A Charming Mountain Town Is Born
The town of Black Mountain was first named Grey Eagle by the Cherokee people, who inhabited the land for twelve thousand years. In the late 1800’s, the town expanded into the bustling mountain oasis that it is today when the railway began training tourists in from neighboring, but notably much warmer, Southern towns.
The town was soon renamed “Black Mountain,” after the rail stop (and nearby mountain range). The addition of the railway and its associated influx of new people and ideas spurred on the development of the picturesque village that we know and love today.
Architectural Masters Leave Their Marks
Agriculture and tourism were the main industries of the area in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, but as neighboring Asheville grew, Black Mountain’s beauty was appreciated by some of the greatest architects of the time, including Raphael Guastavino, one of the architects of Grand Central Station and the Biltmore House.
Guastavino set up residence about a mile from Sweet Birch Commons, where he had a working farm, vineyards, pottery business, and Spanish-style chateau. The esteemed architect was not alone in loving Black Mountain. E.W. Grove of the Grove Park Inn and Grove Arcade set out to make the first modern housing development near Lake Eden.
Little Town Charm and Big City Accessibility
Sometimes referred to as “Dark City,” Black Mountain continues to evolve into a quaint yet versatile village. Because the area is steeped in a reverence for the natural world and creativity, the pedestrian-friendly downtown exudes Southern quirkiness and Appalachian character with a flare that is unique only to Western North Carolina.
With over forty shops, thirty delicious eateries, and three craft breweries, you don’t often have a good reason to leave Black Mountain, but if you wanted to venture further afield, it’s only a 20 minute ride in the car to the much-celebrated Appalachian city of Asheville. For the best cup of joe around, however, just stick around and try local favorites Dynamite Roasting Company or The Dripolator. Montreat, tucked to the north of Black Mountain, is accessible only through the heart of Black Mountain, and is home to beautiful Montreat College, a private, Christian, liberal arts college with public hiking trails and meandering playgrounds for little ones. There are a variety of conference and retreat centers in town, so while Black Mountain is small and cozy, it’s a confluence of ever-present local personalities and visiting travellers of all sorts passing through and soaking up the scenery