By Sandra Chambers
Located on a scenic mountain plateau 2,200 feet above sea level, Hendersonville lies cradled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Often called “The City of Four Seasons,” the town offers year-round outdoor adventures, shopping, dining, history, local arts and crafts, and a booming wine and hard cider industry.
Historic downtown Hendersonville offers southern hometown charm with unique local shops, museums and restaurants. The 1905 copper-domed courthouse topped with a six-foot statue of “Lady Justice” is a focal point of the downtown area. The Henderson County Heritage Museum, the Mineral & Lapidary Museum and Hands On! – A Child’s Gallery are all located within walking distance. Take a Bearfootin’ Art Walk Guide at the Visitors Center and track 21 full-size whimsically painted bears scattered throughout the downtown area from May to October. Come fall, the bears are auctioned off to support local charities.
FLAT ROCK PLAYHOUSE
For over 60 years, the area has been home to the State Theatre of North Carolina, offering Broadway-quality entertainment. What began with a few summer performances is now a nine-month season of Broadway musicals, comedy and drama staged in an intimate 250-seat theater. Before the show, enjoy savory Southern smoked barbecue served up at Hubba Hubba Smokehouse located adjacent to the theater.
CARL SANDBURG HOME NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Poet, historian, author and lecturer, Carl Sandburg spent the final 22 years of his remarkable life at his estate, Connemara. Guests can tour the house (circa 1838), which displays furnishings of Sandburg’s residence from 1945-1968, including his 12,000-book library. The estate includes five miles of trails, a barn and close-up encounters of the descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s champion dairy goats.
JUMP OFF ROCK
Five miles from downtown, Jump Off Rock provides a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge and Pisgah Mountain ranges. The rock gets its name from a 300-year-old legend of a Cherokee Indian Chief and maiden who often met on this rock. When the chief was called to war, the maiden promised to wait for his return from their favorite rock ledge. When she received word of his death, she supposedly climbed to the rock and jumped off. On moonlit nights it is reported that one can see the ghost of the maiden on Jump Off Rock.