Hendersonville’s outdoor wonders lend themselves to breathtaking adventures.

Saturday, May 15, 2021
Bullington Gardens Annual Plant Sale
May 15 – May 31 all-day

Bullington Gardens, a horticultural education center and public botanical garden, holds its annual spring plant sale online beginning Monday, April 12. A descriptive list of offerings with photos can be viewed at www.bullingtongardens.org.
April is an ideal time to plant new shrubs and trees. Kick off your gardening season now with Bullington’s selection of ornamental landscape plants, wide variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables, shrubs and trees for sale. Low maintenance ornamental grasses have been a big hit these past few years, and gardeners can add color and texture to their plantings with red switchgrass, little bluestem, and golden sedges. May’s warmer soil temperatures mean it’s time for the more tender plants. Victory vegetable gardens were wildly popular in 2020, and this trend is expected to continue. Gardeners will find many varieties of vegetable starts to feed the body and the palette. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squashes, and more are available. Herbs, including lavenders, tarragon, rosemary, and lemongrass, are also offered.
Bullington Gardens is located at 95 Upper Red Oak Trail in Hendersonville. For more information, call Bullington Gardens at 828-698-6104 or visit bullingtongardens.org.

Eblen Charities’ 20th anniversary Walk, Run or Roll
May 15 all-day
Eblen Charities

  • Walk, run or cycle anytime between May 8-15.
  • It’s a virtual event, so you can participate whenever you want; wherever you want!
  • Form a team and walk, run or cycle with your friends, family neighbors or co-workers.
  • Raise $100 to earn a 20th anniversary commemorative T-shirt (pictured below).
  • It’s easy – ask 10 friends or family members to donate $10 or 5 friends to donate $20 and you’ll reach your goal.
  • Funds raised will provide emergency housing assistance for Buncombe County student families hurt by the pandemic.
LEAF 2021 announces a few key dates
May 15 all-day

Spring LEAF Retreat May 13-16 at Lake Eden
LEAF Downtown/ Reimagine August 27-28
Fall LEAF Festival October 14-17 at Lake Eden 
(Size TBD*)

These events will be limited in size but will retain all the LEAF Love. LEAF Members will have priority and at times exclusive access to these events. Please note that Spring LEAF Retreat will be members-only and tickets will be made available on January 4th, 2021. Members have kept LEAF Mission alive and at work in this wild year of 2020! Your membership empowered LEAF to maintain our support of LEAF International Culture Keepers in the 10 countries and local LEAF Schools & Streets Artists. When you support culture, artists and teachers you are investing in the community and young people’s future. Interested in becoming a member? Join membership today!

All $250+ memberships will receive the 2021 LEAF Calendar hot off the press and its going to be a great year!

Nantahala Outdoor Center Reopens for 2021 Season with New Offerings
May 15 all-day
Nantahala Outdoor Center

Rafters swimming on the French Broad River Rafting: Full-Day (with Lunch) trip

Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), has reopened all adventure activities and river outposts for the 2021 season featuring new food and beverage venues, expanded courses, and the return of events and live entertainment to main resort campus in Bryson City.

  • Launched whitewater rafting on seven rivers in the Southeast and aerial adventures to high demand
  • Two new food and beverage venues launching on NOC’s 500-acre campus including a renovated coffee and donut shuttle bus as well as a beer venue featuring New Belgium beer and custom beer blends
  • Expanded courses at NOC’s Paddling School for kayakers to learn new skills and experience Southeastern rivers
  • Full calendar of live music from local and regional bands, and the return of events like Women’s Paddlefest and river releases
  • Relia’s Lost Kitchen dinner series kicking off this month with a sold out Orin Swift Wine Dinner; more to follow through October.
Nantahala River Rafting Fully Guided
May 15 all-day
Nantahala Outdoor Center

guests rafting on the Nantahala River Raft & Duck Rentals in North Carolina trip

A guided whitewater rafting trip is one of the best ways to experience the Nantahala Gorge. The crystal-clear Nantahala River is the perfect family-friendly river where experienced river guides will help you navigate through splashy Class II-III rapids and bouncy waves, with occasional calmer waters where you can enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery. The fully guided rafting trip the most popular adventure at NOC, with thousands of families returning year after year.

New Off-leash Dog Park: help us compete for a $25,000 PetSafe® Bark for Your Park™ grant through a letter of support.
May 15 all-day
online w/ Buncombe County Parks and Rec


As part of the $12 million Enka Recreation Destination project, a new off-leash dog park will be constructed near the entrance of Buncombe County Sports Park. Join the fun and help us compete for a $25,000 PetSafe® Bark for Your Park™ grant through a letter of support.

You can send your support to [email protected] or Buncombe County Recreation Services’ physical address on 46 Valley Street, Asheville, NC 28801. Make sure to let us know why the next amazing dog park in our community should be at Buncombe County Sports Park. Let us know if you live or own a business nearby and how often you visit the park. Any special requests? This is a great opportunity to include those, too.

According to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), 9 in 10 (91 percent) Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to the communities they serve. More than half (55 percent) of park and recreation agencies currently have at least one dog park. This will be the first dog park in the Buncombe County Recreation Services system.

Americans list the top three benefits a dog park can have on a community as:

  • Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely (60 percent)
  • Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs (39 percent)
  • Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet (36 percent)

Availability of dog parks is especially popular among Millennials (94 percent) and Gen Xers (92 percent) followed by Boomers (89 percent).

To receive the I Heart Parks monthly newsletter, sign up online. Follow Buncombe County Recreation on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.

May 15 all-day
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad


Available April – October with the morning departure of the Nantahala Gorge Excursion departing Bryson City, NC. Train seating in Open Air Gondola. Booking available by phone only: 1-800-872-4681.

Convenient, Inclusive, and Simple!

  • Adult (13 years and older) $109
    Child (Minimum of 7 years old or 60 pounds) $92

A Fully-Guided Experience

The original Raft & Rail© since 1988: enjoy the two best adventures in the region in one day, great for families. Southern Living Magazine calls this “an ideal adventure for families, first-timers, young or old.” This full-day guided adventure starts with a Wildwater staff member greeting you at the train depot, followed by a scenic train trip, deli lunch with all the fixings, and a Nantahala River whitewater trip with a guide in every boat. Hot showers and a photo show follow immediately after your 8 mile Nantahala River trip. All transportation is included to and from the Bryson City Train Depot.

Available by phone only. Book now by calling 800-872-4681.

Rail + Trail
May 15 all-day
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Enjoy this trip combining the Great Smoky Mountains Railroads trip with the Waterfall Jeep® tour. You’ll begin your trip in Bryson City, NC, with a 2 hour (approximate) railroad excursion over Fontana Lake and into the Nantahala Gorge. As you travel on the train, watch paddlers challenge the rapids. At the top of the line, disembark from the train and climb aboard Wildwater’s customized Jeep® for a 2-hour (approximate) personal exploration up the mountain, past waterfalls and lakes, up to the Appalachian Trail and back. A delicious deli lunch is included.

Available by phone only. Book now by calling 800-872-4681.

* Children 40 – 80 lbs. are required to sit in the front passenger seat with the airbag disengaged using a child booster seat. Children 80 lbs. or greater will sit in the back using a lap seat belt. If there is more than one child in the 40 – 80 lb. range, the second child will sit in the back using a lap belt.

Tarzan Train
May 15 all-day
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Tarzan Train


Our train and canopy combo trip will start in Bryson City at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad train depot. You will ride through the Smoky Mountains, along Fontana Lake and up into the Nantahala Gorge. On your 2 hour train ride, watch paddlers challenge the rapids on the Nantahala River. A delicious Deli Sandwich lunch is included. At the top-of-the-line, you will disembark the train and travel a short distance to Wildwater’s Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours.

The original zipline canopy tour in Western North Carolina, Wildwater’s Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours offers 13 different zip lines and 8 sky bridges. Our two highest platforms have unbelievable views of Clingman’s Dome, Fontana Lake and waterfalls. This gliding experience, naturally fueled by a gradual elevation change, takes you through multiple ecosystems, past hemlocks, into hardwoods and through a deciduous forest packed with native flowering plants. All Canopy Tour Rangers are trained to – and all courses are built and inspected to – ACCT Standards to provide for your well-being and fun. This is a great experience for families.

After enjoying the fully guided zip line tour, check out your photos and buy a t-shirt in Wildwater’s store. Your adventure will end later in the afternoon back at your car in Bryson City, NC. All transportation is included.

Members of your party who can’t – or don’t want to – go on the canopy tour can ride the train round trip. You’ll all meet up shortly after the train’s return in Bryson City, NC.

The City of Asheville + Asheville GreenWorks: launch the Adopt-A-Spot program
May 15 all-day
Asheville Area

The City of Asheville has partnered with Asheville GreenWorks to launch the Adopt-A-Spot program. Businesses, organizations, or individuals can choose a City-owned piece of property that they wish to adopt. The responsibility of the adopter will be to maintain either an edible or pollinator garden in this location. The program provides recognition of adopters through dedicated signage at the site. Make a positive impact on Asheville by promoting stewardship of publicly owned places.

Types of Spots to Adopt

Planting Pollinator Patches
As the inaugural Bee City, Asheville is an ideal location for planting pollinator habitats. Pollinators are responsible for ¾ of the world’s food supply and are vitally important to the health of our local urban forest. Pollinator plantings are both beautiful and ecologically sound features of the landscape, attracting butterflies, birds and bees into urban areas. A list of pollinator-friendly plants and local nurseries where they can be purchased can be found at www.beecityusa.org.

Establishing & Maintaining Orchards and Edibles
Fruit producing trees and shrubs growing in neighborhoods, parks and greenways provide fresh, accessible food to Ashevilleans. Through the Adopt-a-Spot program, your group can play a role in developing the urban food forest in Asheville. Projects can range from planting a small patch of blueberries or an entire orchard of fruit trees. The list of recommended edible trees and shrubs and local nurseries where they can be purchased can be found at www.ashevillegreenworks.org

Invasive Plant Removal
Invasive exotic plants disrupt the ecology of natural ecosystems, displace native plant and animal species, and degrade our biological resources. Aggressive invaders reduce the amount of light, water, nutrients and space available to native species. Some cause increased erosion along stream banks, shorelines and roadsides. Common invasive species in this area include kudzu, knotweed, English ivy and privet. Many Adopt-a-Spot projects will require invasive plant removal to prepare the land for planting and to prevent invasives from taking over existing and new plantings.

Planting in Bulb-Outs
Bulb-outs are areas that extend from the sidewalk along the sides of the street. They are typically in place at cross walks or on street parking. These areas can typically be accessed from the adjacent sidewalk. Through Asheville’s Adopt-a-Spot program, bulb-outs can be used for planting edible and/or pollinator gardens. Volunteers must use extra caution when working along streets and roadways.

Kids Fishing Tournament
May 15 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Lake Julian Park

This event is open to all youth 15 and under. Competitors will be divided into age groups with prizes in each for Biggest Fish, Smallest Fish, and Most Fish Caught. The grand prize for Biggest (Longest) Fish regardless of age is a Moken Lite kayak and 15% off accessories from Waterways and Feelfree Kayaks.

This is a catch and release tournament. After each fish has been weighed and measured, they will be released back into the lake. Your $10 registration fee includes a bucket, bait, and snacks and drinks. Competitors bring their own poles and current health guidelines must be observed.

No fishing license is required for residents under 16 years old. No boat fishing is allowed by competitors. All competitors must be accompanied by an adult.

Pre-registration is recommended. Fishing begins at 8:30 and ends promptly at 11:30.

All competitors will receive a reusable water bottle, pen, stickers, snacks and drinks, and a discount at local kayak fishing and paddlesports retailer Waterways.

  • Current public health guidance to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives must be observed.
  • Your $10 registration includes a bucket and bait, but competitors must bring their own poles.
  • This is a competition for kids and youth. Parents are allowed to help younger kids cast their poles. In the spirit of sportsmanship, any competitor receiving excessive assistance from an adult will be disqualified.

If you have any additional questions, please email [email protected].

Wild Art Sculpture Showcase
May 15 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
NC Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum is going wild for art and nature in 2021 with Wild Art! On view April 1 through September 26, this outdoor sculpture exhibition features works by 17 local and national artists drawing inspiration from the natural environment. Situated throughout the Arboretum’s spacious, open-air gardens, the show offers guests a doorway into the wild world from the comfort and safety of cultivated landscapes transformed by art.

The 18 sculptures on display represent a variety of approaches to the theme of “wild art,” from the literal to the abstract, and are crafted from a diverse array of materials that will delight and inspire. Let your imagination take you on a wild journey into the world of plants and animals near and far with Wild Art at The North Carolina Arboretum.

The exhibit is available to all guests during normal Arboretum hours, and there is no admission cost to view the sculptures beyond our usual parking fee of $16 per personal vehicle.

YPA Landscaping at YWCA
May 15 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
YWCA of Asheville

Help us beautify the YWCA campus located at 185 S. French Broad Ave in Downtown Asheville on Saturday, May 15th from 9am–12pm. We will be helping to refurbish the Farm to Table Garden by planting, transplanting and mulching—no garden experience required!

This event is capped at 20 people, so please use the link to sign up for one of the slots available!


Please bring a mask, work gloves, and a shovel, hoe and/or rake if you have one, and wear clothes you don’t mind playing in the dirt in. Wheelbarrows are great too!

What we’re about

Young Professionals of Asheville (YPA) (http://www.ypasheville.org/) connects young adults in order to better lead and serve the greater Asheville community. YPA welcomes young professionals (ages 21 – 40) living in WNC to join us for events focused on professional development, fostering connection and serving our community.


We are happy to announce we will offering YPA membership for the 2020-2021 year for HALF OFF! For the entire month of June, if you sign up to be a YPA member, it will only cost $25! We recognize the membership experience has been a little different lately and we’re happy to still have the ability to connect and provide value to our members through our virtual experiences. We hope we will be back to safe, in-person events soon and hope the reduced cost of membership helps those that may have been negatively affected in these tough times.

If you have any questions or would like more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Mackenzie HeslerYPA Co-Membership Chair

Biltmore Blooms Tour
May 15 @ 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

Biltmore Blooms April 1 – May 27, 2021

Escape to Biltmore for a unique spring getaway. Immerse yourself in waves of color as Biltmore Blooms transforms our gardens and grounds. Savor complimentary wine tastings at our Winery. All this and more—an array of outdoor activities, shops, and restaurants, and of course, the timeless beauty of Biltmore House—is yours this spring at Biltmore.

Biltmore Gardens Railway
May 15 @ 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

Included with admission

Our fun-for-all-ages botanical model train displays invite you to experience our grounds in an engaging new way. Located in the Conservatory in the Walled Garden, the displays feature replicas of structures connected with Biltmore and its founder George Vanderbilt. Each beautifully executed piece was handcrafted from such natural elements as leaves, bark, and twigs.

In compliance with state and local mandates related to COVID-19, all guests must enter the Conservatory via the ADA entrance in the back and follow a one-way route.

Spring Girl Scout Day +Campout
May 15 @ 9:30 am – May 16 @ 9:00 am
Chimney Rock State Park

Calling troops of all ages for annual Spring Girl Scout Day! Your scouts will love the hands-on morning programs, adventurous afternoon activities and the incredible opportunity to camp overnight in the Park.

Click here for detailed program information. Call (828) 625-9611 ext. 1837 to reserve your troop today!

A $30 non-refundable reservation fee will be applied to your final total amount. Registration closes on May 6, 2021 or when we reach our limit of scouts.

Aston Park Tennis Center
May 15 @ 10:00 am – 7:30 pm
Aston Park Tennis Center
people playing on the courts at aston park tennis center


Asheville Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce the opening of Aston Park Tennis Center on April 1 for the 2021 season.  The tennis facility will be open seven days a week with two sessions of court availability — a morning session from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and an afternoon session from 3 to 7:30 p.m. with a one-hour break for midday cleaning.

Visitors can expect some changes to typical operations to meet current state and local health guidelines including enhanced cleaning, social distancing and mandatory mask wearing except while actively engaged in tennis activity on the court.  The Pro Shop will remain closed to foot traffic, however basic tennis supplies, drinks, and racquet drop-off for restringing will be available at the window.  Court fees will also be accepted at the window by credit card only and water fountains and showers will not be available.


Tennis Center prices are the same as they were in 2019, with hourly rates beginning at $6 and $7 and season passes starting at $299 and $399 for City of Asheville residents.  For more information and to purchase a season pass, visit the City’s Parks & Recreation website at www.ashevillenc.gov/parks.


The Aston Park Tennis Center, 336 Hilliard Ave.,  is one of the finest public clay tennis court facilities in the US.  The complex is open from April through November and offers 12 lighted courts for play.


The City of Asheville Parks & Recreation Department is committed to providing quality facilities and programs in a safe environment for everyone in our community.  For more information about everything Asheville Parks & Recreation offers, visit the website at www.ashevillenc.gov/parks,  Facebook page at www.facebook.com/APRCA or call 828-259-5800.

Free Yoga – The Park at Flat Rock
May 15 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Flat Rock Playhouse

Group of people with arms outstretched doing yoga in a park.Hendersonville yoga studio, YAM, is offering free outdoor yoga at The Park at Flat Rock on Thursdays and Saturdays. Get outside and get moving with these fun and refreshing classes. Click to learn more about YAM’s community yoga.

Introduction to Landscape Design
May 15 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Grandfather Mountain

Consider the performance of your home landscape. Would you describe it as a fit, functional work of art that reflects your lifestyle and encourages outdoor activity? If not, join landscape architect, Preston Montague, for a design workshop that will help you make informed and confident decisions about issues facing you in the landscape.

Preston will present tenets of landscape design he’s learned as a professional landscape architect as well as his approach to solving a range of problems that include drainage, planting, and overall aesthetics. Participants are encouraged to bring some of their most pressing landscape challenges and/or aspirations to the workshop for Preston to go through and provide ideas. Participants will leave having learned a professional’s design process, some solutions to their aesthetic goals or challenges, and exposure to issues facing other participants that might help others solve similar problems.

Participants are asked to bring 8.5”x11” color photos of the area(s) they need help with. Three photos from three different angles of the project area are encouraged. Maximum 2 project areas per participant. All participants will have at least one of their project areas used during class.

Preston Montague is an artist, educator, and landscape architect who developed a passion for the natural world while growing up in the rural foothills of Virginia. He works in Durham, focusing on projects that spark curiosity about nature and encourage stronger relationships between people and their environment. Montague’s latest body of work, Codex Carolinum, is a series of didactic botanical illustrations using art and storytelling to foster natural science literacy, which can be viewed on this website: www.prestonmontague.com

Adult Field Courses

Welcome to Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation’s (GMSF) Field Courses! We are excited to share the unique wonders of the mountain with you. Since 2008, GMSF has aimed at creating educational programming that deepens understanding through in-depth study and field research. Our goal is to provide you with a rich experience in a particular field of study, and to also provide a safe and memorable trip to Grandfather Mountain.

Please call us at (828) 737-0833 or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

The series runs from May through October, with topics including bird ecology and behavior, ecology, photography, painting, climate change and stargazing. Cost is $60 per person (or $25 for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club program), with registration required in advance. To learn more or become a member, click here.

Online registration opens April 15, limited to 10 people.

NOTE: Bridge Club members must present valid Bridge Club ID upon arrival, or they will have to pay the full price.