Destinations: Hendersonville

A ‘just right’ getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Picking a destination in the Blue Ridge Mountains sometimes mirrors the experience of a Goldilocks fairy tale. Some places are too big. Some are too small.

Sky Top Orchard

Then you come across Hendersonville, North Carolina, and realize it’s just right. Hendersonville has emerged from the shadows of nearby Asheville with possibilities as wide as its Main Street sidewalks.

Visitors to Hendersonville find a vibrant town that’s home to gorgeous waterfalls, scenic hiking, and a landscaped Main Street full of shops, boutiques, restaurants and inns. There are 25 restaurants in the downtown area, all of which are independently owned.

Broadway-style shows are available at the famed Flat Rock Playhouse, the official state theater of North Carolina, and the arts are celebrated at Connemara, the former estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Sandburg.

Hendersonville is the county seat of Henderson County, the largest apple producing county in North Carolina. Apples are important to the fabric of life, especially in fall when folks from all over the Southeast flock to dozens of orchards to pick their favorite apples at the peak of ripeness.

Recently, the apple industry has taken on new importance with the emergence of hard cider. Hendersonville now leads the way in hard cider production with the nation’s largest craft cidery, Bold Rock Hard Cider. And while Asheville gets the accolades for its craft beer scene, Hendersonville holds its own with the East Coast headquarters of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, as well as a handful of other breweries making award-winning ales.

Next time you’re looking for a cool getaway from the Lowcountry, a visit to Hendersonville could very well inspire that Goldilocks “just right” feeling in you.

What to Do

Make tracks to Main Street
It’s easy to spend a day along Hendersonville’s Main Street. The serpentine street is landscaped with flowering brick planters, park benches and spacious sidewalks that allow for dining alfresco. There are art galleries, museums, restaurants and shops, plus an aquarium, public art and two breweries.

Jump Off Rock

Explore the outdoors
Enjoy an abundance of hiking, biking and paddling. The most popular place for hiking and biking is DuPont State Forest. It has dozens of miles of trails and some of the most scenic waterfalls in Western North Carolina. For perhaps the best view in the North Carolina mountains, Jump Off Rock is just a 15-minute drive from Main Street. The spacious rock is perched on a mountain ledge with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains. Lazy Otter Outfitters rents kayaks and tubes on the French Broad River.

Check out the Cheers Trail
If you love craft spirits, this is the place for you. Visitors to Hendersonville can choose from a selection of 16 different tasting experiences along the Hendersonville Cheers Trail, which leads to 10 breweries (Burning Blush, Blue Ghost, Dry Falls, Guidon, Mills River, Sanctuary, Sideways Farm, Sierra Nevada, Southern Appalachian and Triskelion), three wineries (Burntshirt, Point Lookout and Saint Paul), two hard cideries (Appalachian Ridge and Bold Rock) and one meadery (World’s Edge at Point Lookout Vineyards). Pick up the trail map at the Visitors Center.

Hilton Head Island to Hendersonville, N.C
Duration: 292 miles (4 hours, 41 minutes)

Where to Eat

Never Blue
Jesse Roque is Hendersonville’s rock-star chef, producing an eclectic and delicious tapas-style menu with worldly flavors. Located on Main Street, Never Blue rolls up its garage-door front façade on pleasant evenings for sidewalk dining.

Back on Main Street, Mezzaluna specializes in modern Italian with fine entrees, wood-fired pizzas and homemade pastas, plus 50 taps for craft beverages. Patrons choose between an interior that is bright and colorful, or sidewalk dining in a cozy enclave.

Season’s at Highland Lake Inn
No visit to Western North Carolina is complete without a classic meal in a cozy, wood-paneled restaurant overlooking a mountain lake. Season’s offers this and more, with a chef-driven menu of classics interspersed with modern twists.

Where to Stay

Charleston Inn

Charleston Inn
Lowcountry visitors will feel at home in this Victorian Inn on North Main Street. It was founded in the late 1800s as a cool respite for Charlestonians during steamy summers. A few years ago, new owners renovated the bed and breakfast and restored its original name.

The Henderson Inn
Just one block west of Main Street is the historic Henderson Inn. The 17-room inn is on the National Register of Historic Places, yet also offers the comfort and conveniences of modern times. There’s even a restaurant and bar on site.

The Henderson Inn

Brightwaters Vacation Rentals
These modern, clean and affordable cabins are perfectly situated for exploring DuPont and Pisgah forests, Asheville, Brevard and Hendersonville. In the winter, rates drop as low as $95 a night. Bungalow 207 and the rest of the cabins are on a quiet cul-de-sac in a small, private subdivision.

Bed & Breakfast at Tiffany Hill
Located in the countryside, this luxurious inn is a Select Registry property and a member of the Southern Living Hotel Collection. The inn is known for pampering guests, including the daily three-course Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Great Times To Visit

Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend
(April 16-19)

MainStage season at Flat Rock Playhouse

Garden Jubilee
(May 23-24)

Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk

Music on Main, Fridays

U-pick apple orchards

North Carolina Apple Festival (Sept. 4-7)

Home for the Holidays
(Nov. 1-Jan. 1)

Details:, 800-828-4244

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