- North Carolina
I was raised in a little village in Surrey, England, and have always loved the neighborhood feel that came with it. Hendersonville, North Carolina, reminded me of this same charm.
Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, 670 meters above sea level, Hendersonville is a place where Mother Nature collides with humanity. As I took in the fresh mountain air, friendly locals pointed me in the direction of all the treats Hendersonville has to offer.
Enchanting Blue Ridge Mountain Terrain
My first stop was DuPont State Recreational Forest, a magnificent 4,047-hectare tract of forest between Hendersonville and Brevard, North Carolina. This nature lover’s paradise has been the backdrop to movies such as the “Hunger Games” and “The Last of The Mohicans.” Its vastness and beauty was almost mind-boggling; it just never seemed to end.
I found myself drawn to the serene lakes, waterfalls and unbeaten paths of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which offer three great ways to explore the forest. For a more leisurely adventure, travel by foot, or for a different perspective, why not take a ride on a mountain bike or horse?
Serene lakes in DuPont State Recreational Forest near Hendersonville
Agri-Tourism and the Arts
Hendersonville’s deeply rooted farming culture has been passed from generation to generation. Many farms in the area will take you on a personal tour of their vast properties and let you see first-hand where their crops are cultivated. At Lyda Farms, I jumped aboard a golf cart and the farm owner whizzed us through apple orchards for a tour of these abundant trees.
You will also find many family-owned apple markets, wineries and interactive homesteads in and around Hendersonville. I was happy that I could spend some time tasting and picking fruit right from the land before scouring the on-site stores and neighboring vendors for everything from fruit and honey to pickles and preserves. Let’s say my suitcase was a tad bit heavier on the way home.
Freshly harvested vegetables at Lyda Farms in Hendersonville
Brew Houses, Eateries and Live Entertainment
Local breweries and craft beer houses go hand in hand with North Carolina, and Hendersonville is home to one of the most renowned brands in the market. I spent the afternoon wandering around the modern, glistening Sierra Nevada brewery, cushioned within the Appalachian Mountains and furnished with glass and copper decor. I took the brewery tour to learn how this flavorful craft beer comes to life.
As dusk arrived, I returned to historic downtown Hendersonville to spend a lively evening with some friends I met earlier that day. And yes, I say “friends” because this community is beyond welcoming and kind. We stopped by the local pub, Hannah Flanagan’s, where I felt right at home and tucked into the best shepherd’s pie I have ever had – even better than versions in England!
In Hendersonville, I found outdoor pursuits, magical landscapes and people who would give you the shirt off their back. You would be crazy not to spend some time here. My mum and I are even returning for her birthday in the next few months.
Sierra Nevada Brewery near Hendersonville