Visit Hendersonville, NC
Take a seat in the charming Hendersonville, NC
In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina good food and warm hospitality are a tradition that locals cherish and extend to visitors. Hendersonville is a small town that best exemplifies these Southern charms.
A vibrant downtown is anchored by a curvilinear Main Street lined by shops, flowering planters, public art and surrounded by charming communities and acres natural forest and farmland. Restaurants that source directly from local farmers are a sign of the area’s rich agricultural heritage.
Hendersonville has always been a vacation destination. In 1820, the Buncombe Turnpike brought visitors from the South Carolina Low Country who sought refuge from sweltering summer heat in the cool climes of the Blue Ridge. Today many stately homes from centuries past serve as elegant bed-and-breakfasts, and retreat centers allow world-weary travelers to reconnect with nature.
Downtown Hendersonville is home to 25 independently owned restaurants. Shine is a standout. The place has a speakeasy vibe thanks to its exposed brick and low lighting. The rooftop bar offers views of Main Street and the mountains beyond. Everything is made from scratch. The menu is described by the chef as New American with French flair. The creative cocktail menu features both classics and house specials like the Corpse Reviver, a favorite gin beverage.
North Carolina’s barbecue is well-known. The Hubba Hubba Smokehouse, located in Flat Rock, serves some of the best in the area. Open-air dining is a great way to enjoy the smokey aromas of wood-fired pits as diners tuck into ribs, pulled pork, and sliced brisket. You can skip the meat and eat side dishes like pimento cheese grits, collard greens, and cornbread.
Season’s at Highland Lake offers locally sourced food in an elegant dining room. The menu changes with the seasons to reflect the freshest ingredients. A frequent favorite is trout from mountain streams. For more than 20 years, Season’s has received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine for its diverse yet approachable wine list. The Highland Lake Inn is adjacent and offers a variety accommodation options, including rooms in the historic lodge as well as cozy cabins or pet-friendly cottages.
Room with a view
Echo Mountain Inn offers a view of downtown Hendersonville from its mountain perch. Four generations of the Bonnema family run this 1896 property with spacious rooms complete with fireplaces. Enjoy breakfast in the glass-walled dining area that overlooks the mountains and watches the sun rise. To enjoy sunset, you can head two miles up the mountain to Jump Off Rock. Here you will find one of the most beautiful views in WNC. The sun sets behind the Blue Ridge. The family recently opened a full service restaurant on the property, serving dinner Thursday through Saturday as well as Sunday brunch.
Kanuga Conference & Retreat Centre is a Hendersonville gem. Located on 1,400 acres, Kanuga was established in 1928 by the Episcopal Church. Kanuga allows visitors to disconnect and reconnect with their family, friends, and nature. The property’s centerpiece is a 30-acre lake where visitors kayak or canoe. The property has twenty miles of hiking trails. The newest addition is Ride Kanuga mountain bike park, which features 12 downhill-specific trails. Recently renovated Kanuga Lake Inn accommodates couples and individuals, while 43 historic guest cottages work well for families and friend groups.
Hendersonville is only 20 minutes from Asheville Regional Airport. By car, Hendersonville is located just off Interstate 26 between Asheville, North Carolina, and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
For more information, go to www.VisitHendersonvilleNC.org or call (800) 828-4244.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.