An exciting getaway to Hendersonville, N.C., renders sweet surprises from this Blue Ridge mountain town that has emerged with a vibrant mix of arts, culture and locally-brewed spirits. Its downtown is welcoming and offers a variety of shops, boutiques, and more than 30 dining establishments – impressive for the town’s size.
Summer is still in full swing but soon the brilliant reds and golds of hickory, oak, silver and red maple, dogwood, beech, yellow poplar and others will be on display set against the deep green of evergreens.
Gear up for apple picking time in Henderson County where the harvest season is from early September through mid October. Fresh apples, pumpkins, cider and produce may be purchased at one of the many roadside apple markets or product stands. Some orchards, such as Sky Top Orchard, offer tours and allow you to pick your own apples.
Join the thousands each year who come to the Flat Rock Playhouse, officially designated State Theatre of North Carolina, for a professional play or musical. Flat Rock Playhouse has now opened a second location on Main Street, bringing shows and concerts to the center city.
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Take a reflective stroll through the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site to get a glimpse of how this treasured writer, journalist, folk singer, social activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet lived. Visitors can also tour the house and barn and see the descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s champion dairy goatherd.
Have full access to nature at DuPont State Forest which encompasses 10,600 acres in Henderson and Transylvania counties; a special place for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing. Waterfall seekers won’t be disappointed at Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, High Falls and Bridal Veil.
For a moving sunset, head over to Jump Off Rock, a scenic overlook that provides panoramic views of rolling pastures and the Blue Ridge and Pisgah mountain ranges, as well as Indian legend.
Henderson County, a long-time leader in the production of apples, is becoming a leader in the production of hard cider. The cideries producing hard cider are Bold Rock, Appalachian Ridge Artisan Ciders and Flat Rock Ciderworks, which recently opened a tasting room on Main Street.
Beer lovers will be blown away by the brewery facilities at the East Coast headquarters for Sierra Nevada, complete with an outdoor amphitheatre with a regular schedule of live music. Wine enthusiasts will be happy relaxing on the beautiful grounds and tasting room at Burntshirt Vineyards.
Enjoy the warm hospitality of the Queen Anne Style 1898 Waverly Inn with its beckoning wraparound porch. The Charleston Inn sits next door. Each of these establishments has provided comfort to travelers for over 100 years. Tucked into the Charleston Inn and spilling over onto the side porch is The Lantern Restaurant & Bar with its innovative menu of small and large plates and signature cocktails – fine dining at its best.
Those who are meat hungry won’t go lacking at Hubba Hubba Smokehouse, an authentic wood-fired smokehouse. It’s casual environment also makes for a great gathering place with outdoors dining. When the mood calls for more sophisticated dining with an Italian flair, there’s no better place than Mezzaluna. Check out Sierra Nevada’s Taproom and Restaurant for artful, chef-driven fare.
Fee Free Day at Carl Sandburg Home, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Nov. 11: The National Park Service offers free admission to the Carl Sandburg Home on Friday, Nov. 11, in recognition of the Park Service’s 100th anniversary year. The Carl Sandburg Home is the estate of the late poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg. Tour the house where he lived the latter part of his life and penned more than half of all his writings. Includes the daily barn where his wife, Lilian, raised world champion goats. For more information call (828) 693-4178 or visit www.nps.gov/carl/
Gallery Hop, November 18: The third Friday of every month, 15 galleries of the WNC Art Gallery Trail present the Gallery Hop. All galleries stay open until 8 p.m. See exhibits of fine art & crafts by local and regional artists, plus refreshments and a monthly raffle. For more information call (828) 693-4545.
Holiday Tree Lighting, 5:30 p.m., November 25: Downtown Hendersonville welcomes the holiday season with the lighting of the tree at the historic courthouse on Main Street. Visitors enjoy shopping at local businesses, holiday songs, visits with Santa and carriage rides. For more information call (828) 233-3216 or visit www.DowntownHendersonville.org .
A Celtic Christmas, Times vary be performance, December 1-18: The Flat Rock Playhouse’s Music on the Rock series presents A Celtic Christmas at the downtown Hendersonville location. Traditional carols like “Silent Night,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “O Holy Night,” and more are given the Celtic treatment in this unique Christmas concert. For more information call (828) 693-0731 or visit www.FlatRockPlayhouse.org.