Earlier this month, David and I headed to Hendersonville, a quaint, charming town in Henderson County, located 22 miles south of Asheville. Hendersonville celebrated its 175th anniversary as a town in 2022 and is a thriving mountain town surrounded with something for everyone. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, a culinary experience, new wines or beers to sample, orchards to pick apples, great local shopping, or all of the above, you will find it in Hendersonville! The downtown area is easily walkable and has the most beautiful set up with wide sidewalks, planters full of seasonal flowers, historical markers, murals, and sweeping views of the mountains.
Hendersonville and the surrounding area were initially Native American hunting lands and a place for the Cherokee to trade and socialize with other tribes at the “Great Flat Rock.” The county and Hendersonville were named for NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Leonard Henderson. The county was incorporated in 1838 followed by the town in 1841. Hendersonville was once known as “Little Charleston” and was a town of second homes for those coming up from Charleston and the South Carolina low country to escape the heat. It has remained a unique area with a rich history and heritage for residents and visitors alike to experience.
This is quite a lengthy post! It is divided up into three sections: what to do, where to eat and drink, and where to stay. Keep scrolling for each section!
A Spring Weekend in Hendersonville: a Complete Guide
What to Do In (and Around) Hendersonville
Shop Locally Made Goods & Outdoor Wear at Mast General Store
Mast General Store is a western North Carolina staple and the one located on Main Street is housed in the former Syndicate Building that was built in 1909. One of my favorite aspects of Mast General Stores is that they pride themselves in historic preservation of buildings that their stores inhabit. The Hendersonville location has unique touches, including a door that they preserved from the Woodmen of the World Hall that was on the second floor at one point. Another interesting component of Mast General Stores are their locally made goods that they incorporate into their merchandise. I spotted Piedmont Pennies, Dewey’s Ginger Snaps, Poppy popcorn, among other cult favorites, like Stanley mugs.
Be sure to take a walk through Mast General Store to check out their inventory and support a great local company that does a lot for the communities that they serve. A notable favorite for David is the candy barrel, which always brings back waves of nostalgia for him.
Enjoy 80+ Pinball Machines at the Appalachian Pinball Museum
I had *no* idea what to expect when I heard we would be visiting the Appalachian Pinball Museum, and let me tell you, it was better than my wildest imagination. There are over 80+ games to play. Tickets cost $12 and are good for all day. There is a snack bar, beer and wine, and it is a great spot to spend a dreary day. David and I found some games that we used to play when we were younger and truly had such a fun time. It is definitely worth a visit!
Explore the Shops and Museums in Downtown Hendersonville
Take some time and pop in to the shops that are in downtown Hendersonville. David and I popped into Woodlands Gallery, which is a nature-inspired gallery that carries a variety of high-quality works by regional artists and is part of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails of Henderson County. We also stopped in Wag!, a unique pet boutique, to get Winston & Gizmo a prize for when we got home. Another stop was at McFarlan Bakery, an old-fashioned bakery that has been around since 1930. The case of goodies runs the length of the store, displaying full cakes and pies, trays brimming with colorful cookies, and specialty pastries such as apple turnovers, bear claws, cinnamon rolls and doughnuts. And we really enjoyed walking through Wine, Sage, & Gourmet, a culinary boutique that stocks cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and gifts upstairs, with a wine cellar located downstairs.
- Sanctuary Boutique: An upscale women’s boutique with fashions to suit all occasions
- Henderson County Heritage Museum: Tells the story of Henderson County and the surrounding Western NC region. The museum is located in the historic 1905 courthouse known for its gold dome. Admission is free.
- Mineral & Lapidary Museum: This museum houses minerals found locally and throughout North Carolina, as well as from farther off, such as fluorescent willemite from New Jersey and ocean jasper from Madagascar. One of the most popular sections of the museum is the fossil corner with a life-size casting of a T-rex head. The black-light booth is also a popular spot, where certain minerals glow in the dark. Admission is free.
- Art Mob Studios: On the Blue Ridge Craft Trails, Art Mob represents more than 85 local artists and includes five working studios where visitors watch artists work.
- Take in the various murals painted around downtown!
Chase Waterfalls in DuPont State Recreational Forest
We headed to DuPont State Recreational Forest to check out some of the waterfalls. There are three waterfalls, Hooker, Triple and High falls, that are accessible via parking at Hooker Falls Access area and a short 15 minute drive from downtown Hendersonville. Hooker Falls is an easy hike, and it is a moderate hike to reach Triple and High Falls. We recommend continuing to hike up to the Covered Bridge before making your way back down. In full disclosure, I am not one who typically enjoys hiking, and this was easily one of my favorite experiences in North Carolina that I have ever done. High Falls is truly spectacular and I hope to visit again when it is warmer to cool off in the falls!
Catch the Sunset at Jump Off Rock
David and I took a short 15 minute drive up to Jump Off Rock, located 5 miles outside of Hendersonville, to catch sunset. There is a small park with benches and plenty of places to stand and take in the panoramic mountain views. It is a short, level walk from the parking area. Please note that there are no restrooms, so you’ll want to plan ahead in that regard. The views are breathtaking and it is the perfect spot to end an evening in the area!
Where to Eat and Drink in Hendersonville
Dine at Harvey’s at the Henderson after Checking In
After a long afternoon of driving, we were thrilled to check into our room, freshen up, and then head right down to the dining room for dinner at Harvey’s. We started with a charcuterie board that featured Hickory Nut Gap Meats, Looking Glass Cheese, and fig jam + locally made honey. For entrees, David ordered the chicken tikka marsala while I ordered a fried goat cheese salad and the fried oysters. All of our dishes were delightful and we loved that there was an old movie playing in the background. We finished with Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake served with cookies & cream ice cream. It is truly a great experience and they offer fun events each month!
Grab Lunch at Vintner’s Table and Stay for a Wine Tasting at Burntshirt Vineyards
Vintner’s Table recently opened at Burntshirt Vineyards and makes for a perfect spot for grabbing lunch. The restaurant is beautiful, bright, airy, and spacious and there was great live music playing during the lunch hour. There is also a massive patio for the restaurant that leads into rocking chairs overlooking the vineyards with sweeping mountain views.
For lunch, we started with the cheese board before each ordering the bacon cheeseburger. Their homemade chips are BBQ seasoned, which David is still raving about. They offer a full service bar, including local brews, and then their wines for the tasting. I chose to try the “Dry Wines” flight and was really impressed with each one. I ended up bringing home a bottle of the Gruner and a bottle of the Sparkling Brut. Burntshirt Vineyards is definitely a great spot to spend the afternoon. You will need to drive from downtown Hendersonville, so be sure to take that into consideration.
Listen to Local Music & Grab a Glass of Wine or Cider at Appalachian Ridge Cidery
Appalachian Ridge Cidery is housed in a renovated barn with beautiful views of the orchard. Their cider is made from tradition Henderson County apples, as well as apple trees transplanted from the Normandy region of France. We spent some time in the barn listening to live music and enjoying a glass of apple cider before checking out their Air BnB right next door and their state of the art facility where the magic happens.
Alan, Beth, and Kelly are just starting to bottle their cider for this year and the dry cider is delicious! David and I were both so enthralled with their passion and care for their process and for what they are creating. One of my favorite things I sampled was an apple brandy that they are making. If their hard cider is not ready yet, then they serve their cider with the option to add a shot of brandy to it or one of the Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards wines. They also have local brews on tap, food trucks on site, and often host special events on the grounds. We look forward to following along with what Kelly is creating with Alan and Beth!
Enjoy an Exceptional Meal at Postero in Downtown Hendersonville
Postero is an absolutely gorgeous space in the former First Bank and Trust Co. building. We started by ordering the chips and dip, which was a sweet potato, smoked bacon, and rosemary mousse. For our entrees, David ordered the pork frites while I ordered the steak and added shrimp at the recommendation of our server. This was truly an outstanding experience and meal and we thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Add it to your list and make a reservation! A fun fact is that the executive chef, Jason Reasoner, is a Hendersonville native and I love that he came back to his hometown to start his restaurant with his wife.
Fuel Up at Flat Rock Wood Room with Delicious Pizzas & BBQ
We went to Flat Rock Wood Room following our hikes at DuPont State Park, and it was the perfect spot for fueling up! We started with the piggy pretzel, and no pretzel will compare after this. It was delicious! It is fired baked and served with clarified butter, bacon crumbs, cheese/ mustard dips. We sampled the ribs and burnt ends and they were outstanding! The sauce and texture was exceptional. We ordered the buffalo chicken pizza and pepperoni pizza to split and they were out of this world good! Those pepperonis are living rent free in my head.
Sample Local Brews at Oklawaha Brewing
Located right downtown in Hendersonville, Oklawaha Brewing is dedicated to making small-batch, high-quality artisanal ales. The space is so welcoming and inclusive, is dog friendly, and offers a great selection of brews. David and I did a flight of beer to start and stayed for a couple of pints while listening to live music. We loved how friendly everyone was and we pet lots of good doggos while we were there. David really liked their Hazy IPA, Thing 2, and I liked their Boomer Beer, a Scottish Red Ale. Oklawaha encourages guests to bring food from local establishments and they also have hummus and other dips available for purchase.
Order the Duck Fat Fries and Dinner at Shine
We walked in to Shine. We saw someone with a gigantic plate of duke fat fries and immediately knew we were going to order those to start. David ordered the shrimp tortellini and I ordered the smoked turkey Cobb salad. There is something for everyone on the menu at Shine and is in a beautiful, historic building with ample seating. Shine also has a rooftop space plus a great bar area.
Enjoy a Classic, Southern Breakfast at Mike’s on Main Street
For our last morning, we packed up and walked around before grabbing a booth at Mike’s on Main to have a quick breakfast before hitting the road. This 1950s style soda shop offers breakfast and lunch plus ice cream. We each ordered a breakfast bagel sandwich and their famous breakfast potatoes.
There are 25 different tasting experiences in and around Hendersonville, all with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop for an epic tasting adventure. The Cheers! Trail is the only trail in North Carolina that showcases five different types of craft beverages. Learn more and sign up for your Cheers! Trail passport here.
- Arabelle’s Breakfast & Brunch: Adding this to our list to try on our next visit for brunch! The outdoor patio seating is quaint and their menu looks great!
- Brooks Tavern: We stopped in here for an after dinner drink on Friday night and loved the vibes. There are only a few tables and booths, a nice bar, and their food looked delicious!
Where to Stay in Hendersonville
Book Your Stay at the Historic Henderson Inn
The Henderson is located right in downtown Hendersonville. It is the perfect spot for walking to the downtown restaurants, breweries, and shops. Staying at the Henderson includes breakfast at Harvey’s. We loved that there were two choices each morning, plus a bonus fresh smoothie! Jeanne and Michael are friendly and welcoming, plus offer great suggestions about what to see in town. Each room includes Wi-Fi, 24 hour access to coffee and tea, and onsite parking. The Henderson has a spacious wrap-around porch, a cozy living space with a fire and checker board, and offerings like wine and cheese boards to go. It is truly a cozy, charming spot to make your home based for a weekend in town!
Be sure to check out Hendersonville for your next weekend getaway! You will truly find something for everyone here. For a calendar of events and more information to help your planning, check out the Visit Hendersonville site. You can also keep up to date by signing up for the Visit Hendersonville newsletter at the bottom of the site page!
Shop What We Packed for Hendersonville
Thank you to Leah Hughes, Visit Hendersonville, and all of their partners for hosting us for the weekend. As always, all opinions are my own.