Black Mountain

Black Mountain: Bursting with shops and eateries in quaint brick buildings, Black Mountain looks and feels like a storybook village brought to life. Nestled in the Swannanoa Valley, the town first rose to prominence as a stop for tourists traveling to Mount Mitchell by train, and later by automobile. Modern travelers will also find it a charming place to explore.
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County: Buncombe
Population: 7,950

If you’re craving a hearty and delicious meal, look no further than Louise’s Kitchen. Located in the historic Stepp House, one of the oldest structures in town, the restaurant serves home-style favorites with an emphasis on using local ingredients. The tasty grit cakes, topped with tomato, spinach, and a creamy Sriracha-based sauce, are the most popular item on the menu. 115 Black Mountain Ave.; (828) 357-8088;

Save room for dessert at Hey Hey Cupcake, owned by sisters Courtney King and Gabriel Dash. Try the Bonita Margarita, which offers a twist on key lime pie. 102 W. State St.; (828) 669-2253;

Fortified with a cupcake (or two), head next door to AnTHM Gallery for an eclectic blend of fine and functional art and jewelry, as well as cute, casual women’s clothing. Snag a pair of vibrantly-colored enamel earrings by Jolie Atkins, or brighten your home with a recycled glass pendant by Glow 828 Lighting Company. The gallery will celebrate its anniversary September 14 with a show featuring paintings by Bill Boyd, works by outsider artist Phil Arrington, and jewelry by Susan Sorrentino. 100 1/2 W. State St.; (828) 419-0049;

A landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the Monte Vista Hotel offers a storied place to sleep. Two years ago, the circa-1937 structure underwent extensive renovations that play up its vintage charm. Many of the rooms are appointed with quilt-dressed beds and the owners’ antique finds to create welcoming, comfy quarters. Along with the hotel’s restaurant, Palate, and bar, The Fitz, the lobby serves as a second venue for AnTHM Gallery, with the focus on fine art. The gallery and hotel hold a reception with live music and drink and dinner specials the first Friday of each month. 308 W. State St.; (828) 669-8870;   

While you’re there
Cups o’ Joe: Dripolator Coffeehouse and Dynamite Roasting Company offer prime locations for catching a buzz. Dripolator, 221 W. State St., (828) 669-0999; Dynamite Roasting Company, 3198 U.S. 70,

Frosty Pint:  For an adult beverage, head to newly opened Lookout Brewing Company. 103 S. Ridgeway Ave.,

Browse: Mainstay Tyson Furniture Company offers an entire block of showrooms. Shop for fine art, pottery, and jewelry at Seven Sisters Gallery. Tyson, 109 Broadway St.,; Seven Sisters, 117 Cherry St.,