By Hope S. Philbrick
When you hear that the folks behind one of Atlanta’s best restaurants decide to take over a boutique hotel in a small town a few hours away, it’s certainly worth checking out.
That’s how my husband and I ended up spending a weekend in Black Mountain, North Carolina. It was our first visit: We’re sure to return.
In May 2019, Southern Proper Hospitality acquired Monte Vista Boutique Hotel, located just outside of Asheville. Together with a few local partners, they have updated the historic hotel and transformed its dining room into the second location of their scrumptious Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails—and it’s arguably now the best restaurant in Black Mountain.
Nestled into a remodeled lobby and dining area, Milton’s offers a menu of Southern comfort food by Executive Chef Montae Hauser. If you’re familiar with the Atlanta location (which is technically in Milton, Ga., not Atlanta proper), the menu feels familiar with its “seed-to-fork” approach and creative dishes inspired by seasonal ingredients. (In Atlanta, Executive Chef Derek Dollar harvests from the on-site garden that grows 90 varieties of heirloom fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The tradition will continue with a garden at Monte Vista Boutique Hotel that will supply the restaurant with produce and offer additional outdoor seating.)
The Monte Vista Boutique Hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019. Guestrooms are spacious and comfortable in a homey way. The location of the hotel is fantastic: You can walk out the front door and reach historic downtown Black Mountain, a charming community filled with boutique shops, galleries, and independent restaurants. You’ll also spot several rocking chairs scattered around on sidewalks and porches as open invitations to sit, relax, and gaze at the mountains; the motto here is “the little town that rocks.”
On the evening of our arrival we ate dinner at Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails. The menu offered so many tempting options and everything that we ordered tasted so yummy that we also ate there again the second night of our stay. Start with a Mountain Sipper (vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, prosecco) or Bramble On (gin, crème de cassis, vanilla, lemon juice). Nibble on Deviled Farm Eggs, Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters, and/or Tomato Corn Tart. Dig into Tagliatelle pasta with Bolognese sauce, shrimp & grits, or Southern fried chicken. Save room for dessert like the lemon poppy seed cake or signature carrot cake.
Black Mountain was named “Prettiest Small Town Vacation in America” by TripAdvisor. There are enough art galleries and boutique shops to keep you busy for a weekend getaway. There’s also hiking and mountain biking nearby. The annual Sourwood Festival is a great time to visit if you enjoy craft festivals, local honey, and live musical performances.
21 Point Inspection…
1. Adults Only/Odds of Encountering Children—The hotel lures more adults than families.
2. Parking—Free and plentiful.
3. Clean—Non-smoking property. Guestrooms have floors not carpets.
4. Space—Our Queen guestroom was spacious. For storage it had a small closet, one suitcase rack plus a wall unit (built of IKEA Billy bookcases) with open shelves.
5. Kitchen(ette)—No coffee maker or ‘frig in the room.
6. Coffee/Tea—Serve yourself at the complimentary breakfast station set up at the bar each morning. A hippie/hipster coffee shop is a short walk away from the hotel.
7. Glassware/Ice—Available at the bar.
8. Tub/Shower—Traditional bathtub/shower combination.
9. Temperature—There’s no thermostat in the room but there is a ceiling fan with a remote control.
10. Linens/Mattress—Linens were in excellent condition and the bed was bouncy.
11. Hooks—The bathroom offered 2 towel bars.
12. Hair Dryer—Available upon request.
13. Window Treatments—Shades offer privacy.
14. Seating—Our Queen room was furnished with a bed plus a small table with two chairs and an additional small wicker chair.
15. Work-Friendly—Free Wi-Fi.
16. Outlets—Recharge with ease.
17. Pet-Friendly—Yes. Confirm details when making a reservation.
18. Service—Staff members are friendly and helpful.
19. Pool/Hut Tub—None. But local art is on display in the hotel/restaurant plus Red House Studios & Gallery is next door.
20. On-Site Amenities—Complimentary bottled water. On-site fire pit. Covered front porch. On-site garden. Near mountain biking. Walking distance to downtown shops and restaurants.
21. Accessibility—One first-floor room available with a walk-in shower for guests with mobility issues. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rates from $150/night.
Monte Vista Boutique Hotel
308 West State Street
Black Mountain NC 28711
Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails
The Black Mountain location is open for dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays. Brunch is served on Sundays.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Southern Proper Hospitality for hosting our visit.