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Hendersonville NC

Bearwallow Mountain
On Bearwallow Mountain, in Western North Carolina, a bird’s-eye view shows how enchanting pastoral life can be. These mountains have plenty of roaming room, with communities like Grand Highlands, near Hendersonville, that simply gild what nature has presented.
Photo credit: Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain

Bob and Kay Papes moved to Hendersonville from Ohio, but they lived in 12 different towns before the final move. They chose the area for its climate and beautiful scenery. “We also wanted a friendly small town, but with excellent health care,” Mr. Papes explained. “We live at 2,300 feet so it rarely gets above 90 degrees, and the winters are mild – maybe 12-18 inches of snow. In the fall, the foliage is breathtaking.”

His list of positives includes affordable housing, being fifteen minutes from Asheville airport, nearby interstates for travel, Flat Rock Playhouse, and low crime rates. Taxes are another factor. “Up north, I was paying $8,000-$10,000 in property taxes,” he shared. “Here, it’s less than $2,000 per year.”

Once they decided on the town, they had to choose a community. Carriage Springs, a neighborhood within Carriage Park, ticked all their boxes. “We love the fact that it’s an active adult community, with an architectural review committee to maintain standards. We’re five minutes from downtown, but it feels rural, and the walking path is great. Our amenities are in place, with our indoor lap pool, outdoor tennis courts, and fishing lake. We like that there is no golf course, but there are many championship courses nearby. That’s a plus for us.”

He and his wife have made great friends, helped in part by the social activities which bring folks together. He is a business consultant for small businesses, and his wife is active in charity work. In winter he enjoys a bit of snow skiing as well, at nearby Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain. “It’s the best of all worlds,” he says.

Anyone spending time in the area will become familiar with at least some of its unique attributes. Flat Rock Playhouse, where Mr. Papes performed, is the state theatre of North Carolina and is considered one of the 10-best seasonal theatres in the United States. Open from mid-April through mid-December, the Playhouse offers quality entertainment rarely found so far from Broadway musicals, farces and whodunnits.

The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra performs concerts usually heard only in major cities. Nearby Brevard Music Center, led by Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, hosts 400 outstanding young musicians from around the world for summer master classes and performances by stars like Yo Yo Ma and Renee Fleming.

Carl Sandburg, the American poet and author, spent his last 22 years at Connemara, his 264-acre estate in Flat Rock opposite the Flat Rock Playhouse. Today, it is a National Historic Site which offers keen insights on this remarkable American. His collection of 10,000 books remains at the estate, and there is a barn where Mrs. Sandburg raised her world-famous prize-winning goats whose descendants continue to thrive there.

Long before its current rush of popularity, the region was a magnet for coastal families seeking an escape from the summer heat. Their magnificent estates were elegant examples of “proper” housing for those with money and connections to Charleston, South Carolina, and England. Many of those homes continue as private estates while some have been converted to charming inns amid newer neighborhoods. Some new residents undoubtedly have happy childhood memories of learning to canoe, ride horses, and swim at one of the 23 summer camps that dot the mountains and valleys.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is among America’s first craft breweries and remains highly regarded for using only whole-cone hops and the finest quality ingredients. Sierra Nevada has set the standard for artisan brewers worldwide as a winner of numerous awards for a wide variety of beers and ales, including the legendary Pale Ale.

Historic Downtown Hendersonville was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in March of 1988. It has become a vital part of the community’s economic and cultural growth. The serpentine street features planter boxes brimming with benches, seasonal flowers and trees. Downtown boasts a wide array of

shopping, antique stores, galleries, museums, an aquarium and a variety of restaurants. Downtown offers something for everyone.

The historic district offers the visitor traditional Southern hometown charm. Downtown hosts many activities including the NC Apple Festival held during Labor Day weekend, as well as art shows, an antique show, car shows, and parades throughout the year.

In addition to magnificent scenery and delicious dining, shopping includes everything from antiques to high-tech gadgets.

The Henderson County Curb Market is a unique farmers’ market that requires sellers to be county residents. All items sold must be either handmade or locally grown. Many vendors are third and fourth generation, with ties stretching back to Hendersonville’s earliest days. Numerous tailgate markets provide organic and artisanal products from local farms.

For the Papes and others like them, the friendliness is endearing, and the views are amazing. And the local amenities – they’re simply priceless.

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