By Gina Malone | Photos by Joye Ardyn Durham
Hendersonville, with its thriving downtown and nearby attractions, is a day tripper’s ideal destination, whether the trip is a family excursion, a romantic getaway or a solo outing.
“Winter time here in Hendersonville is absolutely beautiful,” says Jennifer Parker-Ojeda of Silver Fox Gallery and Interiors. “The street is lit with beautiful lights and on certain evenings you can enjoy a horse and carriage ride down Main Street.” Silver Fox specializes in Americanmade art, furniture and accessories for the home.
Knowledgeable staff members at the Hendersonville Visitor Center, located downtown near the Historic Courthouse, can help with your planning, depending on desired activities, weather and seasonal happenings.
The pedestrian-friendly downtown bustles with activity on any day of the week, given its shops, galleries, museums and restaurants, while nearby areas, including Flat Rock, offer the temptations of views from Jump Off Rock, hiking numerous trails and touring the Carl Sandburg Home. One of the area’s newest parks, the Park at Flat Rock, offers an expansive wonderland for energetic little ones.
If museums are on the agenda, downtown offers several, including the Heritage Museum in the beautifully restored Henderson County Historic Courthouse, the Mineral and Lapidary Museum and Hands On! – A Child’s Gallery, offering educational activities and exhibits for children ages one through 10.
“What I feel that day trippers will like most is the quaintness of downtown Hendersonville,” says Michele Sparks. She owns Art MoB Studios and Marketplace, which displays the work of 87 local and regional artists and includes five working studios with artists who are happy to chat about their process and what inspires them to create. “We do love day trippers here at Art MoB and love sharing the experience.”
Gallery at Flat Rock is another destination filled with the beauty created by regional artists. “The historic Village of Flat Rock, just a short ride from Hendersonville,” says owner Suzanne Camarata Ball, “offers a premiere experience in dining, the arts and outdoor activities. Here at the gallery, we are continually finding ways to engage audiences and stimulate love for the visual arts.”
The nearby Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site offers picnic tables, walking and hiking trails and tours of the goat barn and the house where the celebrated poet lived and wrote for the last half of his life.
When it’s time for lunch, Hendersonville has no shortage of good places to eat. West First Wood- Fired Pizza offers fresh, organic, made-from-scratch Mediterranean fare in a cozy loft setting. Just about any other type of cuisine desired can be found downtown or close by. Mike’s on Main is as eye-catching inside with its 1950s décor as it is on the outside with its brightly painted Coca-Cola mural.
As the daylight hours wane, there are several options for entertainment. “No trip to Hendersonville and Flat Rock would be complete without taking in a production at Flat Rock Playhouse (FRP), the State Theatre of North Carolina,” says Dane Whitlock the theatre’s senior director of marketing and development. “Now in our 65th year, FRP offers a year-round, jam-packed schedule of Broadway-quality plays, musicals, concerts and family programming.”
Coffee shops, breweries and ice cream parlors are nestled among the interesting shops along Main Street. Hendersonville’s layout is visitorfriendly, with wide sidewalks, tables and benches and plenty of parking. In December, Hendersonville will hold its Home for the Holidays, with festive events throughout the month, including holiday shows and concerts, an iceless-skating rink and carriage rides. Visitors may also participate in the Winter Getaway Rewards Card program offering discounts around town throughout the season.
The Hendersonville Visitor Center is located at 201 South Main Street. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. To learn more, go to visithendersonvillenc.org or call 828.693.9708.