Must-see landmarks: Henderson County Heritage Museum

Tucked into the historic Henderson County Courthouse in downtown Hendersonville, North Carolina is a hidden gem: the Henderson County Heritage Museum. This manageable museum (just 2,000 square feet) is home to exhibits and artifacts that celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the small mountain city of Hendersonville. It will be appreciated by young and old alike.

Best and worst time to go to the Henderson County Heritage Museum
Since Hendersonville has a temperate climate, any time of year is appropriate for a visit. The Museum is open from Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is likely to be the least crowded from Wednesday through Friday. Avoid it on weekends, especially during the Spring, Summer, and Fall, when the town hosts festivals and other special events.

Must see/do at the Henderson County Heritage Museum
For Civil War buffs, the Civil War exhibit features period flags, weapons, and uniforms, some never-before-seen. Railroad enthusiasts will marvel at the diorama and model operating train that depicts the now-defunct "Saluda Grade," the steepest standard-gauge mainline railroad in the country. The whole family will enjoy looking at old-time merchandise in a re-creation of a turn of the century general store, hosted via video by "Mr. Shepherd," the store proprietor.

Admission to the Henderson County Heritage Museum
Admission to the museum is free. The museum isn't obvious from the outside of the Courthouse – look for signs.

Parking and public transportation at the Henderson County Heritage Museum
Public transportation to Hendersonville is limited, so reaching the city by car is advisable. The museum is located inside the Henderson County Courthouse in downtown Hendersonville, between First and Second Avenues and Main and Church Streets. On-street metered parking is available, along with free parking at the nearby Visitor Information Center (201 South Main Street).

Food at the Henderson County Heritage Museum
There is no food available in the museum; however, numerous restaurants line Main Street and are within walking distance. A wide range of choices are available, from pub-style food to international cuisine.

Insider tip for visitors to the Henderson County Heritage Museum
It's easy to pass by the upstairs exhibit, since most of the museum is on the main floor. But go up to the third floor and you won't be disappointed. There you'll find a scale model of the 1905 Courthouse, as well as original courthouse jail window bars. The kids will love posing behind them for a picture.

Author's bio: Barry Silverstein is a freelance writer who lives in Asheville, NC.