Mountain Magic – Hendersonville, NC

For more than a year, Hendersonville was just an exit off the interstate for us. We zoomed by on our way to Asheville without even considering a stop. I’m glad someone tipped me off to the wonders that await in this adorable little town.

Yes, I used the word “adorable” but don’t let that turn you off. Hendersonville is sweet but still manages to be genuine. It’s not the fake preciousness you get in some more touristy spots. The town went through a major revitalization in the 1990s so all this cuteness is the result of hard work. It’s also magnified by the friendly people you’ll find working and visiting here.

hendersonville, nc train stationThe 1902-1916 train station located in the Seventh Avenue Depot District.

The depot is definitely a fun stop for train enthusiasts but the real fun lies on Hendersonville’s Main Street. You’ll find a wide variety of shops and restaurants. This is a fantastic place to do window shopping or pickup unique gifts. Many stores have an international flair while others specialize in handmade items.

train shop in hendersonville, ncA scene from the window of the train shop

catamountA catamount lurks in the flowers on Main Street.
The dome of the Hendersonville County Courthouse is also visible.

hendersonville, nc bear drinking beerThis is one of the many themed bears that reside on Main Street. He’s cool and casual like most things we encountered in Hendersonville.

hippie van greatful deadHendersonville is very popular with retirees. As you might guess from this photo, it is also hippie-friendly.

what do you call a cow with no legs? ground beefThis sign was outside a shop on Main Street.

mike's on main hendersonvilleGiven the name, we had to go with Mike’s on Main for our lunch. This is an authentic soda fountain with lots of retro appeal.

mike's on mainmike's on mainWe both had sandwiches and found them to be enjoyable. Unlike Rocky’s in Brevard, Mike’s might depend a little too much on the kitsch and not quite enough on the cuisine. It was a good solid meal but nothing exceptional.

On the other hand, Kilwin’s is amazing. We first went to Kilwin’s in Boone, NC several years ago. They have handmade confections and a wonderful ice cream parlor. As soon as you enter the door, the sweet smell of chocolates and goodies fill your nose. It’s difficult to describe this pleasant aroma. It is equally difficult to stop one’s tummy from rumbling inside Kilwin’s.

kilwin's root bear floatMr. McB’s root beer float
His other favorite is the black-cherry ice cream soda.

ice cream cone kilwin'sMy coconut fudge cone. Ohhhh my goodness! This makes a belly happy!!

white chocolate popcornWhite chocolate popcorn is made fresh in the store. It’s cooling on the marble slab. The employees are always sharing free samples of some sort of delicious treat.

kilwin'sWe’re looking forward to many more trips to this little mountain town. I’m looking forward to visiting the Team ECCO aquarium and finally making a selection from McFarlan’s Bakery. This from-scratch bakery has so many options that I couldn’t make up my mind and walked out empty-handed. I look forward to telling you all about my victory over analysis-paralysis.

If you’re in Western North Carolina, make some time to check out Hendersonville. It’s also a quick, and enjoyable, trip from South Carolina’s Upstate.

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