The completion of the Western North Carolina Railroad in 1880 yielded the beginnings of the Town of Black Mountain, located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Just outside of Asheville, Black Mountain was previously known as Grey Eagle by its earliest settlers, the Cherokee peoples. Officially incorporated in 1893, the town is now a group tourism draw due to its proximity to both large and small attractions, as well as its walkable downtown.
“Black Mountain has been designated as America’s Prettiest Small Town by Trip Advisor and has also been designated as one of the Safest Towns in North Carolina,” said Pam Collins, director of sales at the Hampton Inn by Hilton in Black Mountain.
Spend the day in Downtown Black Mountain discovering the town’s art scene at the Center for the Arts and The Old Depot Gallery. Murals are also popular in the downtown area, with many painted on historic buildings.
“The arts community is vibrant,” Collins said. “Hand-painted rocking chairs are found throughout Black Mountain so guests can ‘sit a spell’ and just enjoy the beauty that surrounds them. Black Mountain has often been referred to as the ‘Back Porch of Western North Carolina’ and more recently referred to as ‘The Little Town that Rocks’ — literally.”
Dive into the art of coffee making at Dynamite Roasting Company. The locally owned roaster offers tours of its new production facility, where groups learn about how the coffee gets from “farm to kitchen.” End the tour with a coffee sampling.
Home to numerous locally owned boutiques, shops, galleries, restaurants and more, Black Mountain is a great place to enjoy small-town charm alongside lots of history, too.
“A large brick building in Downtown Black Mountain built as a family car dealership in 1946 still stands and now houses the amazing White Horse Music Venue,” Collins said. “The high curved wood ceilings work wonderfully for natural acoustics. This venue seats 140 comfortably and offers a variety of music, including jazz, blues, bluegrass, classical, pop, storytelling and more.”
The Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center — located in a 1912 fire house — offers guided group tours of its own facility as well as several other local establishments and surrounding regions. Both walking and windshield tours are available for the Historical Tour of Black Mountain. A tour around Lake Tomahawk and other areas are a great itinerary addition, too.
In addition, the museum boasts guided tours to “Rhododendron,” the previous estate of Rafael Guastavino — the Spanish architect commissioned to create decorative tile vaulting at the renowned Biltmore mansion as well as the ceiling of The Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville.
Asheville is also home to Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, featuring over 50 exhibitions. The college was a renowned U.S. institution that boasted Albert Einstein as a lecturer and board member. Explore more than 4,000 objects dating from the 1930s to the present. Black Mountain Center for the Arts is another top art stop with exhibits, concerts, special events, theatre and classes available throughout the year.
Looking for group dining options? Enjoy a themed, private meal at a Black Mountain venue. The updated 1896 Bed & Breakfast Restaurant at the Red Rocker Inn boasts upscale Southern cuisine, and Phil’s Bar-B-Que Pit is the spot for classic barbecue.
Newly opened in 2019, the Hampton by Hilton in Black Mountain is a top lodging option for groups, with one- to three-night itinerary samples available upon request. Bottled water and the famous chocolate chip cookies await the arrival of each group tour guest in their rooms.
Black Mountain is a four-season destination, with beautiful foliage to enjoy from the spring through the fall and a festively adorned downtown to experience during the Christmas season.
“Small towns offer charm, friendly faces and the ability to allow guests to step back in time,” Collins said. “‘The Little Town that Rocks’ welcomes groups to sit in a rocking chair, breathe the clean mountain air and enjoy the views.” Black Mountain is the perfect hub for Asheville, Biltmore, Chimney Rock and Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. For group tour planning and sample itineraries, contact Collins at 828-669-1000, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Explore more to do in Black Mountain at exploreblackmountain.com.