Although it was officially "discovered" in the 1780s by Revolutionary War soldier William Mills, it seems that only recently did Americans discover the wonder of Hendersonville. Between 1990 and 2000, the city experienced a 43% growth in its population, while Henderson County grew by almost 28% in the same period. Hendersonville is widely known as a beautiful, clean city. In March of 1988, the entirety of downtown Hendersonville was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.
With an assortment of restaurants and shops, flowerbeds and antique stores, downtown Hendersonville is welcoming and pleasant to the visitor or the resident. Main Street is host to the Annual North Carolina Apple Festival, an event held on Labor Day weekend and honoring the county's national ranking in apple production. The Music on Main Street concert series offers a variety of musical entertainment-from pop to blues to rock-every Friday night under the stars from May to August.
Hendersonville and its nearby communities also have a variety of attractions that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Hendersonville is home to over 100 restaurants of varying culinary genres. Few areas can offer proximity to such a large amount of unspoiled wilderness, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dupont State Forest, Holmes State Forest, the Davidson River and Pisgah National Forest. There are also unique attractions such as Chimney Rock, which offers one of the greatest mountain views in the area, and Jump Off Rock, a scenic overlook named after the legend of a Cherokee Indian maiden who jumped off the rock after receiving word that her young Indian Chief had been killed in battle. The area also has several community parks and playgrounds, as well as eight golf courses, including top-ranked Etowah Valley Country Club & Golf Lodge. Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club was rated as one of the top 50 in North Carolina.
Fletcher, one of Hendersonville's neighboring communities, is situated between Asheville and Hendersonville. Fletcher is a peaceful, friendly community, which values history and its rural character. The "Westminster Abbey of the South," the Calvary Episcopal Church was constructed here in 1859 and has its own ghost, the "Phantom Rider of the Confederacy."
The village of Flat Rock, just south of Hendersonville, was shaped by affluent visitors from Charleston who sought the perfect resort retreat in the early 19th century. Carl Sandburg, one of the great American writers, spent his last 22 years at his estate in Flat Rock. Connemara is now a National Historic Site and is open to visitors, who can view Sandburg's home much as it was when he was alive. Flat Rock Playhouse is considered one of the ten best seasonal theatres in the country and offers quality productions, including comedies, popular hits, whodunits and musicals. Flat Rock also has something for NASCAR fans: a brand new 10,000 square foot facility was recently built for Andy Petree's Racing.
The area's smaller towns, Horse Shoe and Etowah, have their own claims to fame. Horse Shoe was simply named for a bend in the French Broad River on which it is situated. The Big Foot Guide Service is located in Horse Shoe and offers various fishing and wilderness adventures. The name of Etowah is derived from a Cherokee word meaning "unknown." However, little about the magnificent Etowah Valley Country Club & Golf Lodge is unknown: the course hosts the Kemper Satellite Tournament and was named one of Golf Digest's "Top 50 Golf Destinations."
Quality of Life
The basics of Hendersonville also make residents' quality of life one of the best in the nation. Health services for a community of this size are exceptional and unexcelled. The area's economy is stable, as there are almost 2,000 businesses in the county. More than 50 manufacturing corporations employ approximately 7,500 Hendersonville workers. A steady flow of visitors makes tourism one of the staple industries for the area. In terms of education, Henderson County schools have had the honor of consistently being rated among the best in the state, and the student to teacher ratio is excellent at 16 to 1.
Hendersonville, Fletcher, Flat Rock, Horse Shoe and Etowah all make ideal homes for families, retirees or anyone who is seeking a paradise situated on the edge of wilderness, but with all the benefits of a bustling city.