloom apples and the finest local honey.
The founders, whose meadery was once an old furniture factory, began home brewing as a way to find replacements for the other highly sweetened options.
Black Mountain Brewing is another instantly recognizable building, owing to its gorgeous Roberta Flack wall painting.
Established in 2017, they believe strongly in a sense of community and give everyone their “Third Place” at their brewery.
The Flack mural with 1937 written demarcates her birth in Black Mountain and was made by Nurkin in his series of 23 North Carolina musicians.
For those with a craving for something sweet, there is “Hey Hey Cupcake”, a charming shop run by a pair of sisters since 2012, “Sweet! On Cherry Street”, “The Hop”, for some handcrafted ice cream, or the “Four Sisters Bakery” at Red Rocker Inn.
Creative Mountain Food Tours
For food enthusiasts with not enough time to go to each eatery individually, there are the Creative Mountain Food Tours.
About 2.5-3 hours long, these yours take visitors on a guided walk to five or six local eateries and dessert shops for tasting food and beverages.
Accompanied by small bits of history and trivia about Black Mountain and its culture and history, their tours are both educational and filling.
It also gives you a chance to socialize with the locals as guests get to chat with local restaurant owners, chefs, and guides.
The Biltmore Village, near Biltmore Estate, was built by George Vanderbilt to act as a self-sustaining and independent community, with peoples’ workplaces and necessary amenities all nearby at hand.
Currently, it includes several art galleries like the New Morning Gallery which has been hosting American handmade craft items since 1973, or the Southern Highland Craft Gallery.
The Craft Gallery has been showcasing the traditional and contemporary craft of over 800 artisans from the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the second oldest craft organization in America for the past 90 years.
Visitors can satiate hunger pangs at The Cantina or The Tree and Vine in Biltmore village.
LaZoom Comedy Tour
The most wonderful way to get to know Asheville is to get on the LaZoom Comedy Tour bus.
The company educates and entertains the visitors with their hilarious tour guides, bizarre skits, all while touring downtown Asheville with the most quirky jokes on the side.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the wickedest humor of your life, all while learning about this lively place.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial, coincidentally also his childhood home, was eternalized in his autobiography “Look Homeward, Angel” in which he portrays his hometown Asheville, North Carolina.
The house has retained almost all its original features and has a museum and visiting center highlighting his life’s work adjacent to it.