Photo by Sam Dean
In the shadow of Mount Mitchell lies one of Western North Carolina’s most charming, and arguably most underrated, small towns: Burnsville. Shops, restaurants, and, of course, breweries radiate out from the town’s epicenter, a lush town square. Less than an hour north of Asheville, it’s an easy day trip, but you might want to stay longer.
Pig & Grits
620 W Main St.
It wouldn’t be a small Southern town without a great barbecue joint. Slather your pulled pork, brisket, chicken, turkey, or ribs with one of five regional sauces or a seasonal sauce. What really sets Pigs & Grits apart is its Smokehouse Breakfast, perfect for fans of downhome eating.
Garden Deli / Snap Dragon
107 Town Square
You might miss the entrance to Garden Deli, hidden behind a wall of verdant vines and foliage. But once inside, you’ll find an oasis hocking classic deli sandwiches. The back of the restaurant hides Snap Dragon, “a nautically themed gastropub honoring Burnsville’s namesake, Captain Otway Burns” and his War of 1812 ship, the Snap Dragon.
8 W Main St.
Fuel up for a day of exploring at the centrally located Appalachian Java. Grab a cup of joe or a specialty brew (you might want to try a chai latte made with local AppalaChai!), and pair it with a fresh-baked pastry.
Homeplace Beer Co.
321 W Main St.
Known for their farm-to-pint beers brewed with ingredients sourced from Yancey County, Homeplace—right on Main Street—is a must-visit for craft beer aficionados. Try a flagship, like the English-style Biscuits n’ Gravy ESB (Extra Special Bitter), or something seasonal, like the Blackberry Bucket, a Gose infused with fresh strawberries from Yancey County’s Davis Farm.
Events on the Town Square
The Town Square is truly the epicenter of Burnsville, and it’s where locals gather to celebrate all kinds of occasions. Upcoming next weekend, Aug. 6 & 7, is the lauded Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair. Check out more upcoming events on the square.
Hike Mount Mitchell
Mount Mitchell is the highest summit east of the Mississippi, and it is Burnsville’s greatest claim to fame. The summit is actually easily accessible from a parking lot, but if you’re up for an adventure, there are miles and miles of trails to explore in the Mount Mitchell State Park. There’s also a museum, campground, and restaurant.
Explore the Arts
Burnsville is known for its arts scene. If you stick to the downtown area, there are plenty of galleries to explore. But we suggest hitting the road and checking out artist studios in rural Yancey County, part of the Toe River Arts. Check out this online map, and take the winding backroads to meet the artists. Check out the Quilt Block Trails along the way.