Laidback Black Mountain, sixteen miles east of Asheville on I-40, hosts the hugely enjoyable Leaf Festival (theleaf.org), a folk music and arts and crafts gathering, held in mid-May and October. Showcasing Appalachian and world folk music, it attracts major European and African musicians. There’s little to do here otherwise, but the town has a few good music venues, restaurants and coffee shops.

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