The spirit and music of the mountains is alive and well at Asheville’s White Horse at Black Mountain. The White Horse is as unique as the little town in which it is located. It is a music and arts venue in a converted Chevrolet dealership building in the center of the Black Mountain township. Don’t let the township part fool you—Black Mountain is within the metropolitan area of Asheville, only about fifteen miles from the Arcade. The mountains of Western North Carolina are full of music and stories, and the White Horse provides a place to showcase and preserve them. It is a family friendly listening venue, where people can see and hear music and watch live performances. This is not a honky-tonk or late-night bar. In fact, performances start around 7:30 or 8:00. The emphasis is strictly on listening to music. And while mountain music is an important part, White Horse embraces all genres, spoken art and other live entertainment—including classical music, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, songwriters, Native American performers, poetry, storytelling and more. Their 16-foot-wide screen and High-Definition digital projector is used to show films and video content to enhance live performances. While the emphasis is listening and watching performers, they do have bar service and snacks—serving fine beers on draft and bottled as well as a selection of fine wines, soft drinks, coffee, and tea.
Unfortunately, as of March 1, 2021, the facility had not yet resumed performances shut down due to COVID-19. To determine if they have resumed operations, check their website at https://whitehorseblackmountain.com/.
Even if the White Horse venue is temporarily shut down, the town of Black Mountain is not, and it is a great place to spend a day. Downtown streets are lined with independent shops, restaurants, art galleries, artisan eats, music halls, and breweries. There are over 40 shops, 30 restaurants and three breweries— food, both in doors and sidewalks, plus art, crafts, and music. And the town enjoys typically mild weather year-round even in winter. And as readers of my stories from Applewood’s Rocking Chair Porch know, I am a consummate rocker, so I fell in love with the little town the minute I spotted all the rocking chairs scattered throughout the place—inviting visitors to sit a spell and enjoy the scenery. The town is surrounded by the towering beauty of North Carolina’s Black Mountains
The town’s arty twist is not an accident. It was home to the Black Mountain College from 1933 to 1957 when the college closed due to funding problems. In its time, it was one of the most highly respected and innovative experimental art colleges in the U.S. The college and renowned faculty attracted creative and talented artisans from across the country who began to move to the region. Its influence lives on today and Black Mountain remains an artist’s mecca. While the school only remained open for 24 years, its influence on American arts and crafts has been profound. In 1993, The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center opened in downtown Asheville to preserve the important legacy of the college. Even if you never make it to the town, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the museum at 120 College Street.