hendersonville day trip

Heading out on a Hendersonville day trip is one of my favorite fall activities. It’s only about an hour away, maybe even less depending on where you live. It’s got great restaurants, breweries, wineries, some hiking nearby, and of course all the farms & orchards so you can get your fall on.

Now that we have Ellie in tow, our experiences is a bit different. Before our first trip, I wondered how easy it would be to have her with us as we jumped around town. Just how dog friendly is Hendersonville? Spoiler alert! It was super easy. And now it’s an annual fall tradition.

Now our first trip (where many of these photos are from) was in the fall of 2020, so our trip was a bit different in that well, you know, the pandemic. But in more recent years, I’ve begun updating my suggestions to include more options as I discover them.


Hendersonville Day Trip

Now I’ve included all the stops from our trips below. But I’ve also called out (via boxes) other options you may be interested in. Now most of these I’ve only researched (instead of, you know, actually done them), but I wanted to at least mention them.

One last thing before we get into this, I’ve done this trip on both a Friday and a Saturday. For the Friday (my recommendation if you can swing it) we took a half day and got to Hendersonville around 12:30pm. This allowed us to beat the weekend crowds, but it also meant we got a bit of a late start.

We also started our trip in town with some drinks at Oklawaha Brewery and then Never Blue for lunch. After we fueled up, we then hit up Stepp’s for some apple picking and farm festivities, and finally Guidon Brewery for a beer and some dinner.

If you go on Saturday, try to get there early to beat the weekend rush. Due to this we headed to Stepp’s first. Afterwards we tried out Burntshirt Vineyards before heading to Guidon for some food truck deliciousness and a last beer before heading home.

Feel free to mix and match what feels best for you!

Morning Options

So what if you have the whole day? How should you spend your morning? Well below are some options I’ve looked into for our trips. (I’ve just failed to get there before 11am…).

  • Sky Top Orchard is a popular apple orchard a few minutes off of US-25 on your way to Hendersonville (from Greenville). I’ve visited it before, but it’s been a few years. They open at 9am and are a perfect stop on your way. Especially if you’d like to do as much apple picking as you can. And, the apple doughnuts at Sky Top are my favorite.
  • Eat some breakfast! The original HenDough location is in Hendersonville (and I love, love, love it). They have some outdoor picnic tables that are dog friendly. I also thought Arabella looked good (and I think had outdoor seating). Or you could grab bagels to go from Joey’s NY Bagels.
  • And if you just want some coffee, there are several local options right in town: The Ugly Mug, Art & Coffee Bar, Black Bear Coffee, and Appalachian Coffee. I’m not sure about outdoor seating at these, but you can most likely get your coffee to go.
  • Go for a hike at the Carl Sandburg Home. This National Historic Site is managed by the National Park Service. They have several small hiking trails and paths on the property. And while a house tour needs to be scheduled, you can walk the grounds for free.
  • Another hiking option would be Dupont State Forest. It’s a little more out of your way (if you’re going Greenville -> Hendersonville), but I love the hiking options here. Check out the popular waterfall hikes if you’re interested.

Farms

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

Stepp’s has been one of our go-tos for the last couple of years. It’s easy to get to and has plenty of parking. It opens at 9am and closes at 6pm, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time.

It’s our main destination on our daytrips. My go-to activities are apple picking, buying/eating apple doughnuts, navigating their corn maze, and picking out the best pumpkins in their pumpkin patch.

They also have an apple cannon, and several other kid friendly activities.

If you want to go apple picking, make sure to check if u-pick is available. Depending on the week and what the weather was like that spring, apple picking may be severely limited. In mid-October of 2021, most of the farms in the area didn’t have u-pick available and Stepp’s had just one variety.

Also make sure you are aware of when apples are ready for harvest. September and early October are better for apple picking (even though it still feels like summer usually). By mid-October, the picking is mostly finished.

stepps orchard

But the apples are the main reason people come here. They have a schedule on their website of what apples are ready. When you arrive, you’ll go to the check-in, find out which apples are open for picking, purchase your apple container, and then head out into the fields.

During the weekdays you can drive in the orchard, but even when we’ve been there on a Friday we’ve opted for walking as there were a lot of people still about and, well, Ellie would prefer it!

Oh and did I mention it’s all dog friendly! As long as they are leashed, you can bring them everywhere except for the apple house.

If you have some favorite apple varieties, try to plan your trip accordingly. Granny Smiths and Pink Ladys are my favorites, so I’ve tried to plan our trips when those are ready for harvest.

One year Stepp’s had 3 varieties ready for picking. In another they just had one variety available for u-pick. So it’s best to check their website before you head out to avoid any disappointment.

If you want to do any other activities, be sure to buy your tickets at the apple house. For us that meant getting our corn maze tickets before heading over to the field.

stepps orchard

The corn maze was larger than I imagined (5 acres) and it’s a proper maze. We take turns deciding which way to go and even let Ellie choose as well. Though I think she’s more interested in finding other people and dogs than the exit.

The maze usually takes us about 30 minutes to complete (including several wrong turns and back tracks). I would expect to spend 20 minutes to an hour in the maze depending on how lucky you are.

stepps orchard

If you want to grab some pumpkins, be sure to do this last so you can just head straight to the car after. I’d suggest getting a wheelbarrow when you first enter the field (they’re available at the pumpkin patch stand). Pumpkins are very heavy!

Now these pumpkins have already been pulled off the vine, so you can just grab the ones you like. And these pumpkins aren’t exactly cheap. Then about $0.80 per pound. So for a medium sized pumpkin, you’ll be spending about $12-$15.

But I prefer to buy my pumpkins from farms rather than like grocery stores. I also like to pick up a couple of funky pumpkins (white, pink, bumpy, striped, etc.) at a farm stand along US-25 on the way to Hendersonville.

On the way back to Hendersonville along US-64 there are several orchards and farm stands along the way. Keep your eye out for anything that looks interesting.


Breweries

Oklawaha Brewery

I love me some breweries. And most of our excursions include visiting at least one. Sometimes more than one.

During our first trip, we were excited to see that Oklawaha opened at noon on a Friday. Plus they are dog friendly indoors. And that’s all we needed to hear.

Oklawaha Brewery is right in downtown Hendersonville. It may have been called Sanctuary before (not sure). And they have several unique beers on draft. Plus several sours, which are my absolute favorite.

oklawaha brewery

And at night they often have some live entertainment. We haven’t stayed for this, but since I forgot my water bottle there and had to pop back in on our way home, I definitely liked the feel and wanted to make sure we try out in the future.

The music (that night at least) had a folkish feel I loved (for the brief 3 minutes I was there) and was the perfect volume. Loud enough to hear but not so loud you couldn’t talk to someone without yelling and lip reading. (Am I getting old?)

After trying their Marzen dubbed Country Roads (my WV heart be still) and their watermelon beer, we were getting hungry. Though we did try one of their pretzels, it wasn’t enough to satisfy, so we moved on to find some lunch.

oklawaha brewery

Guidon Brewery

Usually at the end of our day, we end up at Guidon Brewery. They specialize in German beer and I love the classic styles. Plus they usually have a food truck onsite as well.

Everyone, from the bartender to the other patrons, were extremely friendly here.

Ellie also receives tons of attention and even had a piece of bacon from the food truck brought over just for her once. And though their inside isn’t dog friendly, they have a super spacious porch that is.

I also love that Guidon is trying to reduce their single use plastics. Pair this with the fact that most of their beers are around $5 a pint and I was in love. Sometimes my craft beer obsession is hard on the wallet, but that’s not the case here.

Other Brewery Options Nearby

If you’re not ready to go home quite yet, you’re in luck! Right down the hill from Guidon is Southern Appalachian Brewery (which I think usually has a food truck) and around the corner is Triskelion Brewing Company.

And I believe both of these have outdoor, dog friendly seating options.


Wineries

Burntshirt Vineyards

If breweries aren’t your thing, then you’re in luck. There are several other options in the area! Burntshirt was the first winery we visited in Hendersonville as their tasting room has an outdoor dog-friendly veranda.

I went for a wine flight that included 2 ounce pours of 5 different wines for about $16. This was more than enough wine for me and I loved that I got to try several different kinds. I went for a white, a rose, and three reds.

They usually have a food truck on the weekends (April to November) if you’re hungry. Or you can go for a cheese plate from the tasting room if that’s more to your liking.

During the summer, I’ve heard the place can get packed. On a weekend in October, most of the tables were full as well. Plan to spend at least an hour or two here, more if the place is busy (depending on how much you want to drink).

burntshirt vineyards

Visit Other Wineries & Cideries

You have a couple of other wineries in the area you can visit: Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, Sawyer Springs Vineyard, Stone Ashe Vineyards, and Marked Tree Vineyard.

And if cider is your preference be sure to check out Appalachian Ridge near Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards.


Restaurants

Never Blue

Now to be perfectly honest, I haven’t done much research about food options in Hendersonville. And for lunch on our Friday trip, Never Blue was one of the first options I came across.

The description sounded interesting, the food options looked good, reviews were great, and it was literally like 2 blocks from Oklawaha.

Never Blue was incredible. It was a bit quirky, but the food was delicious. And when I went inside to use the bathroom, I loved the look of it.

Ryan stuck with some classic wings, but I got the duck wontons and the lamb kofta. And even though I was trying to pace myself in terms of drinking, I couldn’t pass up a passionfruit margarita. And I’m so glad I didn’t.

The dog friendly outdoor seating on the sidewalk was the icing on the cake. And we were one of several groups with a doggo in tow dining at Never Blue that afternoon.

Another great dinner option nearby is White Duck Taco. I love me some White Duck. We have a location in Greenville so I am a regular. If you’ve never had it though, it’s amazing. And it’s like 3 blocks from Guidon Brewery if you’re near there.

hendersonville day trip
Happy Fall you guys!

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