Just 15 miles from Asheville is the quaint town of Black Mountain, nestled in the mountains and overflowing with charm. That small town feeling makes for a relaxing day trip of hiking, shopping or enjoying a leisurely lunch at one of their restaurants or cafés. We did just that the other day and took in the beautiful mountain views on the quick drive into town. With a history steeped in the arts, Black Mountain has lots of art & craft galleries to browse through as well as artists studios and unique gift stores. From the 1930s until the 1950s Black Mountain College brought the focus of American culture and arts to the mountains of North Carolina with a dazzling array of artists and thinkers associated with the college. John Cage and Buckminster Fuller taught there and Albert Einstein served on the board of directors to mention just a few. Fuller’s Geodesic Dome was created there.
Black Mountain is still a hub of creativity in a peaceful, slow paced way. I could have stayed all afternoon in the dulcimer showroom and workshop where Terry Read Smith crafts beautiful instruments. I particularly loved his richly toned and intricately carved hammered dulcimers. His sister was demonstrating and instructing a customer on a mountain dulcimer at the time and I couldn’t leave without buying one of Terry’s own CDs. Their shop is aptly called Song of the Wood.
Antique stores and gift shops drew us in as well, and we couldn’t miss the old fashioned general store. It was almost warm enough to eat on the lovely patio at the Black Mountain Bistro. Instead we lingered over lunch within a glassed-in area of the restaurant that gave us the views and feel of the patio.
After lunch we explored the neighborhoods, admiring some of the older homes, (our weakness!). We’ve always been hooked on Victorian and Arts & Crafts architecture. We took a lovely stroll around Lake Tomahawk before heading home. All in all, a relaxing getaway for a few hours.
If you go, don’t forget the Black Mountain Music Scene as well. In addition to outdoor festivals such as the Lake Eden Arts Festival, Groovin on Grovemont, Park Rythyms at Lake Tomahawk, the local clubs offer a wide range of live music drawing fans from around the area.
You can find more photos of Black Mountain in our photo gallery.