Whether you live in the mountains of western North Carolina or are just visiting, it’s a great spot to launch a day trip. From National Forests to historic homes, museums, and amazing events there's no shortage of things to do near Hendersonville and Asheville.
Hendersonville is a main street town--and main street is booming! With more than 70 fun and funky shops, historic downtown Hendersonville is a wonderful spot to spend the day browsing and buying. And if you need to refuel, there are over 20 unique eateries to stop and grab a bite.
Rhythms & Brews
Starting in May, the Rhythm & Brews concert series hits south Main Street every third Thursday of the month. The events feature live music, great food, local beer, wine, and cider! These free concerts start at 5:30 pm with headlineers taking the stage at 7:30 pm.
One of the biggest events every year in Hendersonville is the North Carolina Apple Festival. This beloved family tradition has been attracting big crowds for more than 70 years. The festival celebrates Henderson County’s long history of apple production. The county is home to some 200 apple growers and produces 65% of the apples grown in North Carolina. Every year the festival features a street fair, children’s activities, live entertainment and of course the King Apple Parade. This year’s festival is September 4-7, 2020.
While the Apple Festival celebrates the end of the growing season, the beginning of the season offers a not-to-be-missed event as well. From mid-April to early-May the apple blossoms bloom here in the mountains. The Apple Blossom Trail is a beautiful fringe benefit of being the largest apple producing county in North Carolina. Take the self-guided tour to some of the most scenic orchards in the state and afterwards make sure to stop at one of the local cideries to enjoy the cold hard fruits of the apple harvest.
Taprooms & Brewery Tours
If you’ve caught the craft brew bug, the Henderson County Cheers Trail has some amazing spots for you to check out. The stops include 9 breweries, 2 cideries, 3 wineries and a meadery (yes, that’s what they call a winery that produces meads). The largest of the stops is the Sierra Nevada Brewery. And while the taproom has a fantastic patio and great food, make sure to schedule one of their brewery tours. The basic tour is free, but reservations are required. For brewers and beer lovers, they also offer a 3-hour Beer Geek Tour, which gets into the science and art of brewing. This is the tour of your beer dreams where you actually get to sample the brew straight from the tank.
River Arts District
Running through downtown Asheville, the French Broad River used to be the industrial heart of the city. The river was lined with heavy industrial buildings in the late 1800’s thanks to the railroad. With their large spaces and cheap rent, artists saw the forlorn buildings as an amazing opportunity and, in the 1980’s, started to move into the area. Today, the River Arts District is a vibrant arts community with more than 200 artists working and displaying their art over a mile-long stretch of the river. The artists working in the River Arts District don’t necessarily keep consistent hours - so every trip to the district will be a unique experience.
Vintage Market Days Asheville
If you have the HGTV-gene, you will definitely want to check out Vintage Market Days in March. The annual event is an upscale vintage-inspired market. This is no ordinary flea market! This curated market is filled with original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry and handmade treasures. Local food trucks are brought in to keep the shoppers fueled and ready to go.
Brevard Music Festival
Every summer, 500 of the best young musicians from across the country descend on the Blue Ridge Mountains to learn from some of the world’s preeminent musical minds at the Brevard Music Center. The students learn under the artistic direction of conductor Keith Lockhart, Principal Conductor of the Boston Pops and Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Orchestra in London. From June to August, the students put on 80 concerts! Nearly half of the concerts during the music festival are free and families are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy on the beautiful campus before the evening of music.
North Carolina Arboretum
Built inside the Pisgah National Forest, the North Carolina Arboretum is a garden lover’s dream with more than 400 acres of garden exhibits, hiking and biking trails. There are 65 acres of cultivated gardens and more than 10 miles of trails ranging from easy walk to advanced hikes. The arboretum offers special events for all seasons.