Historic Hendersonville, North Carolina will provide top-tapping fun for visitors during the summer. Come lay down on a quilt or bring a lawn chair and enjoy Music on Main. The weekly concert is held every Friday evening from June through mid-August. The location is the Visitor Center stage (located at Main Street and Barnwell Street).
If you are not visiting on a weekend, don’t despair. Hendersonville also programs a Monday Night Live concert on a bi-weekly schedule in June and July. These concerts feature different musical styles.
Moreover, you certainly don’t want to miss Hendersonville Street Dances. This proud town tradition dates back to 1918 when World War I soldiers returned to the Tar Hall State.
“Today they are recognized as the oldest street dances in the United States.”VisitHendersonville.org
The Street Dances include clogging teams. There is bluegrass and country music.
Western North Carolina
Nestled in western North Carolina near Asheville and Blue Ridge Parkway, Hendersonville bills itself as the “apple of North Carolina’s eye.” I’ve noticed that these little North Carolina hamlets like a catchy phrase to show what makes them unique. (For example, Black Mountain is known as the “Little Town that Rocks” since it provides rocking chairs throughout the commercial district.)
Hendersonville is also near Chimney Rock, Tryon, Columbus, Flat Rock, and Arden.
I stepped back into rural America when Parker and I strolled Main Sreet in historic Hendersonville. A retro Coca-Cola billboard was painted on a brick wall reminding pedestrians that it is “Delicious and refreshing”. And in a nod to the caffeine in Coca-Cola’s formula, the sign also advertised it “relieves fatigue & exhaustion.”
Old Time Dining
Moving along Main Street, I stopped in front of Mike’s on Main Restaurant. A white carousel horse painted with red and yellow ribbons awaited any child with two quarters in her pocket. A “Giant Ride” costs 50 cents. The diner proudly advertises that the old “Justus Pharmacy” was established in 1882 in historic Hendersonville.
I learned from Mike’s on Main website that Coca-Cola sent a painter down from Charlotte to repaint the mural.
“It is the most photographed restaurant in Hendersonville, NC and perhaps the most photographed building in Hendersonville, NC.Mike’s on Main Street
If the diner allowed dogs, Parker and I would have stayed for breakfast. I love French toast. But I also would have been tempted by an omelet with a flaky biscuit and “the best potatoes around.” I was reminded of a 50s-style diner in the Happy Days TV show. I kept expecting to see “the Fonz.” Wear your “poodle skirt” and bobby socks with a poodle applique if you want to make your pooch happy.
If you don’t have time for sit-down dining in historic Hendersonville, grab a pastry at McFarlan Old Fashioned Bakery (opened in 1930). The bakery prides itself on using the same recipes “the ole timers used at the Bakery 30 to 65 years ago.” McFarlan ranks #1 of 7 bakeries in Hendersonville.
Historic Preservation Signs
Next, I meandered down the street toward an Underground plaque. The Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission finances these historic markers. I learned that in 1926 the First Bank and Trust Co. eliminated the sidewalks (and about 12 feet of dirt) to add commercial space. Glass blocks replaced the asphalt to allow sunshine. Stairs allowed shoppers to enter three stores and a lobby below. Early businesses included Tom’s Barber Shop, Blue Bonnet Beauty Shoppe, and the Teen Canteen.
Continuing our walk, I passed a plaque about the town’s McClintock Clock. Hendersonville’s Citizens Bank installed the bronze clock in 1927. The clock featured art glass dial faces. The town saved the clock after many components were beyond repair.
The Preservation Commission also places plaques outside historic buildings to describe past businesses. For instance, the past tenants at 344. N. Main (circa 1920) included Florida Fruit Market, J. C. Penney, Efird’s Department Store, and Jack Schulman’s “Can Do – Will Do.”
Hendersonville also commissions outdoor artwork. “Mountain Memory” crafted by sculptor Berry Bate was my favorite.
She designed the peaks (Mt. Pisgah, Pinnacle, and Sugarloaf Mountains) in copper. She used stone and water to depict the region’s rivers—French Broad, Mills, Green, and Big Hungry.
Paws down, Parker’s favorite artwork was the bear sculptures along Main Street. He made us stop at each bear to sniff. Local artists painted the “Bearfootin’ Art Walk” sculptures. You will find the bears taking up residence along Main Street through the middle of October. Then the Visitors Center auctions off for charity.
I think Parker dragged me to meet every bear in Hendersonville, including the “Black Bear” who stands outside a local museum for kiddos.
The Hands On! Children Museum is located at 318 N. Main Street. You can’t miss the building if you are strolling down Main Street. It features an oversized mural above its sign. The vibrant colors would attract any child’s attention. The artist incorporated the region’s natural attributes, such as waterfalls, alpine trees, and deer.
“Programs are our specialty at Hands On! From Weekly Programs like Mad Science Labs and Critter Crafts to Special Events like MakerSpace and Blue Ridge Humane Day, Hands On! has fun around every corner,” according to the museum’s website.
No visit to a mountain town is complete without visiting the local pet boutique. In Hendersonville, you don’t want to miss Wag! The storefront features a large paw print on the wall. The store places discounted items outside (if weather permits).
Launched 11 years ago, this store is a favorite for owners to bring their pets. “There’s a lot to Wag! (and purr) about at Hendersonville’s first and favorite pet boutique,” according to Wag!
Hendersonville Top 10 Bucket List
Contact the Hendersonville Visitor Center or download the digital visitor brochure. You also might want to schedule all 10 activities on the Hendersonville Bucket List below:
- Visit Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
- Watch the sunset at Jump Off Rock
- Tour the Carl Sandburg Home
- See the waterfalls at DuPont State Recreational Forest
- Attend Flat Rock Playhouse
- Sample Local Apple Season
- Take a photo with a Main Street Bear
- Participate in Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend
- Checkout model trains at Historic Train Depot
- Visit Point Lookout Vineyards
Dining With Your Dogs
NOTE: If you are visiting Hendersonville, the Visitor Center reports “most restaurants in Hendersonville have outdoor dining sections that welcome well-behaved dogs (weather permitting). There are a variety of breweries, wineries and cideries that are dog-friendly both indoors and out!”
Parker and I ended our walk at the end of Main Street near the Hendersonville Visitor Center. We saw a sculpture titled Tsilugi Yon. Translated, this means “Welcome Bears” in Cherokee. The Henderson County Travel & Tourism sponsored the artwork by artist Melody Heltman.
I might have added “Welcome Everyone!” This historic North Carolina town just makes you want to hug a local bear (sculpture).
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