In just under a two-hour drive from Charlotte, Hendersonville is filled with friendly people, gorgeous landscapes and lots of things to do.
Choices include pick-your-own apple adventures, a nationally known cidery, wine tastings and impressive new dining ventures — and that’s just a start.
Here are six reasons why day trippers love Hendersonville — a bushel and a peck.
(1) Go wine tasting at Point Lookout Vineyards
Born and raised in the Hendersonville area, Mike Jackson and his wife opened Point Lookout Vineyard in 2018 as a way to share their love of the land. “I wanted a reason for my kids to be connected to the mountains,” Jackson said.
Since then, Point Lookout has become an area go-to for a glass of wine, a laid-back time with friends and family, and impressive 30-mile views.
Recently named an official American viticultural area, the Crest of the Blue Ridge Henderson County produces some impressive wines. Stop in for a tasting and sample whites, rosé and reds, but save room for the signature Javine wine—an indulgent blend of coffee and chocolate—fitting for Jackson, who opened Jackson’s Java coffee shop in Charlotte in 1994. Meads are also on the menu.
(2) Grab a bite at Shine on Main Street
Opened in January 2019, Shine is a bright spot in the Hendersonville culinary scene. Most nights find owners Bobby and Layla Rogers—both natives of the area—behind the bar or in the kitchen.
The menu highlights include a wide array of appetizers, from small Bavarian-style pretzels to fresh bruschetta and spicy boudin. Tender duck, mussels piled high, steaks, frog legs and crab cakes all appear as mains. On a nice night, head upstairs to the rooftop patio and sip on a cocktail as the sun sets against a beautiful Blue Ridge backdrop.
(3) Pick your own apples—and stay for lunch—at Stepp’s
With dozens of apple orchards in the surrounding county, Hendersonville is a great choice for an apple-picking adventure. Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchards has been in the you-pick business for 50 years, and the passion the Stepp family shares is clear.
Hop on a wagon tour with co-owner Rita Stepp — her husband, Mike, does the driving — and learn about their family’s history on the farm. You’ll also find out all about apple varieties from Ginger Gold and Pink Lady to Shizuoka, Honeycrisp and more. “Our family loves this farm so much,” Rita said. “We love sharing it with other people.”
After the tour, grab a “pick bag” and take to the hills for your keep. Worked up an appetite? Sample a Porky Bowl of mac and cheese topped with pulled pork and slaw from Ugly Pig BBQ’s onsite food truck.
(4) Sample hard cider—and seltzer—at Bold Rock
Hard cider is a refreshing change of pace from the brewery scene, and Bold Rock has some of the best. Opened in 2012, the cidery has become one of the largest in the nation.
In its Mills River outpost, stop by and sample a seasonal Harvest Haze, made with a blend of Blue Ridge Mountain apples and pumpkin. Co-owner Brian Shanks, an award-winning New Zealand cider maker, said the company relies on the local apple growers to make high-quality product they’re proud of. Not up for cider? Go with a hard seltzer. If there’s time, tour the production facility and learn about the big-time science to cider.
(5) Tour a working textile mill—and pick up gifts—at The Oriole Mill
Step inside North Carolina’s not-so-long-forgotten textile industry at The Oriole Mill, a small boutique weaving company doing big things just outside of downtown Hendersonville.
Call in advance and set up a tour of the facility—free on Friday afternoons—and learn about the eight Jacquard and two high-speed Dobby looms that work to produce high-quality fabrics and home goods. Afterward, peruse the small shop for impressively made blankets and aprons, plus travel bags, dinner napkins, journal cases and more. Holiday gifts? Check.
(6) Visit the National Park Service’s Carl Sandburg Home
Head over to nearby Flat Rock for a look inside the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and activist Carl Sandburg. A beautiful 264-acre property, packed with serene walking trails and open farmland, the Carl Sandburg Home is where the “Poet of the People” and his family lived from 1945 until his death in 1967.
Spring for a 30-minute tour of the home, known as “Connemara,” and learn about Sandburg’s family life, award-winning works, love of music and much more as you pass by paintings, awards, clothing displays and lots of books.