Downtown Hendersonville has the second largest downtown area in western North Carolina (Asheville’s is the biggest) with many things to do, see and taste. Main Street serpentines through the commerical strip with beautiful planter boxes. With more than 100 shops and almost 20 restaurants, this downtown is geared to tourists with many gift shops with knick-knacks and antique stores. And they just completed a big makeover!
Hendersonville’s downtown is part of the Main Street Program, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s program to revitalize the nation’s central business districts through historic preservation, attention to downtown design, thoughtful recruitment of appropriate businesses, and promotion of the downtown district.
Most of the shops are located on a five block section of Main Street. Mast General Store, always a favorite stop, is on one end and the Courthouse is on the other. We especially enjoy visiting the Silver Fox Gallery with plenty of regional art and the Colorful Kitchen with their Fiesta china and enamelware collections.
Be sure to break for some sweets at the old-fashioned McFarlan Bakery, a fixture there since 1930. And check out Mezzaluna Brick Oven & Tap House at 226 North Main Street.
The Curb Farmers Market has been going strong since 1924 with its selection of baked goods, handmade crafts, jams, etc on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays.
Another great stop is the Mineral & Lapidary Museum of Henderson County. It features exhibits from North Carolina, replicas of world famous diamonds, English minerals, Indian artifacts, a dinosaur egg nest, fossils, fluorescent minerals, gems, and faceted minerals. The museum’s specialty are Geodes, which are sold, cracked and/or displayed. And it’s free!
Don’t stress out trying to get one of the free parking spots on Main Street. There is plenty of parking along parallel streets one block on either side of Main Street.
Just outside of downtown Hendersonville is a famous angel. 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. The angel is holding a lily in her left hand and extending her right hand upward. Oakdale Cemetery is located on US Highway 64 West, just a short distance from downtown.