The Blue Ridge Mountain town of Hendersonville blends outdoor adventure with Main Street charm, retail therapy and rich history to create a must-visit destination. Six special-interest trails allow visitors to create custom itineraries.
Hendersonville has long been known as apple country. As people become more interested in where their food comes from, local orchards embrace agritourism, inviting visitors to pick their own apples, take hayrides through the trees and enjoy fresh-pressed cider and apple confections. The Crest of the Blue Ridge Orchard Trail showcases orchards, roadside markets and farm stands that are particularly popular during apple blossom season in the spring and harvest season, which runs from late August through October.
Apples aren’t the only crop in Hendersonville. The Farm Market Trail lists five farmers markets across the county offering an abundant selection of fresh food. The Henderson County Curb Market has been a Hendersonville tradition since 1924. In addition to local fruits and vegetables, customers can purchase eggs, meats, cheeses, herbs, jams, jellies, honey and baked goods. In the spring, annuals, perennials and vegetable transplants are available to set out in flowerbeds and gardens.
Artists have a special attraction to the mountains of Western North Carolina. The beautiful scenery and quiet tranquility make these hills and valleys a favorite place for practicing fine art and fine craft. Follow the Art Gallery Trail to find handmade jewelry, blown glass, pottery, sculpture, metalwork, paintings and more. From downtown shops on Main Street to small, tucked-away studios, these galleries exhibit the many talents found in Hendersonville and provide opportunities to purchase one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Some of Hendersonville’s finest crafters express their talents through quilting. The Quilt Block Trail guides visitors to colorful, patterned blocks that hang on the side of barns, buildings and businesses. The quilt blocks honor the craft of quilting and often tell the stories of the places where they hang through their patterns and colors. For example, the block on the old icehouse building has ice tongs worked into the pattern, and the block at the humane society thrift shop has puppies and kittens. This trail has the added benefit of showing off some of the mountain peaks, gurgling creeks and sprawling farms that make up the county’s scenic tapestry.
In recent years, Western North Carolina has become known for its handcrafted beer, wine and hard cider. The Cheers! Trail outlines Hendersonville’s producers of artisan spirits. The area is particularly known for hard cider with three cideries operating in the county. Bold Rock Hard Cider, the largest craft cidery in the country, has a state-of-the-art pressing barn, cidery, taproom and food truck in the rural Mills River community. The trail’s three wineries serve a variety of dry and sweet styles made from estate-grown grapes. Hendersonville also has seven craft breweries, from small, local joints to the palatial East Coast headquarters of Sierra Nevada Brewing.
Officially chartered in the 1840s, Hendersonville is steeped in history. The Heritage Trail puts together a collection of historic buildings, museums and heritage sites to tell the story of the town and educate visitors about the past. Connemara, once home to the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Sandburg, displays his extensive library and continues the operation of his wife’s dairy goat barn. Oakdale Cemetery contains Wolfe’s Angel from “Look Homeward Angel” by Thomas Wolfe. Flat Rock Playhouse, the state theater of North Carolina, produces high-energy performances nearly year-round.
Hendersonville makes it easy to tailor your Blue Ridge Mountain experience to match your interests. Pick a trail, map your route and let the adventure begin. Free trail brochures are available at the Hendersonville Visitor Center, or they can be downloaded at www.VisitHendersonvilleNC.org.