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. Oakdale Cemetery is located on Hwy. 64 W., just a short distance from downtown. A wrought iron fence protects the statue, and there is a historical marker located on Highway 64 West.
The first steam engine puffed up the Saluda Grade to the Hendersonville Depot in 1879. The steam engine needed a “help engine” attached to the rear of the train at Melrose for additional power to push the train up the Saluda Mountain Grade, the steepest main-line standard gauge railroad in the United States. The Carolina Special ran between Charleston, South Carolina and Cincinnati, Ohio from 1911 until 1968. The restored Depot houses a HO scale railroad layout that is highly detailed and is prototypical of Hendersonville, Saluda, Asheville, and Western North Carolina. The Deport features historical artifacts, a Southern Railway cabooser and a special children’s exhibit where they can operate a Thomas the Tank train in a scenic layout. See the 10ft x 80 ft Garden “G” scale layout.
The Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO is the only public aquarium in Western North Carolina, The Aquarium houses 20+ displays showcasing dozens of tropical fish, eels, sting rays, sea horses, turtles and fish, a touch tank, a 2,000-gallon shark study tank with bamboo sharks, and much more! It is recognized as the first inland aquarium in North Carolina.
Biltmore is the largest privately owned home in America situated on 8,000 acres. It was built by George Vanderbilt and was completed in 1895. Vanderbilt’s 250-room mansion is modeled after a French château. The Estate encompasses the house, landscaped gardens, walking trails, woodlands, restaurants, shops, inn, and an award-winning winery. Located 15 miles north of miles north of Hendersonville.
Blue Ridge Parkway follows the mountain ridges from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. The Parkway’s 469 toll-free miles combines natural beauty, mountain forests, wildlife, wildflowers and magnificent views. Located 15 miles north of Hendersonville.
Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center features an award-winning film – The Blue Ridge Parkway—America’s Favorite Journey, exhibits highlight nature and the cultural heritage of the area, information services, and a gift shop. Located at Parkway milepost 384, about a mile south of the US 70 intersection (or one mile north of the US 74-A intersection).
The small town of Brevard offers more than 250 scenic waterfalls. Brevard is located between Pisgah National Forest and Gorges State Park, making this area popular for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most popular waterfalls to access is the 60-foot Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest, located along side of Highway 276.
Transylvania county is home to a rare white squirrel population, that is said to be descended from an escaped carnival animal in 1949. They share a similar coloration with small dark patches on their heads and shoulders, but are otherwise white. The animals are not albino, which are totally free of pigmentation, the squirrels are considered an offshoot of the Eastern Gray Squirrel.
Brevard Music Center provides intensive study for high school, college, and pre-professional musicians, ages 14 and older, and offers a full range of concerts and operas with renowned artists. Located 18 miles west of Hendersonville.
Bullington Gardens is a 12 acre, nonprofit horticultural education center offering programs, activities and workshops.The gardens and grounds include a therapy garden, shade garden, butterfly garden, perennial borders, native woodland garden, pumpkin patch and herb garden. The grounds also include a half-mile nature trail through the wooded area of the gardens.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is where Carl Sandburg, American poet, historian, author, and lecturer spent the final 22 years of his long and productive life at his estate, Connemara. The home, originally built in 1838, displays the Sandburg’s furnishing as they lived at Connemara from 1945-1968, including Carl Sandburg’s collection of 12,000 books. Tour the home for a small fee, and learn about Sandburg’s life as a writer, journalist, folk singer, social activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and biographer. Visit the barn and descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s champion dairy goat herd and hike over five miles of trails. Access to trails, grounds, barns and public areas is free.
Open year-round. closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day
Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina, where Cherokee Indians have lived for centuries, is located on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 56,000 acre Reservation is still linked to ancient customs, culture, history, and traditions. Witnessthe history of the Cherokee at the outdoor drama, “Unto These Hills,” the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
DuPont State Recreational Forest encompasses 10,268 acres in Henderson and Transylvania counties that include waterfalls and 80 miles of roads and trails wandering through mountainous terrain. Open to the public for hiking, mountain biking, swimming, and horseback riding. Fishing is allowed with a valid NC fishing license. Hunting is by special permit only. Many scenes from the 2012 hit movie, The Hunger Games and the 1992 film, The Last of the Mohicans were shot in DuPont State Recreational Forest. The Hunger Games were filmed entirely in North Carolina. Download the Hunger Games film locations. dupont-hunger-games-shots.pdf
The Flat Rock Playhouse has presented hundreds of productions for over sixty years. The Playhouse offers quality entertainment rarely found so far from Broadway. The Vagabond Players perform a variety of hits each year, featuring comedy, American classics, musicals, farces and whodunits. The Playhouse is open mid-April through mid-October, plus holiday productions, presenting matinees and evening performances Wednesday through Sunday.
Folk Art Center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. The Folk Art Center is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost #382.
offers hiking and horseback riding trails, bird walks, nature center, pond with boardwalk and picnic area. 320 acre nature preserve. Equestrian events, concerts and more throughout the year. Free and open to the public.
Grandfather Mountain is one of the most environmentally significant mountains in the world. It features wildlife environmental habitats, interpretive nature museum, hiking trails and picnic areas. For over 100 years Grandfather Mountain has been a wildlife sanctuary and nature preserve, with an elevation 5,964 feet. Open all year.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park covers seven counties in North Carolina, with the northern fringe of the Smokies in Tennessee. The 520,000-acre park is one of the largest wilderness areas in the Eastern United States, covering more than 88 square miles. The park contains some of the highest peaks in the East, with elevations in excess of 6,000 feet. Activities include hiking, horseback riding, campgrounds, nature trails, trout fishing and several visitor centers.
Hands On! Children’s Museum is a children’s museum located on Main Street in Hendersonville – it’s the place where LEARNING comes into PLAY. Hands On! provides educational exhibits that stimulate the imagination and motivate learning. It is an affordable, educational and fun way to spend the day with your children, grandchildren, and students ages 1 – 10. Hands On! is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Admission charged.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is the only casino in the state of North Carolina. The Casino features non-stop casino action including: traditional games in video format, live table games like Blackjack, Roulette & Craps, live entertainment and restaurants. Casino Drive, Cherokee, NC
Henderson County Curb Market is a unique farmers market requiring sellers to be residents of Henderson County. All items sold at the market must be either hand-made or locally grown. The vendors offer a variety of goods such as: crafts, baked goods, jellies, plants, flowers, toys, and produce. The market has been in continuous operation since 1924. The Curb Market is located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Church Street.
Open: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday 8am-2pm from April-December / Tuesday & Saturday 8am-2pm from January – March
Henderson County Genealogical & Historical Society has an extensive library on history and genealogy of North and South Carolina and surrounding states. Holdings include Henderson County deeds, estate records, early newspapers, early court minutes, maps, church and school histories, photographs, Bible records and family histories. Volunteers are available to assist researchers.
Henderson County Heritage Museum is housed in the Historic Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street. It offers public displays, artifacts, lectures, collections, archives, libraries, demonstrations, a replica of a turn of the century county store and other similar exhibitions relating to the history, culture, heritage of Henderson County. The museum celebrates veterans of all wars, and has an Civil War Display.
Open Wednesday-Saturday from 10:00am – 5:00pm & Sunday from 1:00 – 5:00pm
Hendersonville City Hall was built in 1928, and contains many artifacts and historic items, including large statues of of the three Presidents from North Carolina, General Andrew Jackson, James Knox Polk and Andrew Johnson. The statue is actually the ceramic model used for making the molds to cast the bronze statue on display at Capital Square in Raleigh, NC. City Hall was designed by well-known North Carolina architect Erle G. Stilwell.
The Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission serves the public both as a steward for historic properties and as a facilitator to people fortunate enough to own such properties. It provides assistance to owners and tenants, helps them plan the alterations that they are considering for their properties, and guides owners through the application process necessary to implement those changes, but also benefits tourists because aids in the designation of historic landmarks and districts, and conducts educational programs with respect to historic properties.
Learn about the historic Main Street Hendersonville here, and take yourself on a self-guided walking tour of the historic buildings here!
Historic Downtown Hendersonville was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in March of 1988. The serpentine street features planter boxes brimming with, benches, seasonal flowers and trees. Downtown boasts a wide array of shopping, antique stores, galleries, museums, an aquarium and a variety of restaurants. Downtown offers free Wi-Fi for everyone to enjoy. Downtown hosts many activities including the NC Apple Festival held during Labor Day weekend, as well as, art shows, an antique show, car shows, and parades throughout the year. For additional information call the Main Street Program.
The Cultural Center of Historic Flat Rock is a museum and cultural center located in the “Old Flat Rock Post Office” building, operated by Historic Flat Rock, Inc. The Center contains relics of Flat Rock from locals and tourists, and has a lot of the original furniture from the post office as well as antique furniture manufactured in Flat Rock.
Open on Saturdays from 11am – 3pm, May – September
Call to schedule an appointment on other days
Closed October – April
Has space for meetings, lectures, book groups, and discussions
Historic Henderson County Courthouse (1905) was designed by Richard Sharp Smith, the “resident architect” of Biltmore House. The focal point of the Courthouse is atop of the copper dome, a 6-foot statue of “Lady Justice.” The statue is the Greek goddess Themis (“The Greek Goddess of Divine Justice and Law”) who is without a blindfold, holding a sword in her right hand and scales in her left. It is believed to be only one of only three in the United States without a blindfold, statues of Themis/Justice are blindfolded to typify that Justice should be impartial. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic Johnson Farm is a fine example of a late 19th and early 20th century farm & tourist retreat. The entire structure was handmade from bricks that were fired on site from French Broad River mud. Over the years many outbuildings were constructed, including a tool shed/blacksmith shop, barn, boarding house, and a cottage. The property offers historic home tours, nature trails, picnic tables, animals and 10 historic structures on 15 acres filled with trees in a natural setting.
The Heritage Weavers and Fiber Artists have transformed the boarding house into a fiber arts center, which includes weaving, rug hooking, bobbin lace, spinning or knitting.
Entire district is included in the National Register of Historic Places Flat Rock, NC 28731
Historic Village of Flat Rock began when affluent Charlestonians, Europeans and prominent plantation owners of the South’s low country built large summer estates in the English manner. The families of South Carolina’s Low Country came to Flat Rock to escape the sweltering heat and the epidemic of yellow fever and malaria. South Carolina’s Low Country gentry affectionately called Flat Rock The Little Charleston of the Mountains. The entire district of Flat Rock is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Historic Flat Rock is home to several attractions such as: The Flat Rock Playhouse, State Theatre of NC; the Carl Sandburg Home NHS; and St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church as well as many unique specialty shops, restaurants, and enterprises. The buildings along Greenville Highway are painted in lively pastel colors, very similar to the famous Rainbow Row in downtown Charleston.
Holmes Educational State Forest offers a series of well-marked trails, firefighting equipment, accented by exhibits and displays depicting ecology of a managed forest. Picnic sites with tables and a spacious picnic shelter (with grills) are also available. Located about 8 1/2 miles from downtown Hendersonville.
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.
There are three hiking trials at Jump Off Rock, varying in length and difficulty. Blue Trail – easy trail, takes about 8 minutes, Yellow Trail – moderate trail, takes around 15 minutes & Red Trail – is the most difficult and the longest. See the sign at the entrance to the walkway leading to Jump Off Rock.
The Lake Lure 27 miles of shoreline was selected by National Geographic as one of the Ten Most Spectacular man-made lakes in the World. The lake offers a marina, boat tours and a sandy beach. Located 14 miles east of Hendersonville
Lazy Otter headquarters is located at the end of Horse Shoe bend along French Broad River. Lazy Otter offers commercial-quality tubes with back rests, a cup holder and handles, a variety of kayaks, and canoes. Reservations are suggested.
The Mineral & Lapidary Museum features the natural beauty of minerals, gems, fossils and artifacts found in North Carolina, in the United States and around the world. Displays include North Carolina minerals, dinosaur egg cluster, English minerals, fluorescent minerals, geodes, petrified wood & large logs, coral, artfully crafted jewelry, gem stones, Cullinan Diamond replicas and a Henderson County Meteorite, on loan from the Smithsonian, are featured displays. Gift shop is open daily. Geode cracking. Free admission!
Open Monday-Friday 1pm-5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm (Winter Hours: open Wednesday – Saturday).
Admission is free.
Located on the lower level of the Henderson County Genealogical & Historical Society building.
North Carolina Arboretum is a member of the University of North Carolina System and spans 434 acres. The Arboretum offers curated gardens, horticultural exhibits, education center, hiking, biking, indoor exhibits, educational events and nature trails are a few of the attractions available to the public. Located 15 miles north of Hendersonville.
Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is located in Pisgah National Forest. The Center’s indoor and outdoor attractions include: aquariums, hands-on exhibits, garden display, special programs, viewing and feeding of the hatchery trout. Free admission.
Open year-round: December – March: Open Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:45 pm April – November: Open Monday – Saturday 8 am – 4:45 pm
The Pisgah National Forest 501,691 acres stretches across the eastern edge of Western North Carolina’s mountains. The Forest offers hiking trails, fishing, camping, picnic sites, and spectacular waterfalls. The attractions include Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Pisgah Forest State Fish Hatchery, Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, The Cradle of Forestry and the North Mills River Recreational Area.
St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. St. John in the Wilderness was built as a private chapel in 1833, on the grounds of Charles and Susan Barings’ home, Mountain Lodge. The church was deeded to the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina in 1936. Many well-known members of southern aristocracy have family plots in the churchyard; those names include: Christopher Memminger, first secretary of the Confederate treasury; Rev. John Drayton, developer of the world-famous Magnolia Gardens of Charleston; members of the families of three signers of the Declaration of Independence; Major General Edward P. King, Jr., of the United States Army who led the defense of the Bataan Peninsula in the Battle of Bataan against the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II.
The Center for Art & Entertainment offers interactive dinner murder mysteries, touring shows, repertory theatre, tribute music series, storytelling events, classes, and more. The Center is also home of The Artful Cup coffee shop and the Hendersonville location of Malaprop Books. The Artful Cup and Malaprop Books are open Tuesday – Sunday.
Check their website for info on hours, shows, showtimes, classes, etc.
The Gorge is perched on the rim of the Green River Gorge, the steepest & fastest canopy tour in the USA, 11 ziplines and a sky bridge with breathtaking 90-mile panoramic view. Located a short drive from Hendersonville.
The Learning Center at PARI is located at a former NASA facility. The 200-acre historic campus includes hiking trails, hands-on space and earth science exhibit galleries, scenic mountain views and 2-hour private campus tours. It showcases a collection of gems, minerals, rare meteorites and samples from Mars and the Moon. Located about an hour west of downtown Hendersonville.
Reservations are required for any size group, but this is great for larger groups. Call for for public hours and to make a reservation 828-862-5554.
The Oriole Mill creates luxury quality, Jacquard and Dobby woven textiles. Their own line of products, sold at their factory store, lines includes coverlets, duvets, shams, throws, decorative pillows, window covering, yardage, and more. Everything they sell at their store is made on-site.
Free factory tours are available most Fridays at 1pm, for groups of 12-16 people, however reservations for this tour are required. Must be at least 12-years-old and wear closed-toe and closed-heel shoes to enter factory. Private group tours are available as well. To make a tour reservation, call 828-693-5500 or email email@example.com.
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is the childhood home of author, Thomas Wolfe. Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. This historic site is devoted to interpreting the life, literature and times of Thomas Wolfe through the use of his mother’s boardinghouse and Look Homeward, Angel. Located 25 miles north of Hendersonville.
Open Tuesday – Saturday. House tours are offered daily at half past each hour for a small fee. Group tours available by reservation.
Axe throwing is similar to a combination of darts and bowling. It is an indoor recreational range set up like a bowling alley with a bullseye target at the end of the lane. The lanes are divided by steel fencing with rubberized floors.
Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are suggested and maybe made online
For ages 13+, but anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian
Triskelion Brewing Company’s is located in the Historic 7th Avenue district. Triskelion is Greek word meaning “three legs.” Selections include traditional farmhouse ales and lagers to fruit beers and sour ales. Regularly hosts live music.
The Tryon International Equestrian Center is a 1,400-acre destination equestrian lifestyle destination, hosting international-level equestrian competitions across numerous classes. The venue provides outstanding facilities for hunter/jumper, dressage, and eventing competitions. Located 30 miles from Hendersonville. The 2018 edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ will be held in Mill Spring, NC, over thirteen days from September 11-23rd, 2018 at Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Western North Carolina Agricultural Center offers several exhibit halls featuring equestrian shows, dog shows, rodeos, car shows, just to name a few. The Ag Center is home to the Mountain State Fair, a ten day celebration of mountain living featuring exhibits, animals, a midway and food. Located 11 miles from downtown Hendersonville.
North Carolina’s first air museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the flying heritage of the Western North Carolina. It features an impressive collection of restored, replica and vintage airplanes, models, engines, and flying memorabilia. The museum is housed in two large hangers, where you will find passionate volunteer pilots that are eager to show you around. The museum is located adjacent to the Hendersonville Airport . No admission charge. Advance reservations for groups requested.
The Western North Carolina Nature Center connects people with the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountain region by inspiring appreciation, nurturing understanding, and advancing conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity. The property is comprised of 42 acres of plants and animals native to the region. Open 7 days per week, year-round with indoor and outdoor exhibits, and many educational and events throughout the year. Located 21 miles from Hendersonville.
Zebulon Baird Vance Birthplace is a State Historic Site. It preserves the pioneer farmstead where Vance, a Civil War officer, North Carolina Governor (1862-1865 and again 1877-1879), and United States Senator was born and raised. The Vance Birthplace is open for self-guided tours and is furnished with items from the period from 1790 to 1840. The farmstead is located approximately 35-miles north of Hendersonville in Weaverville, NC. Reservations are requested for group tours.
Open Tuesday – Saturday, closed most major holidays. Admission is free.