Food, music, hiking: What to do while exploring Black Mountain

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
The small mountain town of Black Mountain offers a variety of activities for visitors to the area.

Imagery of the small, mountain town of Black Mountain has been captured by many writers from Nicholas Sparks to Patricia Cornwell. If you're coming to Black Mountain for the first time or have lived here for years, here are some ways to enjoy the beautiful town and surrounding area.

The Black Mountain Visitor Center offers a variety of information as a starting point for exploring Black Mountain. From restaurants to local events and outdoor activities, the Visitor Center has the lowdown.

"Twenty five to 30% of the questions I field are people wanting to move to Black Mountain," said Sharon Tabor, director of the Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce. 

For locals, the Visitor Center also offers many volunteer opportunities to connect with the community. Opportunities include working in the community garden, organizing at the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, sorting food at Bounty & Soul and lending a hand at the First Baptist as well as the Presbyterian Church.

Locals and visitors alike can appreciate all the Black Mountain has to offer.

The Black Mountain Beautification Committee, which takes care of all the garden boxes around town, gardens in Town Square Park and a multitude of other projects also offers plenty of volunteer opportunities for gardeners looking to get involved.

Food, restaurants and eateries

Black Mountain boasts a broad range of restaurants, cafes and eateries in its downtown area.

"You've got Greek, Italian and South African and Chinese and Japanese and Thai," Tabor said. "We've got French and Argentinian and Cuban, and for a town this size, you've got very diverse dining options."

The Visitor Center provides information as to which restaurants have outdoor seating, cater to specific needs and of course, what is served. 

Many local restaurants — such as My Father's Pizza, located on Cherry Street and offering gourmet pizza and other classically Italian meals, Trailhead Restaurant & Bar, located on State Street and offering everything from tacos to burgers and sandwiches, and Louise's Kitchen, located on Black Mountain Avenue, offering Southern breakfast cooking — have become staples of the Black Mountain food scene, among others. 

Downtown Black Mountain boasts shops, restaurants and Town Square, a beautiful park space.

For a place like Louise's Kitchen, where diners are split evenly between visitors and locals, staff say seeing that local connection means a lot. Chrissa Gulotta, one of the restaurant's owners, said she's seen guests first come in as children and keep coming until they leave for college.

Open seven days a week, Gulotta said guests can count on Louise's Kitchen to provide consistent service for the community.

"We have so many guests that basically everyone knows by name," Gulotta said. "Locals are so important so we try to make sure that they know that they're really important to us."

Music, events and live shows

"There's always music somewhere," Tabor said, adding that the Visitor Center maintains a calendar of current and upcoming shows.

Venues such as White Horse Black Mountain, Pisgah Brewing Company and Silverado's host music and live shows throughout the year.

David Quinn, owner of Pisgah Brewing, said the brewery offers free live music every Thursday and Sunday. On the first Sunday of every month, the brewery hosts a Grateful Dead cover band.

"The other three Sundays are open jams," Quinn said. "We have rotating local musicians on Thursday nights."

Shows at Pisgah Brewing last from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Celebrating 17 years in business, the brewery began as only the fifth brewery in Buncombe County.

White Horse Black Mountain also hosts a multitude of performances including Celtic jams, blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll and open mics. With live shows throughout the week, White Horse maintains a full schedule.

"It's as eclectic as I can make it," said owner Bob Hinkle. "I like to like the acts myself because I have to listen to them all."

White Horse Black Mountain offers a wide variety of eclectic musicians in concert.

Upcoming shows at White Horse include a screening of the film "Remembering the Great Flood" on July 21, a weekend of blues and other jams July 23 and 24 and an open mic night on July 26.

If you're looking for art and culture, Black Mountain Center for the Arts hosts a variety of events from local art in its Upper Gallery to comedy shows, theater and concerts. The center's latest exhibit, Art from the Garden, is available until July 29.

BMCA also hosts classes and workshops for artists and creatives of all ages. Ballet, dance, pottery, music, visual art, yoga and theater number among the center's most popular courses.

Hiking and other outdoor activities

"About 50% of the people that come into the Visitor's Center want to go hiking," Tabor said.

The Visitor Center offers information on the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as a packet of roughly 70 trails reaching from Point Lookout to Warren Wilson. The center continues to incorporate new trails into its database such as those in Old Fort at Curtis Creek.

For those less inclined to wander into the woods but still want to enjoy a walk, Lake Tomahawk offers paved trails and natural scenery. The small, neighboring town of Montreat also has hikes of varying difficulty, from paved walking trails to steep climbs with impressive views.

Stop by the Visitor Center to stay up to date on events and happenings in and around Black Mountain.

In addition to hiking, the Black Mountain community enjoys other outdoor activities including running, biking and kayaking. Places such as WNC Outdoor Collective create a meeting space for outdoor groups and helps organize runs and other events for outdoor enthusiasts. 

"We focus on what we do as far as group rides, group runs, supporting the local community, doing workshops, meet ups that support the outdoor industry," said Lincoln Walters, owner and operator of WNC Outdoor Collective. "The outdoor industry being those who are enthusiasts."

Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at 828-230-3324 or emaille@blackmountainnews.com. Please support local journalism with access to more breaking news by subscribing.