Adventure U.S.

Historic Hendersonville, NC

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.

Old-fashioned kiddy horse

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.

Left to right: McClintock Clock, Bear Artwork, Town Mural

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.”

Outdoor Sculpture

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.

Bear Ambassadors

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.

Bear outdoor sculpture

I think Parker dragged me to meet every bear in Hendersonville, including the “Black Bear” who stands outside a local museum for kiddos.

Children’s Museum

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.

Pet Shopping

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).

Outdoor Wag! sale

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:

  1. Visit Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
  2. Watch the sunset at Jump Off Rock
  3. Tour the Carl Sandburg Home
  4. See the waterfalls at DuPont State Recreational Forest
  5. Attend Flat Rock Playhouse
  6. Attend Henderson Theater
  7. Take a photo with a Main Street Bear
  8. Participate in Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend
  9. Checkout model trains at Historic Train Depot
  10. Visit Point Lookout Vineyards
Main Street in historic Hendersonville

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!”

Tsilugi Yon

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 add “Welcome Everyone!” This historic North Carolina town just makes you want to hug a local bear (sculpture).

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  • Stephanie
    June 18, 2022 at 8:46 am

    I love historic small towns like this that are full of fun things to see and do! And I love all the bear ambassadors! So cute!

    • Terri
      June 18, 2022 at 11:25 am

      I’ve never seen so many bears in one location. It is a bear jamboree!

      • Bejal
        June 18, 2022 at 1:27 pm

        Another great historic town for the long list of lovely spots you visit. The artwork is incredible and the beats are so so cute. Really love the sound of Hendersonville.

        • Terri
          June 19, 2022 at 6:02 am

          Thank you! I made it my mission to visit as many cool mountain towns in western NC as possible during my spring vacation.

  • MICHELLE
    June 18, 2022 at 9:21 am

    This looks so fun. I just love exploring little mountain towns. All of the outdoor artwork is great!

    • Terri
      June 18, 2022 at 11:24 am

      I am also impressed with all the artwork. Western NC is an artist haven.

  • Alma
    June 18, 2022 at 9:36 am

    It is always interesting to find out the history about a place and Hendersonville looks like it has made it interesting too. Lots of places to browse around.

    • Terri
      June 18, 2022 at 11:23 am

      Hendersonville is a place to slow down and enjoy small town hospitality.

  • Alaina Thomas
    June 18, 2022 at 11:15 am

    Wow, it truly seems like there is so much to do here! Watch the sunset, check out some waterfalls, sample local apples when in season, etc. I will have to make a trip here sometime.

    • Terri
      June 18, 2022 at 11:23 am

      And don’t to shake paws or hug a painted bear! I think the bear footin’ art walk is so cool!

  • Natalie
    June 18, 2022 at 11:32 am

    I feel like you’re blogging about a time travel experience! These are my favorite kinds of places to visit, the ones that seem to transport you back in time. It’s great to hear that Hendersonville is actively being preserved, and I hope that will continue for future generations to enjoy!

    • Terri
      June 18, 2022 at 12:16 pm

      This absolutely was a time travel experience. These little mountain towns in NC cherish their heritage. I loved just strolling in Main Street. People would stop to talk with me and pet my dog. It was so friendly!

  • Erin
    June 18, 2022 at 2:45 pm

    Parker seems to be having fun! Interestingly enough, I went through Hendersonville this week – have family nearby. You did such a great job capturing the best things to see!

    • Terri
      June 19, 2022 at 6:01 am

      Awww Erin thank you. I am glad that I did Hendersonville justice.

  • Alisha dos Santos
    June 18, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    I’m loving the historic small town charm and the bear ambassadors! I’m hoping to visit Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway soon so I’ll add Hendersonville to that trip!

    • Terri
      June 19, 2022 at 6:01 am

      Henderson would be a great base to stay for a night with your kids. You could also take them to the children’s museum.

  • Hannah
    June 18, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Hendersonville looks like such a quaint place full of nostalgia! I’d love to visit! The pet shop looks like a great place to pick up a gift for my cats too! Thanks for the great guide!

    • Terri
      June 19, 2022 at 6:00 am

      There are lots of great gifts for your cats.

  • ANUKRATI DOSI
    June 19, 2022 at 1:43 am

    Looks like an exciting place! Loved reading the article.

    • Terri
      June 19, 2022 at 5:59 am

      It is a fun place to wander with your dog, get an ice cream, and meet a bear!

  • Katy
    June 19, 2022 at 4:22 am

    Hendersonville, North Carolina looks so historic, love it! I especially like that there are dog friendly places to go.

    • Terri
      June 19, 2022 at 5:59 am

      You’ll definitely want to visit the history museum and the historic courthouse.

  • Sneha
    June 19, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Hey Terri, loved reading your blog and a very helpful one as the place has been on my bucket list since long. Will definitely reference it while planning my trip !😃

    • Terri
      June 19, 2022 at 11:17 am

      I hope you get to visit western NC! There are so many wonderful mountain towns to explore, such as Hendersonville. Safe travels

  • simplyjolayne
    June 19, 2022 at 11:58 am

    I loved our previous visit to North Carolina, so having more options of cool places to visit next time are so helpful. Thanks for great ideas.

    • Terri
      June 19, 2022 at 1:49 pm

      North Carolina is an amazing state! You can enjoy time at the beach or in the mountains. I love western NC – so many cool little artsy towns. I hope you get back.

  • Mercy
    June 22, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Wow! Great blog post – I knew next to nothing about NC (Brit here!) but feel like I’ve got to know a little gem. I’ll have to come visit someday!

    • Terri
      June 30, 2022 at 10:20 am

      Western North Carolina is a fantastic place to visit if you love to hike, hang out in cool mountain towns, visit breweries, and walk with your dog! It definitely is a place to visit if you travel to United States and vacation on the East Coast. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a spectacular place to drive with a convertible.

  • Janice
    July 12, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    Attend Hendersonville Theatre
    56 years of bringing stories to life.

    • Terri
      July 16, 2022 at 7:57 am

      Thanks Janice! I added a link for Henderson Theatre to my Top 10 Attractions. I also linked to your website.