Mountain Views, Fresh Apples & Handcrafted Wine in Hendersonville, NC
Hendersonville, North Carolina, has long been a traveler’s escape. Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, minutes from busier places, like Asheville to the north and Greenville to the south, Hendersonville maintains the quintessential charm one expects of a small town. Surrounding natural wonders beckon visitors outdoors, while abundant apple orchards encourage agritourism and the growing wine region provides a distinct drinking experience.
Hendersonville’s elevation is high enough to allow for less-humid summers and several winter snowfalls, but moderate enough that the town experiences all four seasons, each with its own charm. Fall is particularly pleasant as the air becomes crisp and cool and the leaves put on a show with their colors. The famed Blue Ridge Parkway weaves within a few miles of Hendersonville. Follow the linear National Park and pull off at overlooks that provide long-range mountain views.
One of the most accessible overlooks in Western North Carolina lies just 15 minutes from downtown Hendersonville. At 3,100 feet in elevation, Jump Off Rock peers into four states. Three easy to moderate hiking trails circle around the rock. Time your visit to sunset and watch the sun sink behind mountain peaks.
Throughout the fall, apple orchards buzz with activity. Henderson County leads North Carolina in apple production and consistently ranks within the top producers nationally.
Twenty-one orchards, markets and roadside stands along the Crest of the Blue Ridge Orchard Trail invite visitors to experience harvest season. U-pick orchards encourage families to pick their own fruit straight from the trees. Many farms grow more than 20 varieties of apples, which gradually ripen at different times and stretch the season from late August into November. Additional farm attractions include hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches and barnyard animals. Kids of all ages delight in shooting an apple cannon.
On-site bakeries take fresh apples and turn them into tasty confections. Snag an apple-cider doughnut covered in cinnamon-sugar and enjoy it in a rocking chair with a cup of warm cider and a view of the mountains. Jeter Mountain Farm also serves hard cider, made with local apples, in its mountaintop tasting room.
In the summer of 2019, Hendersonville received federal designation as Crest of the Blue Ridge American Viticultural Area (AVA). The recognition means the area’s climate, soil composition and elevation are well suited for growing grapes. Six wineries now operate in the region.
Most of the wineries are boutique properties that specialize in a personal tasting experience. Vineyards grow European grape varietals, as well as French-American hybrids, and use them to craft fine, dry wines.
For a winery with deep roots in the region, head to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards where the Ward family grows 14 varieties of French vinifera grapes on property that’s been in the family for generations. Nearby Burntshirt Vineyards gives a nod to the area’s apple heritage with its pleasantly sweet apple wine. The winery’s cottage-style vacation rental allows guests to stay steps from the vines.
High atop its namesake mountain, Point Lookout Vineyards pours wine and mead in a 4,000-square-foot open-air pavilion with panoramic views. Newcomer Stone Ashe Vineyard opened this summer, bringing a touch of Bordeaux to the Blue Ridge. The vines — chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and riesling — were cloned from legacy vines in France.
Each of the wineries offers outdoor seating and plenty of space for social distancing.
While Hendersonville feels world’s away, the town is an easy drive via nearby interstates, and the Asheville Airport is 20 minutes away. Lodging options vary from convenient hotels to friendly bed-and-breakfast inns and secluded cabins, cottages and vacation rental homes. To learn more and request a free visitor guide, go to www.VisitHendersonvilleNC.org or call (800) 828-4244.