Last Updated on June 5, 2023
Calling itself “The Friendliest Town in the South,” Tryon, NC is currently home to about 1,500 residents. Tryon has been one of the South’s top equestrian destinations for more than 100 years. And the town has become newly discovered by people flocking to its equestrian events and facilities, quirky in-town living, outdoor adventure opportunities, and balanced four-season climate.
Learn more about why it’s easy to Live Abundantly in Tryon, NC.
Welcome to North Carolina’s horse country!
Tryon’s long and storied equestrian history started in 1917, when Northerners would travel to the Pine Crest Inn to ride their horses during the mild Southern winter. The Tryon Horse Show began in 1929 (the third oldest of its kind in the country). And the Block House Steeplechase began in 1934. In 1956, the US Equestrian Team trained in Tryon for the Olympics.
Tryon still offers world-class equine veterinary, boarding, and training facilities, as well as more than 100 miles of private trail systems. Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) is a 390-acre educational and recreational center that provides programs in nature study, outdoor recreation, and equestrian competition. The facility includes five miles of trails, suitable for hiking or riding, and a nature pond with a boardwalk. The center also features three lighted show rings, spectator seating, and stables for more than 200 horses.
“When I lived in Florida, every summer we came to this area to horse show. And one summer, I opened a magazine and saw the real estate prices and I thought, ‘Why am I living in Florida?’” said Martha Hall, a resident of Tryon. “The next thing I knew, I owned property here. I moved here 10 years ago with Elmo and a couple of my other horses, and I’ve never looked back. I have no desire to go anywhere else. It’s just the greatest place to live.”
Opened in 2014, the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) effectively established the next chapter in a town where history and horses intersect. The $100 million, 1,450-acre, state-of-the-art facility takes a love for horses to the next level. Here, any and all can come and enjoy the beauty of the sport and its incredibly gifted animals. TIEC features 10 riding arenas, over 1,000 permanent stalls, elevated and shaded viewing decks, restaurants, family activities, boutiques, and more. Its size and breadth has made the center a must-see location for spectators and competitors alike. In fact, TIEC was chosen as the host of the 2018 World Equine Games.
Come for nature, stay for the neighbors
There’s more to Tryon than just a horse town. The area’s foothills are rich with history, culture, crafts, unique culinary traditions, and vast natural areas.
Tryon’s main thoroughfare, Trade Street, is a destination in itself. Within a few very walkable blocks, you’ll find a number of restaurants, antique and vintage shops, independent bookstores, and eclectic art galleries. Tryon Fine Arts Center is a focal point for entertainment and the arts. Cross the street to explore Nina Simone Plaza, dedicated to the great musician and activist. Nina Simone was born in Tryon in 1933 before becoming known for her “Black Classical Music,” a blend of gospel, classical, jazz, folk, and traditional ballads that would inform the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
The area surrounding Tryon is an internationally renowned stopping point for outdoor enthusiasts. There are a number of great parks, hiking and riding trails, zip-lining, whitewater adventures, and so much more.
“You’ve got views, you’ve got this land, you’ve got riding facilities, you’ve got trail systems—it’s totally unique to anywhere I’ve been,” said Martha. “And one of the things that people look at when they’re looking for real estate is [whether] the property is on a trail system. You can ride straight from your home right onto a trail system,” said Martha.
Polk County’s range of elevations also make it the perfect place to explore WNC’s river systems. People of all ages enjoy fishing, paddle sports, and just quietly admiring life along the banks. Throughout the summer, it’s common to see tubers floating lazily down the gentle rapids of the Lower Green River. But if you’re looking for a thrill, the Green River offers some of the most challenging whitewater kayaking in the Southeast.
Enjoy a four-season climate in Tryon
Located in North Carolina’s thermal belt, Tryon enjoys a milder climate than surrounding areas of elevation. The town lies at the base of the Saluda Grade, America’s steepest standard-gauge railway grade, at an elevation of 1,067 feet.
“This area, I think, has just as many good riding days but a more temperate climate,” said Martha. “The [thermal] belt truly is cooler in the summer here and warmer in the winter than up on top of the mountain in Asheville.”
Tryon is also conveniently located a short drive from many of the Southeast’s top cities and destinations. In addition to being just a short drive from Asheville and Hendersonville, the town is less than an hour from the Greenville-Spartanburg metro of South Carolina. Charlotte, Columbia, and Atlanta are just a few hours away.
“We love the Asheville and the Hendersonville area,” said Martha. “There’s all kinds of natural resources. We like to hike, we take our horses up to the Biltmore [Estate], we do trail riding in DuPont [State Recreational] Forest—so there’s lots of things to do.”
“You can enjoy the benefits of having all that right in your own back yard.”
Learn more about Polk County, NC
Polk County, the “First Peak of the Blue Ridge,” welcomes flatlanders to a higher altitude. Elevations range from just under 800 feet at the Green and Broad Rivers to over 3,200 feet on Tryon Peak and Wildcat Spur. Most of Polk’s 20,000 residents cluster near the county’s three main towns of Saluda, Tryon, and Columbus. Tryon International Equestrian Center, a sprawling, $100-million equestrian center and luxury resort, operates nearby in Mill Spring.
Make Tryon your home today!
Build your own quiet, quirky life in Tryon, NC!
Tryon is located in the foothills of Western North Carolina, just 40 miles south of Asheville near the state line. The friendly small town is best known as an equestrian destination and the location of Foothills Equestrian Nature Center. Home buyers can truly Live Abundantly in Tryon. Homes for sale in the area include hobby farms, planned equestrian communities, and urban living near the quirky downtown.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Find your dream home in Tryon now!