Recipient of the first CEC certification for a town in North Carolina and the US, Black Mountain and the Swannanoa Valley want businesses to know they are welcome. People are friendly and accepting, in part because so many people come and go from the area, thanks to seven large conference centers that nestle in the surrounding mountains.

The area includes two colleges, some large institutions and dozens of local businesses that wouldn't move anywhere else. Black Mountain has an active arts and music scene year round and is only 20 minutes from Asheville with all the amenities and night life of a larger mountain city. 

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