THERE’S HISTORY IN THESE HILLS
As European settlers pushed west from coastal North Carolina, some settled in the lush heartland while other hearty souls pushed farther on to find rugged mountains unlike any they had seen in western Europe.
Today you can drive anywhere in western North Carolina and the scenery is dominated by the towering hills that reach up to touch the sky. In this rocky landscape you will find tangible reminder of how the area’s residents lived, with archaeologists sites in Ashe and Swain Counties uncovering the Native American way of life from centuries past. Construction of the railroad west linked mountain dwellers with the rest of the state. Historic Districts centered on railroad depots in Marion and Hendersonville demonstrates the importance of the railroad in commerce. The railroad also brought us to visit and to settle permanently in the high hills of the region. Lavish hotels were built to cater to guests, and some survive today. Historic districts around Asheville’s Grove Park Inn and the High Hampton Inn in Cashiers show not only how the tourists lived, but how some mountain families lived and worked nearby. Many of those who came chose not to leave, constructing mountain homes with panoramic vistas of the majestic hills of western North Carolina. Through the centuries the solitude, strength and incredible beauty of these mountains has drawn many like an irresistible magnet and continues to do so today.
In the 1840s, travelers through Western North Carolina made their way from town to town in wagons over dusty mountain roads. http://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/henderson-county-1838/ The Buncombe Turnpike connected the region and towns sprang up along the wagon route. Henderson was one such town established on the site of Judge Mitchell King’s summer estate. https://www.hendersonvillelightning.com/news/2875-flat-rock-group-hopes-to-save-mountain-lodge.html The county seat of Henderson County saw significant growth and development, especially after the arrival of the railroad in 1879. https://www.visitnc.com/listing/historic-hendersonville-train-depot Taking advantage of a safer, cleaner and faster means of transportation, more people headed west to experience the North Carolina mountains. Hotels sprang up along Main Street to accommodate tourists visiting Hendersonville. In the center of town wooden buildings gave way to modern brick structures utilizing the Neoclassical and Tapestry style architecture popular at the time. Summer residents built fine mountain vacation homes. Today, as at the turn of the 20th century, downtown Hendersonville remains the center of commercial life for the area. More than 180 businesses now operate in Hendersonville’s main Street Historic District. Here you can shop for antiques, mountain arts and crafts, jewelry, collectibles, clothing, gifts, toys and games. Or dine at any of 11 different restaurants, cafes and bakeries in the district. Mountain hospitality is a tradition in Hendersonville dating back for generations. The welcome mat remains out for 21st century guests. http://downtownhendersonville.org/
Any day of the year is a beautiful day in the Hendersonville area of Western North Carolina. The region has so much to offer families of all ages that many a vacationer has decided to relocate to the area after spending some time in this portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hendersonville is a friendly mountain city with park benches and flower boxes. A visit to this area will certainly be the highlight of your vacation. Come see for yourself!
Historic Hendersonville and Flat Rock, located in Henderson County and just a half-hour south of Asheville, have been popular vacation destinations for over 125 years. The moderate climate is attractive to both retirees and young families wanting to enjoy the numerous cultural events, festivals and outdoor recreational facilities. Hendersonville has earned the title “The City of Four Seasons” with four distinct seasons without the extreme heat in the summer or cold in the winter. At 2,200 feet above mean sea level, the mountain climate offers moderate summer temperatures; the average summer temperature is 71 degrees. The surrounding mountain ranges to the north and to the west shield the area from the winter storms coming in from the Plains and from Canada. The average winter temperature is 41 degrees. The area’s rainfall is plentiful and is heaviest during the summer months. The average rainfall is 51 inches.
The moderate climate is ideal for year-round golfing. North Carolina is known as “a golfer’s paradise,” and Hendersonville is no exception. Many nationally acclaimed golf courses are located within or near Henderson County. The avid golfer can certainly find a course to challenge his skill.
At the heart of Henderson County is Historic Downtown Hendersonville where Main Street has been revitalized with quaint shops, cafes and antique stores. The local mall as well as many shopping plazas offers a selection of wares for the most discriminating shopper. If, by chance, you can not find what you are looking for here, Asheville is only 22 miles away with two large malls, more specialty shops and antique stores.
Events and Attractions
Main Street is also the central location for the Annual North Carolina Apple Festival, http://www.ncapplefestival.org/ held each year to honor Henderson County’s national ranking in apple production. For over 50 years, festivities begin the Friday before Labor Day and conclude with the King Apple Parade during the afternoon on Labor Day. The festival offers events for all ages and offers both the residents and visitors alike the opportunity to sample some of the region’s heritage.
The Flat Rock Playhouse https://www.flatrockplayhouse.org/2017-season-on-sale-now/ is the state theater of North Carolina and offers some of the finest summer productions in the country. The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, http://www.hendersonvillesymphony.org/ the Brevard Music Center, http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2017/01/24/brevard-music-center-announces-2017-summer-lineup/96990112/ the Hendersonville Little Theatre, http://www.hendersonvilletheatre.org/ the Absolute Theatre Company, the Hendersonville Chorale as well as other cultural groups also offer quality entertainment.
Chimney Rock Park and Lake Lure are approximately 15 miles east of Hendersonville. http://www.chimneyrockpark.com/Chimney Rock offers one of the best views in the mountains as well as beautiful nature trails. Lake Lure http://www.townoflakelure.com/consists of 1,500 acres of sparkling water and 27 miles of shoreline. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just 12 miles north of Hendersonville and Holmes State Forest is only 8.5 miles. https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm
A tour of “Connemara,” the home of famed poet, author and historian Carl Sandburg, is a delightful excursion. Or, get a glimpse of rural life by visiting the Historic Johnson Farm, a 19th Century tobacco farm covering 140 acres. https://www.nps.gov/carl/index.htm
In 1993, Henderson County and Hendersonville City Schools merged into one public school system consisting of 20 schools, over 1,500 employees, and approximately 11,550 students ranging from kindergarten through grade 12. Henderson County schools have held the honor of being rated among the best in the state over the past few years. http://www.hendersoncountypublicschoolsnc.org/ In addition to the fine public schools, there are six excellent private schools. Blue Ridge Community College, http://www.blueridge.edu/established in 1970, offers continuing education opportunities that lead to an associate degree, vocational diploma or vocational certificate. A college transfer program is also available.
Henderson County is unsurpassed in the Southeast for the healthcare services that are offered to a community of this size. There are two full-service hospitals, Margaret R. Pardee Memorial http://www.pardeehospital.org/and Park Ridge http://www.parkridgehealth.org/. In addition, Memorial Mission-St. Joseph’s Hospital is conveniently located in Asheville. Numerous specialty physicians with worldwide medical expertise and technology have located in Hendersonville, where there is such a demand for excellent healthcare.