Love Letters to the Horse Shoe Farm and Hendersonville North Carolina

An expansive view of the bucolic Horse Shoe Farm property from the porch of The Magnolia Manor
The Magnolia Manor

There are certain destinations that captivate a traveler in such a pervading way, you almost feel compelled to write poetry about it. The landscape, the smells, the sounds—your senses are alert, bewitched and besotted with the place. You grasp for more, all the while cringing at the impending date on the calendar that signals a return home. With that preface, this is my love letter to The Horse Shoe Farm and the city of Hendersonville in North Carolina.

The name Asheville might ring a bell (a cowbell of course), but I don’t expect you to know her younger and more demure sister, (and just a 30 minute drive south) Hendersonville. The town is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, with its winding roads festooned with wildflowers and rolling green hills, its apple orchards and the exalted Blue Ridge Mountains that appear as an al fresco mural in the horizon. 

The beauty of this place is all the more aggrandized once settled into The Horse Shoe Farm. There are over 85 acres of pristine and lush farmland with luxury accommodations that run from lofts, cottages, houses to a manor (eight homes for up to 50 guests). And yes, a manor! All of the accommodations are on property, yet with enough distance from one to the next to enjoy complete privacy. 

This upscale riverfront estate sits on the tail end of the French Broad River and is an eight-minute drive from downtown Hendersonville. Once a thriving cattle farm in the 1950s, it flourished for the next 40 years until it transitioned from a working farm to a hobby farm, later the sprawling estate became a haven for classic car collectors, hosting festivals and events. 

Purchased by the Turchin family in 2017, their desire was to respect the true essence of the farm, returning it to the tranquil, elegant and serene place it once was, and renovating it into the retreat that it is today. This is the destination to venture to for a family vacation or reunion, a romantic getaway, or even a bonding trip with friends. It’s an ideal spot for a wedding or a wellness retreat, and of course for a birthday spent immersed in nature while roasting marshmallows (to make s’mores) by the campfire; and yes this is part of the late evening ritual. 

The Silo Cookhouse

There’s plenty to take in while at Horse Shoe, The Silo Cookhouse is the meeting space and sort of the spot that generates the feeling of community. Breakfast is served here and family dinners can be organized here as well. Within the Silo, that is adjacent to the house, you’ll find a meditation space with great views of the farm. Across from the cookhouse is the chicken coop where the goats are kept and you can walk right over to pet them. Prepare yourself for an abundance of cuddles, mama goat Marley likes to come in for kisses. 

Horse Shoe is most definitely a luxury farm, but it has a unique spiritual twist. Nothing is set in stone here, no schedule you must adhere to, and you are free to help pick vegetables in the mini organic garden, take a yoga class or do meditation at The Sanctuary, or indulge in a spa treatment at The Stable Spa. A horse stable turned into a lavish (western themed) spa with treatments that range from a four hand massage (yes, two individuals give you a massage at the same time), a selection of body scrubs and wraps, CBD foot soaks, to cupping (an ancient Chinese method which promotes healing, releases toxins, and activates the lymphatic system).

The Stable Spa

After all that relaxation it’s time to get active and head into town. En route make sure to stop at Elijah Mountain Gem Mine. Become a prospector from the 1800s and mine for some rose quartz (maybe even gold) and a selection of other gems. It’s a great family activity. 

North Carolina is known for being a place in which to take in the outdoors, so head out for a hike or enjoy views of Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest. Also located in Pisgah is Sliding Rock, a natural mountain water slide fueled by 11,000 gallons of water flowing down the rock each minute. It’s a favorite spot in the spring and summertime. 

After taking in nature, it’s time to head back into town. Downtown Hendersonville is comprised of two districts, Main Street and Seventh Avenue. Both are part of Main Street America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that helps to revitalize the nation’s central business districts. 

Both districts are quaint with beautiful landscaping—incorporating many of the wildflowers you see growing alongside the roads. With over 100 locally owned shops and restaurants, coffeehouses, art galleries, a pinball museum, and the Henderson County Heritage Museum—there’s a lot to enjoy and take in.

You might notice statues of colorfully decorated bears along the sidewalks. The city has given a nod to the black bear that are symbolic to the state with the Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk which exhibits bears created by local artists and sponsored by businesses. Each year after being exhibited from May through October, the bears are auctioned off to raise money for local nonprofits and for the enrichment of downtown programs, like community events and festivals. 

Great stores to check out located right on Main Street are Moonshine & Magnolias, where you can pick up an assortment of gifts from candles to beauty products; Merch on Main and Razberry Threads sell chic apparel and jewelry, and Vessel has an incredible selection of unique gems, healing stones and handmade jewelry. 

A must for breakfast or lunch is Mike’s On Main, a 1950s soda shop that serves up a classic All-American breakfast. Never Blue is the spot for tapas, from duck wontons, loaded fritas to great vegetarian and vegan options. If you’re looking for a place that includes a cool bar, Shine is it. They serve a delightful The Bees Knees and a Hemingway Daiquiri that would get three thumbs up from any bartender in Havana. You can combine both of those with the stuffed shiitake mushrooms or Chef Tom’s Pork Tenderloin.

Elijah Mountain Gem Mine

Now if you’re willing to head into Asheville [note: I plan on doing a more extensive article on this city] you must head to Sovereign Remedies. It’s the best-kept secret, well…perhaps now not so much. Housed in an early 20th-century pharmacy, they serve up incredible farm to table fare, along with some mean cocktails. You can pair up the Bavette Steak (wildflower butter, speckled butter lettuce and beef jus) with the Root Daiquiri made of rum, lime, sarsaparilla, burdock and dandelion.

Between the natural surroundings, the historical Hendersonville, the beautiful Horse Shoe Farm, the great farm to table food, and the gentile locals, this is the kind of place that can make a poet of us all. 

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