The Town with the Painted Bears

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Take a stroll down the streets of downtown Hendersonville and prepare yourself for an afternoon or evening that you will thoroughly enjoy. After Asheville, Hendersonville is one of the larger communities in Western North Carolina, with a population of more than 40,000 people — significant when you think that most towns in the mountains have just a couple thousand inhabitants.

But Hendersonville is no slouch and has been part of the NC Main Street program since 1986. And they have really moved forward with bringing their downtown back to life.

Although dozens of new stores have moved onto both sides of the broad boulevard that is Main Street, it has the look and feel of days gone by. And of course, some of the businesses have survived the turmoil to hold onto their place on Main Street through the years. McFarlan’s Bakery has been in business since 1932. A few doors down is Mike’s on Main, housed in what was the town’s pharmacy and soda fountain way back when. Try Dad’s C.A.T.S Collectible and Toy Store on Main Street for the ultimate in toy cars. Hendersonville’s downtown has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1988.

And because there is a focus on historic preservation, Hendersonville’s downtown is about more than commerce. If you are there, visit the recently restored Historic Downtown Courthouse at First and Main, home to the Henderson County Heritage Museum. See the Grey Hosiery Mill, built in 1915, the only historic industrial building still standing in Hendersonville.

Something else worth checking out on Main Street are the Painted Bears of Hendersonville, a unique display of public art. Bearfootin’ was started in 2003 to raise funds for local charities. Now the bear statues are created anew every year and are strategically placed in fun spots all along Main Street for countless photo opps for everyone.

Hendersonville has many festivals throughout the year, including its annual Apple Festival over Labor Day weekend. It looks to boast about what its close to including the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, the Flat Rock Playhouse, and Chimney Rock.

At A Glance


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