Not only is the small Western North Carolina mountain town of Black Mountain a beautiful and charming locale, but it was actually named America’s Prettiest Small Town in 2017 by the folks at TripAdvisor. That’s saying a lot too, with some of the stiff competition it faced across the country. But, what won them the contest and what’s won over the hearts of hundreds of travelers that have passed through is its mix of small-town pride and good old-fashioned Southern hospitality.
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Although Black Mountain is technically a part of the Asheville metropolitan area, it has a welcoming and unique vibe all its own. With only approximately 8,000 residents in population and a total area of just over six miles, it is the epitome of a small Carolina town. Which means you’ll find a quaint downtown area here that features plenty of shops and more than 30 restaurants, as well as three different breweries.
Since it’s also referred to as “the little town that rocks,” you’ll find dozens of rocking chairs that have been decorated by local artists and businesses scattered throughout the downtown area.
Because of the heavy presence of talented artists and musicians in the area, you’ll also find dozens of galleries and craft shops displaying their wares, including jewelry, ceramics, glassware and furniture. There are also several venues in town where you can catch a live music performance including the Town Pump Tavern or White Horse Black Mountain. Pisgah Brewing Company, one of the town’s breweries, also has an outdoor stage that features both local and national artists.
There’s also a rich history in the Black Mountain area that history buffs will enjoy exploring at places like the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and the Swannanoa Valley History Museum. The College’s Museum celebrates contemporary art, while the history museum recognizes the cultural heritage of the Swannanoa Valley region.
Of course, no visit to Black Mountain would be complete without some time spent outdoors taking in the beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although the scenery is pretty beautiful all over town, make sure to take a short trip outside of the downtown area and visit the city park at Lake Tomahawk, where you can hike a half-mile trail that offers amazing views of the Seven Sisters peaks and Graybeard Mountain.