Last Updated on June 13, 2023
There are good reasons that Flat Rock, NC has long been called “the Little Charleston of the Mountains.” For one, its historic charm is undeniable. The village also has longstanding ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, and the Charleston area in particular. Plus, like the Holy City, it is a popular tourist destination for people visiting from near and far.
You’re liable to fall in love with Flat Rock at first sight. Here are just a few reasons why:
A very brief history of Flat Rock, NC
The Cherokee Nation once claimed the forests and streams around this area. Merchants from Charleston would travel to the “Great Flat Rock” to trade beads and trinkets, and sometimes ammunition, with the Cherokee in exchange for valuable hides and furs to ship to European markets. In 1807, the “great flat rock” gave its name to the nascent pioneer settlement nearby.
During the early 19th century, the Buncombe Turnpike was completed and the community thrived. The area became an oasis for affluent land owners from the Lowcountry, who built English-style summer estates in the vicinity to escape the heat. Their attraction to the area gave the village the nickname it still holds: “The Little Charleston of the Mountains.” What they created was a vibrant mountain community, rich with forested landscapes and scenic vistas.
The Village of Flat Rock incorporated in 1995. Today, the entire 8.2-square-mile district is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many people come to enjoy Flat Rock’s history, tradition, and beauty—and many still choose to stay!
Our favorite things to do today around Flat Rock, NC
Now bustling with around 3,300 residents, Flat Rock is as charming as ever! The village is filled with art studios, specialty shops, and unique entertainment opportunities. Here are just a few of our favorite things to do in Flat Rock, NC.
Take a selfie along “Little Rainbow Row”
As you’re traveling along Greenville Highway through town, you’ll notice a collection of shops and eateries painted in bright and whimsical colors. This area of town is known as “Little Rainbow Row,” an homage to the famous Rainbow Row in Downtown Charleston.
The Wrinkled Egg is the anchor for this collection of colorful shops. It is housed in the building fondly remembered as Peace’s Grocery (c.1890), the community’s only general store until the early 1980s. Within walking distance are arts and crafts galleries and a number of our favorite dining spots, including Honey and Salt, Flat Rock Village Bakery, and Hubba Hubba Smokehouse. Stroll the sidewalk, explore the shops, relax in the rocking chairs out front, then cross the street to explore the shops in Flat Rock Square.
Tour the Carl Sandburg Home
One of Flat Rock’s biggest attractions is the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Built in 1838, this 264-acre working farm was once the estate of poet and author Carl Sandburg and his wife, Lilian “Paula” Sandburg. Sandburg spent the last 22 years of his life on the estate, known as Connemara, and wrote more than a third of his works here. A collection of Sandburg’s 10,000 books, papers, and notes are on display in the home, which is open for tours. Descendants of Paula’s prize-winning goats still live on the farm and are also free to visit. Pack a picnic if you go! Five miles of hiking trails meander through the estate.
Learn more about Connemara and the legacy of the Sandburgs:
See a show at Flat Rock Playhouse
The Flat Rock Playhouse, North Carolina’s state theatre, is located in the heart of the Historic Village of Flat Rock. Enjoy Broadway-quality musicals, comedies, dramas, and theatre for young audiences at this community touchstone. The Playhouse has gained national recognition for its professional performing company and theatre training programs. Their season generally runs year round, with more than 100,000 patrons attending shows each year.
Learn more about the history of Flat Rock Playhouse and how it contributes to the area’s arts culture:
Quench our thirst at Flat Rock Cider Company
Apples are the traditional agricultural crop of Henderson County, gaining even more prominence in the area since World War II. Today, the county retains its regional and national agricultural footprint. And a burgeoning industry is making the most of the local pantry staple. Flat Rock is home to Flat Rock Cider Company, which sources all their fruit locally and presses it by hand. The village is also just a short drive from Bold Rock Hard Cider, the largest craft cidery in the Carolinas.
Learn more about why hard cider is a beverage that’s local to the core:
Make your future in Flat Rock, NC
If you’re looking for a slower pace of life in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the Village of Flat Rock could be for you. From shopping and dining along the main thoroughfare to numerous community activities, there are many ways to Live Abundantly in Historic Flat Rock, NC.
Flat Rock offers residents a wide range of real estate options. You can find modestly priced condominiums close to the village center. We’ve seen historic luxury estates on the market for the first time in generations. There are many specialty properties, like golf course homes, in the communities of Fox Run Preserve and historic Kenmure. And there are even large estates for horse farms and raw land perfectly suited for equestrian activities.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Find a home you love in Flat Rock now!