Heading To North Carolina? Here's How To Spend 48 Hours In Black-Owned Asheville
Photo Credit: TN

Photo Credit: TN

Heading To North Carolina? Here's How To Spend 48 Hours In Black-Owned Asheville

black owned business , Asheville , United States
Spencer Jones
Spencer Jones Jun 28, 2022

The Culture contributed heavily to Asheville and that continues to this day. This charming city is well-known for its art galleries, thriving culinary scene, and architecture; a blend of Art Deco, Neoclassical, and Art Beaux. Speaking of architecture, Asheville is home of the Biltmore House, the largest, privately-owned home in the US. It is also home to many Black-owned businesses.

While lovely all year round, Asheville in the summer appeals to those who enjoy the outdoors. Explore Asheville lists “swimming, hiking and biking” as ideal activities for the season, not to mention the festivals and outdoor events.

Like every other American city, the Black experience in Asheville has historically been a mixed bag. An article published in AFAR stated, “Black Americans maneuvered around racist policy and practices to create vivid community life and scores of eateries, barbershops, fraternal lodges, artisans, and liquor houses.”

Here are some Black-owned businesses and other sites you can enjoy in Asheville.

1. Day 1 - Morning

 

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Grind AVL was ranked the third best coffee shop in North Carolina in 2021.

They believe that coffee can bring people together and spark conversation. Enjoy a cup out on the terrace when the weather is nice, or indoors when it isn’t.

When in Asheville, be sure to check out its natural attractions. You can go zip-lining or cool off in the refreshing waters in Pigsah Natural Forest. You’ll find Sliding Rock there–a natural water slide that is fun for the whole family.

2. Day 1 - Afternoon

Satisfy your sweet craving at one of these two Black-owned dessert establishments.

T.B.M Smallcakes is owned by a Black family and offers some of the best cupcakes in Asheville. You’ll find it in the shopping center in Biltmore Town Park Square. Their gourmet cupcakes come in 14 flavors, and are baked fresh daily. Ice cream and cakes are also available.

Asheville Cake Lady is so small that it’s easy to miss. The “Crunch” cakes are a hit; available in strawberry, Neapolitan, red-velvet, and carrot.

3. Day 1 - Evening

 

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Who says bagels are only for breakfast? They slap any time of the day. Head to Tiger Bay Cafe for tasty bagels, paninis, waffles, and much more. Please note that only take-out and delivery are available at present.

4. Day 2 - Morning

 

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For more of the great outdoors, be sure to add the Blue Ridge Mountains to your itinerary.

Take a drive along Blue Ridge Highway, one of the most treasured in the country. You can also bike there, just be careful.

According to Explore Asheville, “the 469-mile scenic road passes right through Asheville and serves as your gateway to outdoor adventure.”

5. Day 2 - Afternoon

 

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Spice and Tea Merchants of Asheville is a Black-owned tea authority. They sell loose tea, spices, mugs, and more.

Check out some huge murals showcasing Black figures in Triangle Park. There are a few picnic tables and benches there.

6. Day 2 - Evening

Stroll through The Block in downtown Asheville, where Louis Armstrong used to perform in the 1950s. Black businesses thrived there starting around the early 1900s, before urban renewal pushed many of them out.

In an interview with Afar, Asheville native Jefferson Ellison said this regarding the shifting demographics of area:

“The Block is probably the best-case scenario for what you want a city like Asheville to become. A place that we can honor the fact that it is historically Black, and while gentrification does exist, there are still Black businesses there that are doing well and thriving. They are co-existing with white-owned businesses who are aware of the space that they filled in and are attempting to do what they can to honor that.”

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