Saluda, NC is an historic Victorian mountain village at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since the turn of the 20th century, Saluda has been a favorite mountain destination to escape the sweltering summer heat of lower latitudes. The town remains a great place to enjoy seasonal beauty throughout the year.
Learn more about this great community. Watch our video below, and keep reading for everything you need to know about Saluda, NC!
A Brief History of Saluda, NC
Saluda has long served as a location of respite from the hectic pace of life. The town is famous for sitting at the top of the Norfolk Southern Railway’s Saluda Grade, the steepest mainline standard gauge railroad line in the country. The route dropped 600 feet in elevation for every mile, and included 50 curves, some horseshoe. Saluda’s train depot was built in 1903, and the eight passenger trains that came through each day brought 3,000 tourists each year into the mountains. Many people came from as far as New York, Chicago, Charleston, and Savannah.
“The passenger train stopped in 1983 and they were going to tear the depot down,” said Judy Ward, owner of Thompson’s Store and Ward’s Grill. “The city actually bought the depot, and it’s [been] preserved to make a museum. We’ve been very lucky [with] the people who have stepped up and supported this.”
Since the 1960s, Saluda has experienced a steady growth of people seeking simpler, more peaceful lives. Today, the town of less than 1,000 is home to many artists and craftspeople, and the downtown area is recognized as a National Historic District. Legendary singer and variety show host Perry Como had a home in Saluda.
“We have a good mixture [of residents],” said Judy. “We have a lot of retirees, of course. I think we have a lot of younger folks coming to this area. Our elementary school here is A+, and that has brought a lot of younger people because they want the best education for their families. And that has been wonderful for us, too.”
Things to do in and around Saluda, NC
Everyone who discovers Saluda is amazed by its authentic small-town charm, its casual pace, and gracious community spirit.
“I love the slower pace,” said Judy. “I love the community that’s here. And the friendliness. It’s just a wonderful, peaceful place.”
Trips to Saluda must include a leisurely stroll among the tree-lined streets of lovely Victorian homes. But the main attractions are the many distinctive shops, art and craft galleries, and delicious restaurants along historic Main Street. You can walk into its century-old general stores and get a whiff of glossy oil-stained, heart pine floors stirring up memories of times gone by.
Saluda hosts a variety of annual events and festivals. The Saluda Arts Festival, held in May, attracts fine artists from across WNC and South Carolina to showcase their art and offer live demos. The Coon Dog Day Festival, held the first Saturday after July 4th, is a celebratory event with food, live music, a parade, and a street dance. And at the end of the year, locals decorate Main Street with lights and holiday decor for the Saluda Hometown Christmas Festival.
Outside of town limits, you can enjoy all the outdoor adventures the area has to offer. Numerous city parks, walking tours, hiking, road biking, swimming, fishing, camping, zip-lining, and whitewater adventures are within easy reach. Located just off Interstate 26 at the border of Hendersonville and Polk Counties, the town also offers easy access to all the amenities of Western North Carolina. Saluda is within driving distance of national wonders like the Green River Gorge, Dupont State Recreational Forest, and Pisgah National Forest.
“There’s a lot of different attractions around here,” said Judy. “There’s Pearson Falls, all the different trails around here to go hiking, and of course, the zip-line. Everybody wants to go on the zip-line. It’s just beautiful out there.”
See the beauty of Saluda for yourself!
Ready to learn more about Saluda, NC? Visit the town this season and stay at one of the many B&Bs, mountain lodges, cottages, or cabins in the area. And if you could picture yourself staying longer, now could be the best time to invest in your own Saluda home!
Read more about Saluda, see more photos, or search for homes in the area from our Beverly-Hanks Saluda community page.