Last Updated on May 17, 2023
For more than 130 years, Montford’s wide throughway has pulled residents, businesses, and tourists from nearby downtown into its tight-knit neighborhood. Now a registered historic district, Montford is filled with beautiful public spaces and immaculately restored homes. Nonetheless, there are many attractions and activities to be found in this condensed community.
Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing, Montford offers many opportunities to Live Abundantly in WNC. Here’s a quick itinerary to build a dreamy weekend in the beautiful Montford Historic District of north Asheville, NC.
Friday evening in Montford
Check in at your B&B
A dozen charming Victorian bed and breakfasts are scattered throughout the Historic Montford neighborhood. Together, they house more than 250 beds for visitors to the area. Whether you’re looking for period furnishings, gardens, or even waterfalls, there’s something for every taste. Many also offer complimentary breakfast during your stay.
Each B&B also comes with its own stories of years past. For instance, Carolina B&B (177 Cumberland Avenue, pictured above) was once a boarding house owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. George Webb. According to the site, “Their son, David, began his career as a jewelry designer in the cottage on the property and went on to great success and acclaim in New York City.” Among David Webb‘s clients were Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Barbra Streisand, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Walk up for comfort food
Located inside the Montford Convenience Store, the Montford Deli (231 Montford Avenue) calls itself an unfussy counter-service joint. But their small-batch, family-run restaurant knows how to do comfort food right. They dole out a variety of sandwiches, burgers, wings, and desserts. They also offer weekday specials that are sure to make you salivate. The deli offers counter service only, so be ready to grab your food to go.
Picnic in the park with the Players
A rose by any other name is not as fun as this! While you’re in town, don’t miss a performance of the Montford Park Players. North Carolina’s longest-running Shakespeare troupe has been in operation since 1973. The Players hold performances in Montford’s Hazel Robinson Theater (92 Gay Street) on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays while in season. Their focus is on traditional and modern interpretations of Shakespearean plays. But they also perform original works and other well-known plays. Bring your own bottle of wine and picnic snacks (or purchase food and drinks there), and enjoy a tradition that stretches back nearly 50 years.
No performance scheduled for tonight? Check out the 4.1-acre Montford Park, located in the heart of the neighborhood. The city park has a basketball court, playground, restrooms, a picnic shelter, two lighted tennis courts, and a concession stand. You can often spot tai chi or yoga groups making use of the grassy hillsides.
Saturday in Montford
Start your day at All Day
All Day Darling (102 Montford Avenue) is the neighborhood’s popular standby for fresh-baked pastries, hearty breakfast plates, market-focused salads, and tasty sandwiches. Their family-friendly, cozy digs offer indoor and patio seating. Start the day with a signature hot or iced drink, like their Miel latte (honey, allspice, salt, espresso, milk). And enjoy a great conversation with community locals.
At the top of the Montford neighborhood sits the Asheville Visitor Center (36 Montford Avenue). It’s your go-to source for Asheville postcards, t-shirts, and gifts, as well as any information you could want about the city and surrounding region. Volunteers are on hand throughout the day to answer your questions about the city. You can also purchase Biltmore Estate tickets, jump on one of several local tours (see below), or “power up” at their electric charging station.
The Asheville Visitor Center shares a building with the Lenoir-Rhyne Graduate Center. Their state-of-the-art learning space has full-time, terminally-degreed faculty to direct the graduate programs, mentor students, and develop community partnerships. The Center currently enrolls more than 200 students in 12 programs and is becoming known for its leadership in key community initiatives.
Take a tour
Want to learn more about the history of the area, including Montford’s connections to the world’s first flapper, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald? There are many ways to tour Montford and Asheville’s other interesting districts. The Gray Line Trolley Tours of Asheville (pictured above) leaves directly from the visitor’s center. They offer riders the chance to jump off at any stop and jump back on later, giving you a great chance to explore Montford and the rest of the city. If you want to add a little boogie to your day, LaZoom’s comedy tours offer several opportunities to see the city—with a twist! There are also dozens of walking tours, segway tours, historic tours, haunted tours, brewery tours, and more.
Walk to where the action is
From the top of Montford avenue, it’s just a few steps to the heart of Downtown Asheville. This district is filled with shopping, entertainment, and many of the city’s 30+ independent microbreweries. Catch a show at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, see the latest exhibit at the recently renovated Asheville Art Museum, or wander into one of the many street festivals that take place downtown every year.
If it’s a good view that you seek, don’t leave the neighborhood. The Montford Rooftop Bar at the top of Hyatt Place Asheville/Downtown (199 Haywood Street) offers quality cocktails and apps that are rivaled only by the long-range views. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the sunset.
Come together over dinner
Since 2008, Nine Mile (233 Montford Avenue) has offered a casual and eclectic, Caribbean-inspired menu in the heart of Montford. (The local restaurant also has locations in West and South Asheville.) Their menu is sure to please everyone in your party. Many of Nine Mile’s pasta and rice dishes are vegetarian friendly, and generous dinner portions are sure to satisfy. Try the self-titled Nine Mile (grilled jerk chicken or tofu, fresh ginger, and fire-roasted vegetables over linguine or basmati rice) and pair it with one of their custom Caribbean cocktails. But don’t forget to save room for locally made desserts!
Sunday in Montford
Hit the high points at brunch
Five Points Restaurant (258 Broadway Street) sits at the edge of Montford. But it offers a casual brunch that’s sure to please. The delicious diner has been a community staple for nearly 50 years. Locals have flocked there for classic breakfasts and local fare, as well as Greek and Italian dishes, since 1974. And the third-generation Greek family that owns it sure knows how to serve up quality gyros, moussaka, pastitsio, and spanakopita. Yum!
Walk it off
After a filling brunch, you’ll need a little bit of light exercise. Luckily, with a wide main thoroughfare, sidewalks, and its own selection of attractions and parks, Montford offers many walking opportunities. For instance, Reed Creek Greenway runs along Montford’s eastern edge and leads to the Botanical Gardens at Asheville.
Learn about the district’s architectural history from History at Hand: Historic Montford Tours (pictured above). Or stroll through Historic Riverside Cemetery (53 Birch Street), a Victorian rural garden cemetery that’s more moving than morbid. While you’re there, pay tribute to any of a number of Asheville celebs, including authors Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry, photographer George Masa, artist Kenneth Noland, and Lillian Exum Clement Stafford, the first woman elected to the North Carolina General Assembly.
Take a breather
Montford was originally home to Highland Hospital, a sanitorium for “for mental and nervous disorders.” Today, the neighborhood is still home to quality behavioral and therapeutic clinics. The Pisgah Institute (158 Zillicoa Street) is the largest, most comprehensive behavioral health practice in the region. They provide a wide variety of mental-health treatments in a home-like atmosphere. For something a little more hands-on, so to speak, book a session with Daoist Traditions College Acupuncture Clinic (382 Montford Avenue). They offer a variety of acupuncture and Chinese medicine services.
Plan your next trip to Montford
Once you’ve seen Montford once, you’ll want to visit again—we guarantee it. Plan your next trip for May, when Montford residents come together for the annual Montford Music & Art Festival. This unique festival typically features more than 100 hyperlocal vendors, 20 groups performing across two stages, and a children’s area. If running is your passion, the Hot August Night 5K is also a great annual excuse to return.
Spend every weekend in Historic Montford
Do you seek the warmth and energy of Downtown Asheville, but the words “new” and “condo” aren’t quite your speed? The Historic Montford neighborhood is just a few short blocks away. Most of Montford’s 600 buildings were built between 1890–1920. Victorian, Queen Anne, and Arts and Crafts styles combine with Neoclassical, Colonial Revival, and castle-like motifs. The result is an overall complex quality of designs and artistic talent. And yet, Montford is so much more than beautiful old homes. It boasts a tight-knit community with beautiful public spaces and thriving community connections.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Find your dream home in Montford now!