BHM ’24! 5 Reasons to Visit The Foundry Hotel In Asheville, North Carolina’s African American Business District

By   |   February 29, 2024   |   Travel
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A historic restoration of Asheville, North Carolina’s former steel foundry, The Foundry Hotel is nestled in the heart of The Block neighborhood, Asheville’s oldest African American business district. Here are five reasons to visit this year!

Explore Asheville’s Industrial Legacy

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The Asheville Supply and Foundry Company in North Carolina was established in 1915 and produced steel and other supplies used to build area landmarks, such as Biltmore House, the country’s largest home, and Asheville City Hall. After decades of vacancy after its closing in 1950, The Foundry Hotel was developed in November 2018, preserving the rich history and architectural charm that defines this iconic structure. Every corner of the hotel tells a story of Asheville’s industrial past, with original features such as the pulley elevator, exposed beams and industrial-style windows, serving as reminders of the city’s transformation into the epicenter of Southern Appalachia. For visitors, exploring The Foundry Hotel means immersing themselves in Asheville’s industrial heritage, experiencing firsthand the craftsmanship and ingenuity that defined the city’s growth and development. 

Support a Renaissance of Black Businesses on The Block 

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The Foundry Hotel offers a prime location to visit significant cultural landmarks such as the expansive BlackLives Matter street mural in Pack Square, the YMI Cultural Center , which is one of the nation’s oldest African American institutions dating back to 1893, and Noir Collective AVL, a retail space inside the center for Black entrepreneurs, artists and social activists. Shoppers can connect with various Black-owned small businesses, such as Different Wrld, an underground arts collective and performance space in West Asheville, or Healed Skin and Candle Co., where groups can craft personalized candles that transform into luxury skin care.   

Honor Asheville’s Black History

In collaboration with Hood Tours, led by local historian DeWayne Barton, guests at The Foundry can learn the narratives of those who worked and lived in The Block that played an influential role in developing Asheville’s remarkable history, art and culture. A portion of proceeds from the tours is devoted to community reinvestment and generating economic support for African American-owned businesses while building on strengths intrinsic to the community.  The Foundry Hotel’s Workshop Lounge hosts  Noir Collective AVL’s “First Fridays” events, where the craft cocktail bar and lobby become a vibrant hub for artistic expression and community engagement. Travelers can also walk on the newly unveiled Asheville Black Cultural Heritage Trail, a self-guided experience created to honor and preserve the rich heritage of Asheville’s Black community. With two trail markers located just outside the hotel, the path’s highlights range from sites and stories of well-known landmarks to the unsung heroes and underrecognized achievements and contributions by the Black community in the past.   

Discover Asheville’s Multicultural Festivals

From newly launched events to long-standing celebrations, Asheville’s multicultural festivals celebrate Black joy, resilience and entrepreneurship. Conveniently located within walking distance to numerous galleries and theaters, guests at The Foundry have easy access to these dynamic cultural experiences, making it the ideal destination for both art enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike. Among the city’s annual highlights is GRINDFest, a celebration of Black entrepreneurship, which will be held in the River Arts District May 24 through 26, 2024, and Asheville’s Juneteenth Festival, a chance for all communities to celebrate Black freedom.  

Indulge in Natural Scenic Beauty

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Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is home to thousands of miles of hiking and biking trails and dozens of waterfalls eagerly awaiting the opportunity to help travelers go off the grid. Nature enthusiasts looking to take in the fresh air and wide-open spaces can enjoy camping trips in the picturesque Pisgah National Forest or enjoy a local libation at one of the city’s booming breweries. Groups can indulge in mindful rejuvenation at The Foundry, courtesy of its partnership with Asheville Wellness Tours. Whether it’s finding inner peace through Vinyasa yoga atop a mountain peak or experiencing the healing powers of sound therapy in an Asheville salt cave, the city’s natural pursuits are endless. 

photo credit: courtesy Foundry Hotel, Asheville Media Center

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