Downtown Hendersonville has the second largest downtown area in western North Carolina (Asheville's is the biggest) with many things to do, see and taste. Main Street serpentines through the commerical strip with beautiful planter boxes. With more than 100 shops and almost 20 restaurants, this downtown is geared to tourists with many gift shops with knick-knacks and antique stores. And they just completed a big makeover!
Hendersonville's downtown is part of the Main Street Program, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's program to revitalize the nation's central business districts through historic preservation, attention to downtown design, thoughtful recruitment of appropriate businesses, and promotion of the downtown district.
Most of the shops are located on a five block section of Main Street. Mast General Store, always a favorite stop, is on one end and the Courthouse is on the other. We especially enjoy visiting the Silver Fox Gallery with plenty of regional art and the Colorful Kitchen with their Fiesta china and enamelware collections.
Be sure to break for some sweets at the old-fashioned McFarlan Bakery, a fixture there since 1930. And check out Mezzaluna Brick Oven & Tap House at 226 North Main Street. The Curb Farmers Market has been going strong since 1924 with its selection of baked goods, handmade crafts, jams, etc on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays.
Another great stop is the Mineral & Lapidary Museum of Henderson County. It features exhibits from North Carolina, replicas of world famous diamonds, English minerals, Indian artifacts, a dinosaur egg nest, fossils, fluorescent minerals, gems, and faceted minerals. The museum's specialty are Geodes, which are sold, cracked and/or displayed. And it's free!
Don't stress out trying to get one of the free parking spots on Main Street. There is plenty of parking along parallel streets one block on either side of Main Street.
Just outside of downtown Hendersonville is a famous angel. Author Thomas Wolfe’s first novel was Look Homeward, Angel. In the book there are constant references to an angel statue carved from Italian marble. This is the angel Wolfe placed in American literature. Thomas Wolfe’s father, W.O. Wolfe, sold the statue to the Johnson family to mark the family plot in Oakdale Cemetery. The angel is holding a lily in her left hand and extending her right hand upward. Oakdale Cemetery is located on US Highway 64 West, just a short distance from downtown.
See more of our 25 Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns.
Downtown Hendersonville Annual Street Festivals
Garden Jubilee Festival, Downtown Hendersonville: Memorial Day Weekend
The Annual Garden Jubilee Festival is a spectacular two day festival, held on Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Garden Jubilee is the ideal festival for passionate gardeners searching for the perfect plants and unique lawn and garden accessories and arts and crafts. This is a great opportunity for beginner gardeners to speak with the experts at the garden clinics and gather tips and advice. Bring wagon or cart to make transporting your plants easier. Garden Jubilee offers over 200 vendors selling handmade arts and crafts, plants and items to enhance your outdoor living area. Local and regional nurseries sell thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and hard to find plants. There will also be delicious food to satisfy any appetite in the food court, located between Barnwell & Caswell Streets.
Apple Festival, Downtown Hendersonville: Labor Day Weekend
Historic Hendersonville is the official home of the Annual North Carolina Apple Festival, a four-day celebration in honor of the North Carolina Apple. The NC Apple Festival features a street fair on Historic Main Street including continuous live musical entertainment, arts & crafts, apple products, children’s & youth activities, special exhibits & open houses, food, and, to top it all off, the King Apple Parade. See our Apple Festival Guide.
Street Dances: Monday nights, 7-9 PM, mid July through mid August
Music on Main Street: Free live music Friday nights, 7-9 PM, mid June through mid August. Rhythm & Brews on third Fridays with beer vendors.
Art on Main: Fine art and craft along Main Street, 10-5 on the first Saturday/Sunday in October.
Hendersonville Things to Do
Apple Orchards: During the late summer and early Fall, visit many of the Hendersonville Apple Orchards for plenty of fresh apples and produce, tours, and more!
Playhouse Downtown: Flat Rock Playhouse’s new downtown Hendersonville satellite theatre opened at 125 South Main Street in 2011. Enjoy plays, musicals and concerts in an intimate theater – steps away from downtown restaurants, bars and retail establishments.
Wineries: Taste some local wines at nearby vineyards. See the Top 10 Wineries.
Airplane Museum: In addition to an impressive collection of working historic aircraft, the Western North Carolina Air Museum displays flight manuals, engines from historic aircraft as well as more modern reciprocating and jet engines, and much more.
Historic Johnson Farm: Tour the farmhouse set in the early 1900s and explore the Historic Johnson Farm, located a few miles outside of Hendersonville.
The Historic Hendersonville Trolley Tour runs weekly Saturday mornings June through October. It is a fun and informative look at the history of Hendersonville. The Historic Hendersonville Tour is not a “dusty ole dates” tour. It is jam packed with historical tidbits, oddities, and pure fun. The trolley tour includes the Historic Courthouse Museum, Curb Market, St. John in the Wildnerness Church, Flat Rock Playhouse, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, a Historic Residential District and the Historic 7th Avenue Train Depot. The tour ends at Piggy’s World Famous Ice Cream where they treat you!
Henderson County Genealogical & Historical Society assists researchers and historians using a reference library of over 2,000 books on history and genealogy of North and South Carolina and other states. The society houses a large collection on New England and Mayflower descendants, county census and estate records, maps, and numerous family histories. 400 North Main Street. The Society is open Mon.-Fri. 10am-4pm.
Jump Off Rock is a scenic overlook which provides a panoramic view of rolling pastures, the Blue Ridge and Pisgah mountain ranges. Jump Off Rock also holds an Indian legend that has been passed down for many, many years. Over 300 years ago a young Cherokee Indian maiden received word that her young Indian Chief had been killed in battle, so she climbed to the edge of the rock and jumped off. Indian legend has it that on moonlit nights you can see the ghost of the maiden on Jump Off Rock. Jump Off is located about 5 miles from downtown at the end of Laurel Park Hwy. The park is open daily, sunrise to sunset. No admission charge.