Each fall, the Blue Ridge Mountains beckon travelers to Western North Carolina. As the days get shorter, the air becomes crisp, leaves turn brilliant colors and apples ripen throughout rolling orchards. Hendersonville, located just south of Asheville not far from the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, welcomes travelers looking for a quintessential mountain town.
With one of the most welcoming Main Streets in the region, Hendersonville encourages visitors to stroll its wide sidewalks lined with trees and brick planters and shop in its numerous boutiques and galleries. Twenty-five independently owned restaurants make downtown a dining destination. And artisan beverage producers throughout the county craft fine wine, beer, cider and mead.
Follow the Cheers! Trail
Hendersonville contains 18 craft beverage producers. The Hendersonville Cheers! Trail allows visitors to create a self-guided tasting experience. Purchase a Cheers! Trail Passport at the Visitor Center, receive stamps as you explore the trail, and once you have a dozen, return the passport for a prize.
Your Cheers! Trail journey leads you along mountain backroads to various tasting rooms. Have a seat at the bar and talk with knowledgeable staff members with a passion for what they pour. Take a tour of the facility and learn how apples are pressed into a clean, crisp cider or how different kinds of hops bring out certain flavors in a beer. Overlook rolling vineyards where grapes await harvest.
In summer 2019, Hendersonville received federal recognition for its wine growing region. Designated as Crest of the Blue Ridge American Viticultural Area or AVA, Hendersonville joins the likes of Napa and Sonoma. The AVA specifies that Hendersonville has a certain soil, elevation and climate that create favorable conditions for growing grapes.
The county now contains five wineries. These small, boutique-style operations specialize in high-quality wines and a personalized visitor experience. Sip award-winning vintages while overlooking rolling vineyards and stunning mountain landscapes. One winery, Point Lookout, also produces a line of meads, or wine made from honey.
Hendersonville’s abundant orchards provide a ready supply of fresh apples for crafting hard cider. Bold Rock Hard Cider, the largest craft cidery in the country, operates a state-of-the-art cidery and apple-pressing barn just west of Hendersonville in rural Mills River. Visitors enjoy sampling from a dozen different varieties, eating from the smokehouse-style food truck and relaxing in the cider garden.
The craft beer boom has taken off in Western North Carolina. From small-scale operations to some of the largest independent producers in the country, this area is known for its brews. Ten breweries are located along the Hendersonville Cheers! Trail. The best known is the East Coast headquarters for Sierra Nevada Brewing. The palatial brewery, taproom, restaurant and beer garden have become a mecca for craft beer enthusiasts.
From casual to classy
North Carolina is known for its barbecue, and Hendersonville serves some of the finest. Dig into a plate of slow-smoked pork at Hubba Hubba Smokehouse. The outdoor dining space resembles a garden oasis. At Flat Rock Wood Room, choose from award-winning brisket, chicken, pork or house-made smoked sausage.
Downtown Hendersonville offers an array of internationally inspired tastes, from authentic Italian to Latin American tapas and a sushi restaurant that draws diners from miles around.
Agriculture plays an important part in Hendersonville and the surrounding community, and several chefs work closely with local farmers to incorporate fresh ingredients into their dishes. At Season’s restaurant, the rotating menu is influenced by what’s coming out of the gardens on property. The elegant restaurant has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 2000.
To learn more about Hendersonville and plan your Blue Ridge Mountain escape, go to www.VisitHendersonvilleNC.org or call (800) 828-4244.