One of the places in Asheville that's most overlooked by visitors is the magical little village of Montreat, just north up the hill from Black Mountain and about 30 minutes from downtown Asheville.
It's not a village in the traditional sense. It's a 100-year-old-plus Presbyterian college and big-time retreat/conference center. Perched on the side of a mountain with a small creek running through its center and a lake off to one side, Montreat's 50-or-so buildings make a setting that time almost has forgotten.
Twenty-one hiking trails run through the property's 4000 acres. In the summer months, there are paddle boats, canoes, and tennis. The inn and conference center's dining room is open to the general public and there's a general store for refreshments and souvenirs.
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