Beginning in November and continuing through New Year’s Day, the Home for the Holidays celebration features downtown decorations, parades, hayrides, holiday-themed performances, visits with Santa and shopping specials.
“Everyone has worked hard to put together this lineup of events that continues for two solid months,” says Beth Carden, executive director of Henderson County Tourism. “No matter when you come to Hendersonville, there will be something for you to do that will put you in the holiday spirit.”
The big kickoff takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, with the Downtown Street Lighting and Santa’s Arrival. Attendees gather on the Historic Courthouse Plaza and sing Christmas carols. Santa arrives at dusk and flips the switch to illuminate lights on the trees and along the street. Hendersonville’s serpentine Main Street, lined with trees and brick planters, transforms into a storybook Christmas town with block after block of twinkling lights and elaborately decorated storefronts.
The next day, Nov. 30, support Small Business Saturday by shopping at Hendersonville’s many locally owned retailers. Enjoy casual browsing, chatting with store owners, and sampling snacks and goodies. Pop into Mast General Store, a western North Carolina (WNC) mainstay, for two whole floors of clothing, home decor items, children’s games, cookware and barrels full of old-timey candy. Take pleasure in creaky floorboards and friendly staff who guide you through the large inventory.
Just north of downtown, The Oriole Mill represents a new age in WNC textile manufacturing. The mill takes cotton, wool, silk, linen, alpaca and bamboo, and weaves them into fine fabrics using no chemicals in the process. The fabric then moves to the cut-and-sew stage where it becomes bedding, clothing, kitchen towels, table accessories, handbags and more. The high-quality products are sold at the retail shop in the front of the mill and make fabulous gifts that become family heirlooms.
Explore the talents of local and regional artists along the Art Gallery Trail, which showcases a dozen galleries in and around Hendersonville. Whether you’re looking for a painting, piece of jewelry or an ornament, or something more utilitarian, such as a ceramic dish, vase or custom greeting card, these shops represent a variety of fine art and craft.
Youngsters will delight in this year’s new Peppermint the Bear Scavenger Hunt. Black bears, the unofficial Hendersonville mascot, are hidden throughout downtown businesses. When someone locates a bear in a store, the shopkeeper stamps his or her storybook guide. Once all the stamps are collected, participants turn in their completed storybooks to the Hendersonville Visitor Center for a chance to win a grand prize basket.
After a day of shopping and exploring, take in a show at Hendersonville’s renowned Flat Rock Playhouse, known as the Little Broadway in the Mountains. The original musical revue “A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas” has become a favorite family tradition. The show runs Nov. 29-Dec. 22. Drawing on the success of past performances, the show blends familiar tunes with surprise additions for a night filled with singing and dancing.
The holiday skating rink returns once again to the Visitor Center, Dec. 18-Jan. 1. The synthetic “ice” creates a smooth surface that is ideal for beginners, yet authentic enough for seasoned skaters. The iceless rink allows for skating in any weather. Two curling lanes encourage visitors to try their hand at the winter sport.
The entire Visitor Center parking lot becomes a winter wonderland with plenty of activities for skaters waiting their turn or for family members who prefer not to skate. Visitors can play games, roast marshmallows over a fire pit, take photos in Christmas-themed cutouts, and sip hot chocolate and cider. Dec. 20-22, tractor-drawn hayrides board at the Visitor Center and circle downtown for a magical tour of the lights.
Several of Hendersonville’s independently owned restaurants offer special meals throughout the holidays. Season’s at Highland Lake — an elegant restaurant known for its seasonally focused menu, well-appointed dining room and wine list — serves buffet meals for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Or treat yourself to a night out for the holiday wine dinner on Dec. 12 or New Year’s Eve dinner on Dec. 31.
With so much to do in Hendersonville, you’ll want to make plans to stay. Whether you’re looking for a convenient hotel, romantic inn, homey vacation rental or pet-centric property, Hendersonville offers a variety of lodging options.