Hendersonville, North Carolina

Best Places to Retire in North Carolina


Hendersonville (population approximately 10,500) is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 25 miles south of Asheville, NC.  Founded in 1841, it takes its name from Leonard Henderson (1773-1833), an early Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.  Henderson County (population 90,000) has an average elevation of 2,200 feet above sea level ñ ranging from 1,400 feet to its highest peak, which is Little Mount Pisgah (5,280 feet). The climate provides four distinct, moderate seasons that offer beauty and the opportunity for year-round outdoor recreation.  The well-known Blue Ridge Parkway, just 12 miles away, courses along the mountain ridges offering spectacular vistas as you head north towards Virginia, or it leads south and west to Great Smokey Mountain Park, a little more than an hourís drive.  http://www.hendersonville.com/

Downtown Hendersonville (which is on the National Register of Historic Places) is both picturesque and the hub for many activities, drawing in both residents and visitors. It has both small town charm and amenities to support an upscale lifestyle. Attractive residential neighborhoods and trees, wide sidewalks and plantings line its main street.

There are a good number of art galleries, craft shops, boutiques, specialty shops, antique stores and restaurants. One of the notable downtown events is the North Carolina Apple Festival, held annually over Labor Day weekend.  It draws an estimated 200,000 visitors.

Hendersonville also has a good many arts and craft type organizations.  Among them are Henderson Country Crafters, Henderson China Painters, High County Art Craft Guild, Mountain Metalsmiths, Southern Highland Craft Guild, Tarheel Piecemakers, Tarheel Ruggers, Translyvania Art Guild, Western Carolina Ceramic Association, Western North Carolina Quilterís Guild, Western North Carolina Fiber/Handweavers Guild, and more.

Health services for a community this size are excellent and the Asheville Airport is only10 miles away.  The area has an abundance of opportunities to enjoy the arts.  Flat Rock Playhouse is considered among the best summer stock theaters in the country, and nearby Brevard Music Center, which is internationally known, offers more than 80 public performances.  Asheville has a number of venues and a busy arts calendar, and there are artistic productions at the colleges in the area as well.

Not surprisingly, Henderson County has been the fastest growing county in western North Carolina for more than a decade.

Arts & Culture

Flat Rock Playhouse/Vagabond School of the Drama produces professional theatre while teaching drama and the performing arts. Between May and December it produces a nine-show professional series of comedies, musicals, and dramas.  Flat Rock Playhouse, by act of the stateís General Assembly, became designated ìThe State Theater Of North Carolina.î   It offers a summer and fall college intern program, a two-show season and cabaret series by Theatre for Young People, and year-round classes and workshops for students from kindergarten through high school. http://www.flatrockplayhouse.org/

Hendersonville Countyís main library is at 301 N. Washington St. There are also three branch locations. http://www.henderson.lib.nc.us/

Internationally known Brevard Music Center performs more than 80 public performances annually during its eight-week summer season. Its primary stage is Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium which seats 1,800, and also has lawn seating on either side of the hall.  During its season BMC attracts tens of thousands to its performances.  It has three orchestras, two wind ensembles, piano, composition, jazz and chamber music programs.  http://www.brevardmusic.org/aboutBMC.html

Nearby Asheville has music from formal classical concerts to spontaneous street performances. It is home to one of the oldest folk festivals, The Mountain Dance & Folk Festival held each August. There are free outdoor concerts at Pack Square and the City/County Plaza during the summer, and the Downtown After Five series features music of all types.  Shindig on the Green, held nearly every Saturday night July through September, features mountain music and blue grass.  If you want jazz, you can hear it at one of Ashevilleís nightclubs. http://www.exploreasheville.com/arts_theater.htm

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra presents a Masterworks Series of six concerts, as well as special pops and choral concerts. http://www.ashvillesymphony.org/

Asheville Community Theatre offers great productions throughout the calendar year. http://www.ashevilletheatre.org/

Diana Wortham Theatre at pack Place in Asheville is a 500-seat venue. http://www.dwtheatre.com/,

Asheville Art Museum is the single visual arts facility serving western North Carolina http://www.ashevilleart.org/

The Biltmore Estate, just south of Asheville, is a major attraction.  This 255-room French chateau is the largest private residence ever constructed in the United States. Built in 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt (just 28 years old at the time), it was meant to rival the most magnificent castles of Europe.  It has four acres of space and includes 34 master bedrooms, 43 baths, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens and an indoor pool.  The estate was on 125,000 acres, (today it is 8,000 acres) surrounded by magnificent gardens on a grand scale. The huge gardens are meticulously maintained and the home contains over 50,000 art objects, antiques and furnishings. http://www.biltmore.com/visit/gardens/index.html


There are a number of both private and public golf courses.  Private golf communities include Brightís Creek, Champion Hills, Cliffs Communities, Cummings Cove and Kenmure Properties. http://www.hendersonvillechamber.org/cwweb/cw_1322.htm   Public courses include Crooked Creek, Etowah Valley Country Club, Highland Lake, and Orchard Trace. http://www.hendersonvillechamber.org/cwweb/cw_1256.htm

Henderson County Recreation Department operates eight county parks offering many opportunities.  Facilities include athletic fields, basketball, shuffleboard, an outdoor Olympic-sized pool, as well as picnicking areas, nature trails, and more. http://www.henderson.lib.nc.us/county/depts/recreation.html

The Pisgah Forest offers a wide range of options, including hiking and back-packing, camping, fishing, biking, horse-back riding, swimming, rock-climbing, car-touring, waterfalls, wildlife, historical areas, and a variety of special programs to choose from, including everything from lectures to guided hikes and square dancing.  http://ncnatural.com/NCUSFS/Pisgah/pisgdst.html

Dupont State Forest has 7,600 acres designated for hiking, horseback riding, biking, hunting,and fishing.  There are beautiful waterfalls, rock formations and rare plant life to be seen along more than 30 miles of forest trails. http://www.main.nc.us/eco/dsf/

The Cradle of Forestry in America is a 6,500-acre historic site within the Pisgah National Forest commemorating the beginning of forestry conservation in America.  It has exhibits and a film plus two guided trails to historical buildings and a 1915 logging locomotive and sawmill.  It also features craftsmen at work and other special programs http://www.cradleofforestry.com/history4.htm


Blue Ridge Community College, located on a 140-acre campus two and a half miles southeast of Hendersonville, offers a broad curriculum and awards Associates degrees, diplomas, and certificates.  Its Transylvania Center in Brevard houses curriculum and continuing education classes.  It has an enrollment of more than 1,200 in degree programs, and more than 2,000 total students overall. http://www.blueridge.edu/

Brevard College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church.  It offers a broad curriculum in the arts, fine arts and sciences. Enrollment is under 1,000 students.  http://www.brevard.edu/

Brevard Music Center is an independent, non-profit educational institution dedicated to promoting quality music education by concentrating on training in performance and theory of musicians by working with demonstrated talent under repertory conditions.  Its campus in Brevard encompasses more than 145 buildings spread over a 140-acre site.  Each year BMC attracts 400 serious, dedicated students who have successfully completed a competitive audition process.  These students, age 14 to post-college, perform more than 80 public paid concerts in a period of six weeks ñ working alongside experienced faculty. The Brevard Music Center’s three orchestras, two wind ensembles, piano, composition, jazz and chamber music programs offer numerous performance opportunities for each young musician. http://www.brevardmusic.org/aboutBMC.html

University North Carolina at Asheville is the only liberal arts school in the UNC system. It has approximately 2,600 full-time and 700 part-time students. http://www.unca.edu/

Western Carolina University at Cullowhee, S.C., (68 miles) became a part of the 16-campus state university system in 1971.  It has an enrollment of approximately 7,000 students. http://www.wcu.edu/

Montreat College is a private Christian college, established in 1916.  It enrolls 1,100 students in its School of Arts & Sciences and Professional & Adult Studies. The school is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.  http://www.montreat.edu/

Mars Hill College, founded in 1856, is the oldest educational institution in western North Carolina.  Its name comes from Acts 17:22:  ìThen Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill Öî. The school is affiliated with the North Carolina Baptist Convention.  It offers five degrees in 30 major courses of study. http://www.mhc.edu/

Warren Wilson College is an independent, accredited, four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  It awards Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.  It is located on an 1,100-acre campus 10 miles east of Asheville on the Swannonoa River. http://www.warren-wilson.edu/main/

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) is a two-year college with an enrollment of about 8,000 students.  It has five college-wide divisions:  Allied Health and Public Service Education, Arts and Sciences, Business and Hospitality Education, Continuing Education, and Engineering and Applied Technology. http://www.asheville.cc.nc.us/

Senior Programs

The Buncombe County Council on Aging is dedicated to assisting and linking senior adults and their families with information, opportunities, and services that promote and enhance their quality of life. http://www.coabc.org/

AARP Chapter 8 in Hendersonville meets each month in the Roy Johnson Room at Hendersonville First United Methodist Church. (828) 697-7305

Senior Friendships has the objectives of: a) introducing newcomers of Henderson County to their community and establishing friendships, b) supporting worthy causes in the community, and  c) encouraging participation in club and community activities.   Typical activities include bowling, breakfast club, couples lunch bunch, dining out, golf, ladyís lunch bunch, singles group, social supper club, special events, and more. http://www.seniorfriendships.com/

The Opportunity House is an arts, crafts, and cultural center offering classes and activities like bridge, bingo, woodworking, computers, gardening, sewing, languages, exercises, dancing, pottery and much more. (828) 692-0575

The Sammy Williams Senior Center hosts a variety of classes, including computer, crafts, Internet, pinochle, needlework, and more. (828) 692-3320

The Seniors Social Club is a club for seniors living in Henderson County.  The club has four dinner socials and two luncheon socials a year with entertainment plus numerous monthly activities. Guests and new members are welcome. (828) 692-2277

North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement (NCCCR) at UNC offers continuing education programs for seniors, as well as leadership and community service opportunities.  Most programs are in the area, but some are in collaboration with organizations in other parts of North Carolina or across the country.  Seniors have full access to the resources of UNC at Asheville and can possibly even teach.  It is a member-led organization focusing on enriching the mind through continued learning.  Courses can range from Chaucer to computers, foreign affairs to opera, etc.  Courses are non-credit and there are no tests or grades.  They are open to anyone over 50 years of age.  http://www.unca.edu/ncccr/


Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit community hospital offering a full range of both inpatient and outpatient services.  It has a medical staff of 238 physicians who practice in 31 specialties and is licensed for 222 acute care beds.  Pardee has several locations separate from its main campus, including a 130-bed nursing facility, an adult day services center, and health education center, urgent care facility, home health, rehab services and women’s health center. http://www.pardeehospital.org

Park Ridge Hospital, in nearby Fletcher, has a medical staff of 150 and operates a 103-bed facility providing state-of-the-art care.  It is a member of Adventist Health System (AHS).  Around the globe, the Seventh Day Adventist Church operates more than 500 healthcare facilities. http://www.parkridgehospital.org

Mission St. Josephís Hospital in Asheville is licensed for over 800 beds.  It is the regional medical referral center for western North Carolina and parts of adjoining states and has a medical staff of over 600 physicians representing virtually every specialty.  http://www.msj.org/

Veteranís Administration Medical Center in Asheville has a 535-bed hospital. (828) 298-7911http://www.asheville.va.gov


Asheville Regional Airport, located 10 miles north, offers regularly scheduled commercial service from major airlines. http://www.flyavl.com/

Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport, located 30 miles from Hendersonville, is served by approximately nine major carriers. http://www.airnav.com/airport/KGSP/WINDOWS

Hendersonville Airport has a 3,200-foot paved and lighted runway.  Aerolina, the owner of the field, provides charter service throughout the U.S.  It also offers rentals, maintenance, storage, fuel, flight training, and scenic flights. http://www.airnav.com/airport/0A7


Temperatures in Hendersonville, located 2,200 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, are somewhat cooler than the flatlands.   Summer days are typically in the 80s with lows in the 60s.  Annual rainfall is 56 inches and snowfall averages nine inches.  The first frost is around October 12 and last frost is near April 26. http://www.wunderground.com/US/NC/Hendersonville.html


Hendersonville Times-News – http://www.hendersonvillenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

Property Taxes

Henderson County Tax Department – (828) 697-4870

Hendersonville City Tax Department – (828) 697-3002

State Taxes


Chamber of Commerce


State Aging Agency



Brevard – 20 miles
Asheville – 26 miles
Greenville, SC – 38 miles
Spartanburg, SC – 48 miles
Charlotte – 103 miles
Knoxville – 131 miles
Atlanta – 182 miles

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