• Photo: Anthony Ricci / Shutterstock


With about 14,000 residents, Hendersonville has one of the most engaging downtowns of any small city in the South. Historic Main Street, as it's called, extends over 10 winding blocks, lined with about 40 shops, including antiques stores, galleries, and restaurants. Each year from April through October, Main Street has displays of public art. Within walking distance of downtown are several B&Bs.

The Hendersonville area is North Carolina's main apple-growing area, and some 200 apple orchards dot the rolling hills around town. An apple festival, attracting some 200,000 people, is held each year in August. Whereas Asheville is liberal, progressive, and youthful in spirit and reputation, Hendersonville is predominantly a town of retirees and is considered conservative and as "American" as—yes—apple pie.

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