The Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, NC
BACKROADS BOOKSTORES, literary ramblings from sea to shining sea.
Hendersonville, North Carolina is known as the “City of Four Seasons” and if that isn’t personal enough for you, the mayor has recently proclaimed Hendersonville the “Friendliest City for Retirees in America.” The 16-block downtown area, with architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is arranged around the Historic Hendersonville County Courthouse. On a regular day, tourists and locals keep the shops and restaurants lively. Then there are parades: The North Carolina Apple Festival and Parade down Main Street draws up to 50,000 visitors. My personal favorite place in the vicinity is the nearby Kanuga Conference Center of the Episcopal Church.
Only 22 miles from Asheville, Hendersonville’s population is a little over 13,000 and the elevation is 2152 feet above sea level. Some notable residents have included Carl Sandburg, Kelly McGillis and the McCrary twins, known as the “world’s heaviest twins.”
I spend a good amount of time in Cashiers, North Carolina which sits proudly at the crossroads of U.S. Route 64 and North Carolina Highway 107. It is a world away from chaos. U.S Route 64 stretches from Whale Bone Junction, North Carolina to Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. I’ve found several Backroads Bookstores in communities along the western mountains section of Route 64: Hendersonville, Brevard, Highlands, and Franklin. And it is just a short detour to Tryon, Sylva and Waynesville, each sporting a vital bookshop.
If you ramble into the Fountainhead Bookstore in the Ewbank and Ewbank building, you will most likely be greeted by Valerie Welbourne the enthusiastic owner and shop manager who organizes lectures and art exhibits, stays active with the local library, and is passionate about authors and readers.
Fountainhead? You might ask. Is this a reference to Ayn Rand? No. The logo for the Fountainhead is a “nod to Moby Dick” with the fountain from his head spraying the words books, books, books.
Valerie opened Fountainhead in 2010 trusting that the locals would support a print bookstore. She was right. Hendersonville residents, who love books and want to connect with other book lovers, keep her busy even in this digital world. The demand is such that she has recently expanded the bookstore to the upper floor where she keeps one room for several book club meetings and another room to display the history of the Ewbanks family, Ewbanks Building, and downtown Hendersonville. Valerie also hosts a semi-annual Bookapalooza which is basically a party for book lovers featuring authors and readers.
In addition to offering personal book recommendations, Valerie has playfully staged an Oprah table filled with relaxing spa products, and also an inspiration window where customers might post their wishes and thoughts.
Not only will Valerie guide you through her collection of books by national and regional authors, but she will happily point you toward neighboring restaurants, shops and places for your children to play. She is a proud member of the ABA and reports to the New York Times Bestsellers Department.
408 North Main Street