Located in Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Hendersonville attracts visitors who want to escape busy schedules and reconnect with each other or with Mother Nature.
Over the last few years, savvy travelers have begun to take advantage of traditionally slower winter months with a visit to Hendersonville. Cool season hiking and zip lining offer clear views unobstructed by tree foliage, and a nice collection of breweries, wineries and cideries pour handcrafted concoctions year-round.
Once again this year, visitors to Hendersonville can take part in the Winter Getaway Program, a collection of special rewards and discounts at local accommodations, shops, restaurants and attractions. The program requires no fee to participate and runs through March 31.
Hendersonville’s variety of lodging options includes well-known chain and independent hotels, welcoming bed-and-breakfasts, intimate inns and charming vacation cabins.
One of the lodging options participating in the rewards program is the 26-acre Highland Lake Inn & Resort. Visitors can reserve a room in the historic hotel or a cabin or cottage. Located just south of Hendersonville in Flat Rock, the inn with roaring fireplaces and whirlpool tubs is especially appealing to couples looking for a romantic getaway. Highland Lake’s winter reward includes two nights of discounted lodging with a full Southern breakfast each morning and a $50 voucher for the on-site Season’s restaurant. Season’s specializes in creative dishes that reflect the time of year and locally available ingredients.
For visitors who prefer to stay in downtown Hendersonville, the 1898 Waverly Inn sits on North Main Street just steps from the shops and galleries. Winter Getaway travelers who stay for two nights receive a third night free. The inn maintains the traditional charm of a 120-year-old inn with a large front porch, rooms named after Southern wildflowers and a farm-to-table breakfast. But the inn also includes such modern conveniences as free Wi-Fi and in-house spa services.
One of the newest hotels in Hendersonville, The Cascades Mountain Resort attracts families with its 110-foot indoor waterslide, pool and game room. Adults enjoy the secluded hot tub area. Old Orchard Tavern, the on-site restaurant, serves lunch and dinner. With the Winter Getaway Program, guests who stay two nights receive a $40 voucher for the tavern.
Downtown Hendersonville is known for its shops, galleries, museums and restaurants. Mast General Store — the popular WNC retailer that sells everything from candy to camping gear — occupies the 1905 Syndicate Building on Main Street. Peruse the clothing and shoes, culinary section and of course the barrels of old-timey sweets. Shoppers who participate in the Winter Getaway Program receive 20 percent off Mast General Store brand items.
Gem mining goes downtown at Hendersonville’s Pisgah Forest Gem Mine. Take $5 off a large bucket with the winter rewards program and hunt for treasure at the indoor sluices. Afterward, choose a favorite stone and have it made into a piece of jewelry.
The fastest, steepest zip line in the country lies southeast of Hendersonville in the Green River Gorge. The Gorge zip line experience includes 11 zips, three rappels and a sky bridge. Participants descend 1,100 feet in elevation throughout the course. Although winter zipping can be cold, the pay off comes in sweeping views of the surrounding forest and mountains. The Gorge offers $10 off per person with the Winter Getaway Program.
Although Hendersonville sits just south of the foodie capital of Asheville, the city’s food and beverage scene has emerged with a flavor all its own. There are 25 independent restaurants in the downtown area, as well as several great options just outside of town.
Flat Rock Wood Room combines award-winning smoked meats and wood-oven pizzas. Order the sampler platter to try smoked chicken breast, St. Louis-style ribs, brisket and pulled pork. Or try one of the Neapolitan pizzas made with fresh crust and classic Italian ingredients. The two food styles come together in the Tangled Up Pork pizza, where shredded mozzarella is topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and onion straws. Take 15 to 20 percent off the bill, depending on group size, with the rewards program.
Western North Carolina has developed a reputation for its rich culture of beer, wine and spirits. Hendersonville’s Southern Appalachian Brewery serves creative yet approachable beers in its industrial-style taproom. This time of year, the full-bodied Black Bear Stout and traditional Copperhead Amber Ale are crowd-pleasers. The winter rewards program encourages customers to sample several Southern Appalachian brews by offering a free four-beer flight.
At Burntshirt Vineyards, Winter Getaway customers who buy one tasting get a second free. The sprawling winery just east of downtown produces both dry and sweet wines. One of its standouts is the apple wine made with fruit from local orchards. The tasting room perched atop a hill with a vineyard view is an ideal place to while away a wintry afternoon.