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Black Mountain: A Small Town with Deep Artistic Roots

Located just 15 miles east of Asheville, Black Mountain welcomes with an enticing blend of small-town hospitality and creative vibes. The charming town overflows with natural beauty and a rich art history. During the mid-twentieth century, it was known as an artist enclave thanks to the historic Black Mountain College—an experimental and highly respected art college that closed in 1957. Today, Black Mountain’s thriving art community still remains and can be enjoyed with inspiration from the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.

Blue Ridge Craft Trails Sites

A lifelong passion for music led violinist Kate Rickenbacker to found Rickenbacker Violins in Black Mountain. Her studio produces handmade instruments in both traditional and original designs. Open by appointment only, her studio caters to music lovers and celebrates the town’s vibrant music scene.

Housed in the town’s former courthouse and jail, Black Mountain Center for the Arts is a historic landmark. It’s a perfect starting point for experiencing the town’s art scene. The space is open year-round and offers artistic classes and workshops, public exhibits, concerts, festivals and more.


Mountain Nest Gallery is a must-see for those wanting to immerse themselves in the local art scene. Located in downtown Black Mountain, the locally owned gallery showcases the work of more than 100 Western North Carolina artists. Pieces range from decorative pottery and original paintings to jewelry and blown glass.


A true local art story, Sarah Sunshine Pottery was the result of a successful class at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. Today, potter Sarah Vekasi showcases her functional pottery adorned with her signature glazes at her cheerful storefront in downtown Black Mountain.

A bustling world of artistic creativity lies behind the doors of the Red House Studios & Gallery. Home to the Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League, guests can find classes, artist studios and art galleries filled with local art.


Not to Miss

  • Foothills Grange showcases locavore flavors with their house-ground hamburgers, secret recipe hot dogs, specialty sandwiches, famous tallow fries and craft beer. The family-friendly eatery features covered picnic tables, a patio, and a kids’ play space with dirt piles and Tonka trucks.
  • The Railyard is an up-and-coming community hub that offers a memorable trifecta of food, music and beer. Smashburgers, craft beer, a full bar and weekly live music make this the perfect downtown hangout.
  • Dive into local history at the Swanannoa Valley Museum & History Center. Located in a historic former firehouse, the museum is home to a variety of exhibits about Buncombe County.
  • Artist Benjamin F. Long IV’s fresco at the Chapel of the Prodigal at Montreat College is a must-see for art enthusiasts. As an American artist, Benjamin studied fresco painting in Italy as the apprentice of Maestro Pietro Annigeni. Benjamin then created numerous masterpieces throughout North Carolina. View his interpretation of the prodigal son parable in the church’s sanctuary.
  • Immerse yourself in nature at Lake Tomahawk Park. The 16.3-acre park features a scenic lake, walking trails, playground, pavilion, fishing pier, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and more.
  • Music lovers will feel at home at Acoustic Corner. The spacious shop features a beautiful collection of acoustic guitars, mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, violins, cellos, bass, and more.

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The Regions of the Blue Ridge

In planning the best use of your NC mountains vacation days, know that the region can be divided into three sub-regions for ease of exploration:

Far West

  • Cherokee
  • The Nantahala Gorge
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park


  • Asheville
  • Hendersonville
  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • The waterfalls of Transylvania County
  • Many more highlights

High Country

  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Linville Falls
  • Boone
  • Blowing Rock
  • High northern mountains


  • Mt. Airy
  • Lenoir
  • Elkin