August 30, 2023

The Guide to Black Mountain, NC: A Blend of History, Culture, and Natural Beauty

Picture by the lake in Black Mountain, NC by Aaron BurdenModern Manufactured Home Interior

4 questions to consider before buying a home

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Simple steps to buy a home successfully

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Consider your finance options, and then choose the best one available

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Make an offer with some wiggle room for negotiation

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Which other tips do you recommend when buying a home?

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Nestled within Buncombe County, in the heart of North Carolina, lies the picturesque town of Black Mountain. A captivating spot with a modest population of around 8,000, this quaint township forms a key part of the Asheville metropolitan area. Known for its historic train depot, the town draws its name from the formidable Black Mountain range — part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Southern Appalachians — that serves as its southern boundary.

Adorned with an eclectic mix of downtown shops, charming bed and breakfasts, and surrounded by Christian retreat areas like Ridgecrest and Montreat Conference Center, Black Mountain is a magnet for seasonal tourism. But no matter the time of year, this North Carolina gem is perfect for a relaxing escape, a home away from home, or even a long-term move to enjoy the slow pace of mountain life. 

History of Black Mountain, NC

Black Mountain, established in its current form on March 4, 1893, boasts a rich history that intertwines with the land's original inhabitants, the Cherokee. Its development was catalyzed by the construction of a road in 1850, followed by a railroad in 1879, turning this once quiet place into a major pathway for westward migration and commercial trade.

Originally referred to as Grey Eagle by the Cherokee and Catawba Native Americans who dwelled and hunted in this area, the early settlers were attracted to this land due to the adventurous spirit and rugged beauty of the encompassing mountains. With the eventual establishment of the town of Black Mountain, the area began to flourish. Its strategic positioning helped transform Black Mountain into one of the country's most prosperous and picturesque communities.

Numerous sites and structures within the town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Black Mountain College Historic District, Black Mountain Downtown Historic District, Blue Ridge Assembly Historic District, Dougherty Heights Historic District, Rafael Guastavino Sr., Estate, Intheoaks, Monte Vista Hotel, South Montreat Road Historic District, and Thomas Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church. The town also houses the Swannanoa Valley Museum and the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. 

Today, Black Mountain both retains its rich past and embraces the future, offering residents and visitors an opportunity to step back in time while enjoying a vibrant community and stunning natural landscape. From botanists and hikers to travelers and nature enthusiasts, Black Mountain's welcoming character, historic downtown shopping district, robust service sector, clean industry, and stunning mountain views attract people of all ages and backgrounds, creating a dynamic community that continues to thrive and captivate.

Places to Visit in Black Mountain, NC

Whether you’re in town for a short trip or a long stay, there is no shortage of venues to visit in Black Mountain, NC. Let’s explore a few.

Montford Park Players

When you find yourself in Black Mountain, NC, you'll discover a wealth of attractions that cater to a wide variety of interests. However, if you're a fan of classic drama and outdoor theatrics, you won't want to miss the Montford Park Players. As North Carolina's longest-running Shakespeare Festival, this remarkable group presents free theater under the stars throughout the summer. And don't worry — when the temperatures drop, the performances continue in various cozy venues around Asheville.

Each performance put on by the Montford Park Players promises to be a treat. They specialize in delivering professional-quality shows that focus primarily on the plays of Shakespeare. Imagine sitting under the twinkling stars, a gentle breeze rustling through the trees, as you're transported to Verona, Denmark, or magical Athens. Plus, the experience is made even better with the availability of wine, locally brewed draft beer, concessions, and outdoor food vendors. Groups aren't forgotten either – they are offered complimentary lawn chairs for a comfortable viewing experience.

Don't forget to reserve your spot at least two days in advance. Discounts are available for groups, and donations are graciously accepted to help keep the arts alive. Performances run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:30 pm from May through October. The best part? It's just a five-minute journey from downtown Asheville. So, if you're planning a trip to Black Mountain, make sure to add a night with the Montford Park Players to your itinerary for an unforgettable evening of drama and excitement under the open sky.

Shops Around Black Mountain, NC

Creativity and craftsmanship collide in the shops around Black Mountain, showcasing a wealth of regional talent across various mediums. Whether you're hunting for handmade jewelry, locally crafted pottery, bespoke quilts, or a bold piece of art, the independent stores of Black Mountain offer a shopping experience that is as colorful and varied as the mountainous landscape itself.

Mountain Nest Gallery

Black Mountain, NC is a haven for art enthusiasts, and the Mountain Nest Gallery is one perfect example. This gallery is a treasury of regional arts and crafts, connecting guests with over 100 talented local artists. Their impressive collection ranges from original oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings to fine art prints on both paper and canvas.

But it's not just paintings; the gallery also features handmade jewelry in silver, gold, and other fine metals, blown glass vessels, and functional pottery. Looking for something more unique? How about handmade wooden bowls, bark baskets, corn shuck dolls, and steel metal sculptures? If you're searching for a specific piece, the gallery works closely with its artists to fulfill your desires.

Chifferobe Home and Garden

If you're seeking something out of the ordinary, visiting Chifferobe Home and Garden is a must. Chifferobe is on a crusade to break the mold, advocating for an expression of personality that goes beyond the usual beige. At Chifferobe, you're encouraged to let your freak flag fly and trust your instincts. Each item in the store is handpicked, primarily from local artists and crafters, ensuring a collection that's fresh, beautiful, and unusual. Whether it's for your home or your wardrobe, you'll find pieces that reflect your unique style and taste.

Black Mountain Quilts

A cherished fixture since 2006, Black Mountain Quilts is a delightful combination of local charm and quality quilting craftsmanship. Located in the heart of Black Mountain, this shop supplies a variety of finished quilts, quilted accessories, and home decor. Looking for a made-in-the-U.S. quilt, wall hanging, baby quilt, or Amish quilt? Black Mountain Quilts boasts the largest selection in Western North Carolina. The store's collection features accessories and quilts with distinctive pattern designs, either machine or hand-quilted, using the finest bedding materials. And if you're seeking a local, hand-made quilt, look no further — they offer a fantastic selection made right in North Carolina.

Exploring these local independent shops in Black Mountain is a unique and enriching experience. Each store carries the spirit of the town and the creativity of its inhabitants, inviting visitors to take a little piece of Black Mountain home with them.

Outdoor Attractions in Black Mountain, NC

Brimming with awe-inspiring natural beauty, Black Mountain, North Carolina is a treasure trove of outdoor attractions. From tranquil lakes to challenging hiking trails, the town provides a plethora of experiences that allow you to immerse yourself in its stunning landscapes. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or just someone who loves to explore, these must-visit sites provide the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Lake Tomahawk Park

Lake Tomahawk Park, spanning a total of 16.3 acres, is a centerpiece of outdoor activity in Black Mountain. Created between 1933 and 1935, an 8.9-acre lake is nestled within this park, providing a serene escape for locals and visitors alike. The park also features a variety of amenities that cater to diverse interests, from an inviting pavilion and a fishing pier to tennis courts and horseshoe pits.

Whether you're seeking an invigorating walk or a leisurely stroll, the .55-mile trail surrounding the lake is an idyllic setting. The trail is the park's most frequented amenity, weaving its way around the beautiful landscape and offering breathtaking views.

For fishing enthusiasts, Lake Tomahawk itself is an alluring prospect, although adults are required to have a valid North Carolina fishing license. Children under the age of 14 may also fish, but they must be accompanied by a licensed adult. The park's pavilion, built in 1993, offers ten picnic tables and a small charcoal grill for those perfect family picnics. Lastly, the Black Mountain Pool, completely renovated in 2009, serves as a refreshing oasis on those hot summer days.

Graybeard Trail

Graybeard Trail is a challenging but rewarding outdoor adventure in the Montreat area, near Black Mountain. Founded as a retreat center in the 1890s, Montreat has since evolved into a college and conference center for the Presbyterian Church. But its steep, wooded trails still offer breathtaking views of the Black Mountains' peaks, also known as the Seven Sisters.

As you embark on the 4.8-mile trail from the trailhead to the summit, you'll find yourself immersed in a lush hardwood forest. The first leg of the journey takes you across a wooden bridge and up a series of switchbacks that offer increasingly magnificent mountain views. Along the way, you may choose to take a short spur trail to Graybeard Falls, a relatively small but charming waterfall.

The latter half of the hike is a steep climb but leads to the intersection of three trails, including a short spur to the Graybeard Summit. The scramble to the summit is well worth it, offering breathtaking views of Mount Mitchell and several other 6,000-foot-plus peaks. The trail is particularly popular in the fall for its vibrant fall foliage and ideal hiking temperatures. Remember, this trail is long and strenuous, so come prepared with plenty of food, water, and adequate planning for daylight hours.

Places to Eat in Black Mountain, NC

With Black Mountain's array of outdoor attractions, you'll find no shortage of adventure and tranquility here. Whether it's a leisurely stroll around Lake Tomahawk or the invigorating trek up Graybeard Trail, these gems of nature offer an unmatched connection with the outdoors. Black Mountain is truly a testament to the majesty of the Appalachian region, a place where nature and adventure seamlessly blend together.

After a long day exploring the exquisite trails and natural beauty of Black Mountain, your stomach might start to rumble. Well, we have some splendid news for you. Black Mountain, NC, isn't just a haven for outdoor enthusiasts; it's also a foodie's paradise! Offering a delightful mix of culinary delights, this charming town is a gastronomical playground where local and international flavors merge to tantalize your palate.

The Bush Farmhouse

The first place we would like to take you is The Bush Farmhouse. Opened in 2021, this delightful establishment celebrates the vibrant flavors of South African-inspired cuisine using locally prepared ingredients and fresh produce from their garden. They even cater events, bringing their unique spirit to any gathering.

The Bush Farmhouse offers an eclectic range of dishes, from the hearty Bushman breakfast to the exotic Durban curries. Each item on their menu is a testament to their culinary prowess. With a mix of traditional and innovative dishes, there's something to satisfy every taste bud at this exquisite eatery.

Cousins Cuban Cafe

For those who have a palate for Cuban cuisine, Cousins Cuban Cafe is a must-visit. Born out of a deep love for Cuban culture and cuisine, this cafe offers authentic Cuban dishes. Using family recipes passed down through generations, they strive to deliver a taste of caribbean culture to the Black Mountain community. As such, their menu boasts a variety of unique delicacies. Each dish is a flavor-packed journey to Cuba, and each cup of coffee is a rich experience waiting to be savored.

The Trailhead

Lastly, we recommend you visit The Trailhead. The brainchild of Michael Flanigan, a seasoned restaurant veteran, The Trailhead presents a broad menu spanning from comforting bar food to sophisticated seafood dishes. Committed to quality and freshness, their food is cooked fresh and to order, and they proudly serve a range of locally sourced produce. From a selection of mouth-watering appetizers to their extensive range of burgers and sandwiches, their dishes celebrate the local ingredients of Black Mountain.

In conclusion, Black Mountain, NC is more than just picturesque trails and breathtaking scenery. It's a treasure trove of culinary delights where each restaurant tells a unique story through its food. Whether you're craving South African cuisine, yearning for authentic Cuban dishes, or looking for a diverse menu with locally sourced ingredients, you'll find it all in Black Mountain. After a day of adventuring, treat yourself to the town's eclectic culinary scene — you've certainly earned it!

Moving to Black Mountain, NC

After tasting the culinary delights and exploring the stunning trails of Black Mountain, NC, you might find yourself falling in love with this captivating town. Maybe you're even pondering the thought of making it your permanent home. If you're yearning for a life surrounded by the mesmerizing beauty of nature, close-knit community ties, and high-quality living standards, Black Mountain may be the place for you.

One of the town's main attractions is its strong sense of community. This makes for a diverse mix of people and perspectives, contributing to a rich, lively community culture that's as warm as it is inviting.

Moreover, living in Black Mountain, NC doesn't mean compromising on educational standards. The public schools here come with high ratings, offering excellent educational opportunities for young residents.

If you're looking for the perfect place to move within Black Mountain, the MCM Community of Laurelwood stands out as an excellent choice. It encapsulates all the qualities that make Black Mountain a fantastic place to live — from its friendly, welcoming atmosphere to the stunning natural beauty that surrounds it. When you choose to make Laurelwood your home, you're not just moving to a new house — you're becoming part of a vibrant community in one of the most beautiful settings in North Carolina.

In conclusion, whether you're a retiree seeking a peaceful haven, a young family looking for a vibrant and safe community, or simply someone who has fallen in love with the charm of Black Mountain, moving here offers an unparalleled lifestyle. The town's culinary scene, scenic beauty, highly-rated public schools, and strong community ties — particularly in neighborhoods like Laurelwood — make it a wonderful place to call home.