bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

Two nights in Black Mountain, NC (visit #2)–Spring in the NC Mountains trip

We visited Black Mountain in early May 2024 as part of our short Spring in the NC Mountains trip. Read about our first visit in 2023 here.

Bugsy hiking on Lookout Mountain
hiking on Lookout Mountain

Black Mountain is just a twenty-minute hop east from Asheville, and even though we could easily visit while the Airstream is parked in Asheville, we love being based in Black Mountain for a couple days to fully experience all the fun the sweet little mountain town has to offer.

We did a pretty good job working through our to-do list, which mostly involved eating, with some drinking and hiking thrown in for good measure, and an hour or so roaming around the many cute and dog-friendly gift shops and antique stores downtown.


the view from the Airstream at Asheville East KOA
our pond view from the Airstream

We stayed for the second time at Asheville East KOA. It’s a pretty campground with a stream and two ponds a short drive from downtown Black Mountain. The KOA was busy when we arrived but they got us into our waterfront campsite early and quickly, which was nice because we were able to set up the Airstream and get cozy inside before the rain started.

Bugsy at sunset at the KOA
sunset at our picnic table

While our Black Mountain emphasis was on experiencing as much around town as we could, we also spent a good bit of time chilling at the picnic table at our awesome campsite.


foggy view from Lookout Rock
foggy view from Lookout Rock

The early rain let up a little so we headed up the hill to teeny Montreat for a hike up to Lookout Mountain and down Rainbow Road. We managed to stay pretty dry, but due to the low clouds, we didn’t get the big views from Lookout Rock; fortunately we’d been up there before in 2017. The climb up to the vista was tough, but the rest of the 3.5-mile hike was an easy path through beautiful woods.

Bugsy looking at the vista at Haw Creek Overlook
Bugsy was underwhelmed by the Haw Creek Overlook

Our second hike was also a pretty walk in the woods not too far from home, but the trail followed the Blue Ridge Parkway, and it was a bummer to be able to see and hear the road for most of the hike. We hiked the Mountains to Sea Trail from the Folk Art Center to the Haw Creek Overlook, a 4.7-mile out-and-back to cool rocks with a view of the valley below and Asheville in the distance. The vista wasn’t super inspiring, but we had a nice time. The Folk Art Center looked interesting, however Bugsy wasn’t allowed inside and we were starving after talking about tacos all morning, so we saved that for another time.


Based on our to-do list which mostly came from our friend Amy, we planned to eat dinner out both nights in town, and because that list was long, we ended up eating out for a lunch and a breakfast too.

dinner at the chefs bar at Pure and Proper
dinner at the chef’s counter at Pure and Proper

Our first dinner reservation was at The Pure and Proper, a beautiful little dining room in a 1940s service station. The food was top-notch: okonomiyaki, tuna, crispy chicken, burrata (especially the burrata), and service was friendly and attentive. We sat at the two-person chef’s counter with a front-row seat to the kitchen action, and the chef gave us a bunch of interesting local-ish recommendations: Heiwa for sushi in Asheville, Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton, and Terra Nova Beer Co near our KOA down the road in Swannanoa.

veggie-heavy dinner at Goldfinch
lots of veggies for dinner at Goldfinch

Next up was dinner at Goldfinch, Amy’s new favorite in town and another fantastic recommendation. We ate in the cozy little bar area because it was rainy, but they also have a big patio. The food at Goldfinch is simpler than at Pure and Proper but just as delicious: salads, bowls, tacos, and toasts, with local pork and trout options and lots of vegan options. The cocktails were also fab.

Bugsy begging for some of my Taco Billy taco
sorry Bugsy, no taco for you!

After hiking on the MST and dreaming about tacos, we zoomed straight to Taco Billy and ate lunch tacos on a nearby bench. Holy moly those are good tacos! Our favorite (for the meat guy too) was Good Lovin’, loaded with sauteed veggies.

picking up Cousins breakfast sandwiches
picking up Cousins sandwiches for the drive home

Finally, on our way out back to Virginia, we parked the Airstream on the wide street down by The Railyard and walked up to Cousins Cuban Cafe to pick up breakfast sandwiches. They were super yummy and super filling, and the pastries looked incredible. Next time I require a guava and cheese pastry!


beers on the lower deck at Black Mountain Brewing
beers on the lower deck at Black Mountain Brewing

Last time in Black Mountain we didn’t make it to Amy’s favorite brewery in town, Black Mountain Brewing, so that was our first beer stop in town. They have a nice two-story covered outdoor space (dogs are allowed on the first level), and a great beer for me: a PBJ sour! No pbj sour will ever be as good as the first one I had in Knoxville, but this one was tasty. J’s hazy IPA didn’t do it for him, though.

beers in the frontyard of Lookout Brewing
Lookout Brewing beers and trivia teams

So we moved on to a place where J knew he’d love the hazy IPA: Lookout Brewing. For this sour girl, the mango wit was good enough. It was trivia night at Lookout and the place was packed! We had fun playing along from a distance.

drinks outside at Foothills Grange
drinks overlooking the yard at Foothills Grange

But maybe the two coolest places for drinks in Black Mountain aren’t breweries at all. Foothills Grange is such a neat spot with fun drinks, smashburgers, and a big yard with a kiddie play area and lots of outdoor space for grown ups to hang out. (If you’ve been able to crack the safe there, please tell me the secret.)

bluegrass jam at the Railyard
bluegrass jam at The Railyard

And new to us, The Railyard is a huge indoor/outdoor event space with drinks and bbq. They have live music in the yard (along with yard games, and sometimes farmers and artisan markets) and we had a lovely time watching local bluegrass players.

latte and goody from Moments Cafe
my latte and goody from Moments

Coffee-wise, we randomly stopped at Moments Cafe in Swannanoa, just down the road from our KOA, because we were heading that direction to hike the MST. It’s a welcoming little cafe selling all sorts of coffee and tea drinks and holy cow the case of sandwiches and pastries was from a dream. We’d already eaten breakfast at home so I was able to resist a tofu scramble sandwich, but I gave in to the Coconut Date Power Bar. Yum!

To do

strolling Black Mountain's downtown
strolling downtown Black Mountain

We have two new additions to the list, plus the items carried forward from before. We hope to go back this Fall to check more things off!

  • Recess Coffee, a reco from Amy’s sister. Speaking of gorgeous pastries…
  • Terra Nova Beer Co in downtown Swannanoa (they also have a South Slope location in Asheville)
  • Trailhead restaurant has a good-looking menu and was packed on Monday night
  • Bush Farmhouse makes South African food using local ingredients
  • Bowl in the Wall, serving rice and noodle bowls


One response to “Two nights in Black Mountain, NC (visit #2)–Spring in the NC Mountains trip”

  1. […] fall quickie to the mountains trip. We also visited Asheville on this trip. Read about our second Black Mountain visit in May 2024 […]

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