While Asheville is typically the go-to when it comes to a trip to the mountains, there are several lesser known mountain towns that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are four mountain towns that are within an easy drive of Charlotte and have plenty to offer making them perfect for a quick getaway:
Located only 15 miles from Asheville, Black Mountain is a quaint mountain town that’s full of both charm and character. Nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Black Mountain has a lot to offer visitors with a mixture of antique stores, specialty craft shops, boutiques, and art galleries full of works done by local artists. There are also more than 35 delicious restaurants and eateries to choose from in town, ranging from bakeries and chocolate shops to pizza joints and a seafood restaurant. (I suggest grabbing lunch at the Veranda Cafe & Gifts — their sandwiches are definitely worth writing home about.) Along with plenty of places to eat, you’ll find a few craft breweries in Black Mountain including Pisgah Brewing Company and Lookout Brewing Company. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter there’s also Black Mountain Cider Works and Meadery to try. Additionally, the town is home to a number of popular hiking and biking trails including Lookout Trail, which is a moderate hike that’s about 1.1 miles and offers incredible views from the summit of Lookout Mountain. If you plan to stay overnight be sure to book a room at one of the local bed and breakfasts like the historic Red Rocker Inn or Inn Around The Corner to get the full Black Mountain experience.
While it’s mainly known for its famous annual apple festival, the small town of Hendersonville has a lot more to offer than just apples. Its historic Main Street spans six blocks and is lined with specialty shops, museums, an aquarium and even a Mast General Store that’s full of old-fashioned candies, outdoor provisions, gifts, and more. Local attractions include the Hand’s On! Children’s Museum, historic railroad depot, Mineral and Lapidary Museum, and the Western North Carolina Air Museum. Other area attractions include several popular breweries, cider works, and wineries. Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards and Burntshirt Vineyards are local favorites that both offer beautiful views and a wide array of wine selections.
Situated at 4,118 ft. above sea level, Highlands offers visitors the perfect location to literally cool off during the scorching summer months, but it’s only one of the many reasons to visit the beautiful resort town, which is full of luxury inns, upscale dining options, and top-notch boutique shopping. The town’s Main Street has a wide array of art galleries, boutiques, elegant shops full of antiques, and impressive restaurants. For the ultimate day of pampering visitors can book a treatment or two at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa, which offers luxe services like customized French facials and stone massages. There’s also no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy in the Highlands with more than a dozen hiking trails to enjoy, countless waterfalls to visit, guided fly fishing trips, and scenic overlooks to visit. For a day out on the links there are several country clubs and championship golf courses for golfers to choose from in the area including the Cullasaja Club, which was designed by Arnold Palmer.
The small town of Morganton is just a little over an hour’s drive from Charlotte and is completely worth the trip. The town is home to one of the most photographed courthouses in the state, a charming town square that hosts several live music events and festivals throughout the year, a number of historic museums, and Lake James State Park. The town also boasts a thriving craft brewing scene with several breweries including the original Catawba Brewing Company, Sidetracked Brewery, and Fonta Flora. Close by you’ll even find South Mountain Distilling Company, which produces whiskey, rum, and even moonshine, as well as the Defiant Whisky Distillery. The town is called Nature’s Playground for a reason — there’s countless ways to get outdoors and stay active with 10 public parks to enjoy, several hiking and biking trails, an expansive greenway system, zip lining at Catawba Meadows Park, and if you’re really feeling a little adventurous take a short drive over to Thermal Valley Inc. to hang glide! Morganton’s close proximity to several of North Carolina’s most notable landmarks like the Linville Gorge, Wisemans View, Table Rock, and Linville Caverns is an added bonus.