The 16 blocks that make up downtown Hendersonville get especially interesting when you travel Main Street — because it’s not exactly straight. As it snakes through the attractively old-timey heart of this community in the mountains of western North Carolina, Main Street leads the visitor by restaurants, art galleries, shops, boutiques and entertainment venues. It’s enough to convince you that today’s Hendersonville has got a good thing going! And it does. The downtown even has free outdoor wifi.
Hendersonville is still a small town, with just over 13,000 residents, yet downtown often has something special happening. During the summer months, locals congregate on South Main to enjoy free live music for the Friday night Music on Main Street concert series. The Hendersonville Antique Car Club tag-teams with the concert series to host classic car shows with a festival-like, family atmosphere.
Summer also brings the downtown Rhythm & Brews Concert Series, and every June the Antique & Vintage Show lines the sidewalks of Main Street with collectibles. The Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk brings tall bear sculptures, fabulously painted with original designs, to the downtown in a highlight of the year that kicks off when the bears are unveiled in May.
One of the town’s most iconic events are the Street Dances, which have been bringing fine mountain music to Main Street for 97 years. The dances, now each Monday evening in mid-summer, began after World War I, as a way to welcome returning soldiers home.
But there’s even more to Main Street than music, shopping, artworks and eateries. The Main Street Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places — and its focal point is the beautifully restored, 1905-vintage Historic Henderson Courthouse. Between First and Second avenues and Main and Church streets, the courthouse is home to the Henderson County Heritage Museum.
Also on Main Street is the Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County, a fascinating resource on the earth sciences, and Hands On!, a children’s museum whose name gives a great introduction to all the fun and learning that awaits inside.
All photos courtesy of Historic Downtown Hendersonville