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Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation


“ABC in Fletcher has an amazing team, and they made a huge difference for myself and my mother. We had them as in-home caregivers for 10 months. They are responsible, flexible and just a solid group with whom to work. I could reach them by phone immediately almost every time I needed to contact them. They handled billing and insurance claims and kept the caregiver plans absolutely up-to-date. As well as the regular RN visits. Jan, Mary and Melissa rock in addition to our caregivers. My only reason for not giving five stars has to do with the systemic challenge of finding enough caregivers. And in our case, caregivers who are proficient with Parkinson’s patients.”

Jennie G.

“I feel like I'm part of the family every time I'm there! A lovely bunch of ladies! The best quality care provider in the business!”

John Z.

“I have had many dealing with Always Best Care during my professional healthcare career. They have always provided great care to the seniors they serve. Jim and his team are great to work with and always go above and beyond not only in serving seniors but supporting many events in the community. I would highly recommend ABC for any in home needs.”

Bob P.

“I like working with Always Best Care Senior Services because the office staff are so nice and understanding and I have gotten to know them on a level that I know they are here to help me, when I need help or have a questions. From day one when I have called, they have ALL been here to help guide me and they have been there every time I’ve had a questions. Working for ABC has been an honor because I really do love the company and we have some sweet clients. The ladies that work in the office are amazing and without them I do not think our company would thrive like it does. When I did an application, it was on accident and then I got a phone call asking me to come in and interview and honestly I’m so blessed. I love my job because it is my passion to help people and to do what I can to make their daily living better and easier. I honestly don’t think there is anything that needs to change about ABC. I have never worked for such an amazing company before”

Craig R.

“I own a financial services business and share clients with Always Best Care. Recently, one of our shared clients experienced a fall which resulted in a broken hip. One of my first calls, after EMS, was to ABC. Mary Steiner responded immediately and offered to meet the client at the ER. She was wonderful and so very professional in the manner in which she handled the entire harrowing experience. She arranged for overnight care since the family had to arrive from out of town. I am so grateful for her genuine care for our client and stepping in during an emergency to help us handle the situation. I would recommend ABC for services because they absolutely go above and beyond with such a special touch. Robbie Chenault, Elevated Living Services”

Elevated L.

“I love working here! Jim truly cares about his clients and employees. The staff goes to great lengths to make sure that the clients are cared for. I am proud to represent Always Best Care.”

Sandra D.

“My husband was placed with always best care after leaving the hospital. he has received outstanding care from this company, The caretaker taking care of my husband did an outstanding job working with him , helping with daily care , cleaning, and his physical therapy, would recommend her and this company to anyone looking for home Assistant to take care of a loved one! Thank you always best care for being there for us and my family .”

Diane M.

“Always Best Care is one the best company’s to work for. Treats everyone like Family”

Danielle O.

“Always best care is very professional and they love the clients and their patients”

Javell F.

“From the first day that I started it was an experience to learn your ways but with all the staff people that I became aware of oh my gosh it was wonderful. I have been very pleased with Mary, Melissa, and Danielle of letting me decide if my clients are a perfect match for me and them. I am pleased that I chose this company. Jim is doing a very good job of hiring a amazing staff in the office to work with. Thanks to all!”

Vicki B.

“Absolutely the best staff. They come to the house for 4 hours to take care of my dad and are so friendly. My dad loves the attention. Thanks so much for seeing to the needs of dad.”

Tom J.

“My mom and her husband are 80 and 92 years old. They’ve both had Covid, pneumonia, and heart issues among many other things. Always Best Care sent out a caregiver named Pat. Pat is incredible! She cooks homemade meals for them, grocery shops for them, goes to the post office, bank, and anywhere else they need, helps with showers, takes them to church, and visits them when they have to go to the hospital or nursing home. Pat truly cares about them! It’s such a blessing to have a caregiver who really cares! They love her and she loves them! Pat is truly amazing and we are so grateful that Always Best Home Care sent her to our family!”

Lu A.

“It is a privilege to serve this company's clients and staff. I am impressed every day by the lengths that all will go to to make sure people's needs are met.”

Mary S.

“ABC Asheville was always prompt and responsive to our family needs. Mary was thoughtful and efficient in all communications.”

Joel A.

“Always Best Care has helped me grow so much as a person and it is truly the best company I have ever worked for.”

Melisa L.

“Great home care agency who really cares about their clients. Highly recommended.”

Nate R.

“I wanted to say thank you to all the ladies that helped look after Mom. I'm so appreciative. And thank you for all the times you helped me over the phone. I surely am thankful for your services!”

Becky C.

“I've been a business peer of Jim Smeaton's at Always Best Care Senior Serivces for several years. Jim is one of my favorite leaders in the local buiness community. This is because of his ethical and service-oriented mindset. I have seen first hand that Always Best Care, who specialize in providing personalized, in-home care for seniors, is the best way to keep your loved ones independent and safe in the comfort of their own home in order to maximize their quality of life. Thank you Jim & team for all you do for our community!”

Jared B.

“I’ve known Jim Smeaton and his company for several years. His energetic and genuinely caring spirit inspires Always Best Care which has an excellent reputation for always providing the best home care for it's clients. If your loved one needs support in living independently at home, you can't go wrong with Always Best Care.”

Mark W.
 In-Home Care Flat Rock, NC

How does In-home Senior Care in Flat Rock, NC work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Flat Rock, NC

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Flat Rock, NC, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Flat Rock, NC gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Flat Rock, NC

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Flat Rock,NC understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Flat Rock, NC

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Flat Rock, NC

Play with Goats and Hike at Carl Sandburg’s Historic Home in Flat Rock, NC

Have you visited the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC? We love the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site for many reasons – great hikes, gorgeous views, and adorable goats you can pet and play with – but there is so much more to do at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC. The Carl Sandburg home, Connemara, is less than an hour away from Greenville, so visiting makes for a perfect day trip. Tours of the histori...

Have you visited the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC? We love the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site for many reasons – great hikes, gorgeous views, and adorable goats you can pet and play with – but there is so much more to do at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC. The Carl Sandburg home, Connemara, is less than an hour away from Greenville, so visiting makes for a perfect day trip. Tours of the historic home and access to the pasture, barn, and trails are currently free!

Looking for more day trip ideas? Check out our guide to Ultimate Guide to Daytrips Near Greenville, SC to plan your next adventure with your family!

Visiting the Home of Carl Sandburg- Connemara

Connemara, home of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and writer Carl Sandburg, is located in the charming town of Flat Rock, North Carolina. It’s an easy drive across a beautiful mountain, just below Hendersonville, NC. Once you arrive, you will find several trails branching from the National Park Service parking lot, including the contact station, Front Lake (restrooms and brochures), Front Lake Loop, and the wide main road that heads up towards Connemara.

One of the wonderful things about being so close to Connemara is that you can read Sandburg’s children’s book The Huckabuck Family one morning and then get in the car that afternoon to see where the book’s author wrote and explored and ate and laughed and walked.

Carl Sandburg and his family lived at Connemara from 1945 until his death in 1967. Currently in 2023, visits to the farm, grounds, and House tours are free. It is highly recommended to make reservations for house tours, as tour capacity is 8 people and fill up quickly. Tours are currently offered Saturday and Sunday only, with tours at 11 am, 1 pm, and 2 pm.

The house has been left exactly as it was when Sandburg passed away in 1967. The rooms of the home are teeming with books that Sandburg touched, read and studied. The view from this house elicits a smile just thinking about the poet sitting in his chair on the rocks being inspired by the same image. The Sandburg’s had over 17,000 volumes of books. The man liked to read. Inside the basement of Sandburg’s home is a sweet little gift shop and a room for viewing a video about the writer’s life. During the year there are several events scheduled that are engaging, educational, and fun!

Visiting with Goats at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site

As you head past the lake, up towards the house on the gravel road, and past some of the older historic structures, you’ll eventually end up at the dairy barn. This is where the goats live. The property continues to be a working goat farm to this day. Gentle, adorable, loving goats. Goats that love kids petting and touching and hugging them. The goats are actually descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s own prize-winning goat herd.

The barnyard is also home to chickens and giant shady trees and rock walls and green fields. Excellent for a picnic. During April and May the barnyard is full of babies, so when visiting in Spring be ready to hear lots of awes from your kids.

The goat farm is unique in that visitors can walk in the pasture with the goats (and in the enclosure with the kids!) as well as explore the barn, not only meeting the goats, but petting them and watching them feed and interact. The hours of access to the barn and goat pasture will be daily from 10 am – 3 pm and is free. The entire park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Reading to a Goat During National Literacy Month

September is National Literacy Month and March is National Reading Month. Both fit nicely with the theme of the entire park given Sandburg’s choice of career. So to honor the heritage of the park and give guests a pretty good reason to come there, the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site invites visitors to grab a book and read to a goat (or several).

You can bring your own book, although I don’t recommend it for one very important reason, which I will get to in a second. They also have books in a red wagon right outside the gates to the barn that you can borrow and bring into the pasture to read to the goats. We found a couple of great books that both my kids really enjoyed. The goats did, too.

Once you pick out your book, you can go see the goats. All the goats you’ll interact with are females and they are really sweet and curious and have no idea about personal space. The very first time I ever went to see the goats was when my kids were super little, they were terrified because the goats are pretty big if you’re a little kid. Now my kids, ages 10 and 7, love the goats and enjoy petting them and this time, reading to them.

So reading to goats is not an easy task. We really tried. One of the goats ripped out a page and started eating it, which we grabbed back because you know, they have special diets, which don’t include books. This is why you may not want to bring your own book. We ended up sitting with a few goats who may or may not have been sleeping and reading the books. I had a book of Sandburg’s poetry, which was wonderful to read while at his home.

My oldest daughter found a nice, docile goat with a white coat who seemed to be totally enthralled with being read to. It was very cute to watch.

We spent about an hour with the goats and our attempts at reading books. We had a blast and reading was such a bonus because books are pretty popular at my house and we all enjoy it.

But reading to goats? A whole level of awesomeness.

Hiking the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site Trails

In addition to the home and the barns, which are plenty to fill an afternoon, there are hiking trails on the property that are family-friendly and quite rewarding. You can also take the rambling walk back to your car and trek around the beautiful fishpond. It’s a great path to wear your children out with good, honest exercise so they can nap on your drive back across the mountain to Greenville.

If you are up for a challenge, you can take the Memminger Trail Loop and the Glassy Mountain Trail up to the Glassy Mountain overlook. It is 1.25 miles, but the 523-foot increase in elevation makes this a more challenging hike. Although there are several other options for reaching Glassy Mountain from the parking lot, they are all about the same length with the same workout.

The exposed rock makes for interesting plant communities in the various seeps, and the overlook is the only spot in the park with a view of the mountains. Round trip, this strenuous hike takes around 4.5 miles.

You might notice a Kids in Parks TRACK Trail kiosk at the entrance. The Kids in Parks network is a family-friendly collection of outdoor adventures called TRACK Trails. Each TRACK Trail features self-guided brochures and signs that can enhance your outdoor experience, and you can earn prizes for tracking your adventures.

Get more info on the Kids in Parks program from our Kids In Parks Review on Kidding Around

Things To Know Before Visiting the Carl Sandburg Historic Site

A couple of things to note when planning your visit:

Directions to the Carl Sandburg Home

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site81 Carl Sandburg LaneFlat Rock, NC 28731


Click here for directions for Carl Sandburg’s Home.

Currently, home tours are Saturday and Sunday at 11 am, 1 pm, and 2 pm. More times may be added during the warmer months. Home tours are currently free.

Other Western NC Travel Ideas:

There’s so much to see in WNC!

Find more fun in our Kidding Around Guide to WNC.

Has your family ever visited the Carl Sandburg home?

The Park at Flat Rock: Amazing Obstacle Course Playground in Flat Rock, NC

Have you visited the Park at Flat Rock in Flat Rock, NC? We are always looking for fun and entertaining playgrounds for our kids and we hit the jackpot with The Park at Flat Rock.The Park at Flat Rock is just an hour from Greenville, SC, and in our experience, it’s totally a worthy day trip spot near Hendersonville, NC.I visit Flat Rock, NC often because my family loves to go to the ...

Have you visited the Park at Flat Rock in Flat Rock, NC? We are always looking for fun and entertaining playgrounds for our kids and we hit the jackpot with The Park at Flat Rock.

The Park at Flat Rock is just an hour from Greenville, SC, and in our experience, it’s totally a worthy day trip spot near Hendersonville, NC.

I visit Flat Rock, NC often because my family loves to go to the Carl Sandburg Home for hiking and the opportunity to play with goats. It was on one of these adventures that we came across probably one of the coolest playgrounds I had been to with my kids at The Park at Flat Rock.

This article includes:About the Park at Flat RockWhat is that super cool playground in Flat Rock, NC?Things to near The Park at Flat RockQuick Review

The Park at Flat Rock

The park itself is beautiful and spacious, with 66 acres of green space and a 1.3 mile paved trail perfect for runners, walkers, and strollers. Bring a picnic blanket, lunch, and you’ve got a great day ahead of you there.

There is a pavilion you can rent out for events like birthday parties. It is located right next to the playground for little kids, which is great for keeping an eye on kids.

There are indoor bathrooms that are exceptionally clean as well plus a deck in the back of the building where the bathrooms are located where you can hang out and relax and take in pretty views of the park.

The Playgrounds

There are two playgrounds, the Tot Lot, which was finished in 2019, and the Bryan Playground, a maze of rope and obstacle courses, slides, and climbing walls.

The Bryan Playground is designed for kids ages 5-12 and it is so cool. It is two levels high with the second level having walkways and a giant rope net. The level below is full of fun obstacles with ropes, monkey bars, and shaky balance beams. On the other side of the hill from the Bryan Playground are a climbing wall and giant tunnel that goes the distance to the playground area.

The Tot Lot has a double swing that has a baby swing on one side and a platform for an older child or parent to stand and swing on the opposite side. It has smaller playground equipment for toddlers also.

The only shaded area is the pavilion next to the Tot Lot. While there are big rocks and benches for seating around the larger playground, there aren’t any shaded areas. You will find picnic tables in both areas.

Green Space and Nature Trails

Another great thing about the Park at Flat Rock are the pretty nature trails and paths two walk along gardens, woods, and a creek. They are easy, flat trails and many can be done with a stroller. We brought along our baby nephew on a recent trip and he loved cruising in the stroller and looking around at all the trees.

Nearby Things to Do

The Park at Flat Rock is right off Highway 25 and an easy drive from Greenville. There are several things to do near Hendersonville, NC and Flat Rock, NC to make the most out of the trip, such as:

The Park at Flat Rock, Quick Review



The Park at Flat Rock is free to visit and open dawn to dusk daily.

The Park at Flat Rock55 Highland Golf Drive, Flat Rock, NC828.435.0397

Flat Rock Playhouse Presents THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Step aboard this suspenseful journey as you dive into the gripping world of Rachel Watson. Based on the #1 New York Times bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, and adapted for film by Universal Pictures, this Regional Premiere will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.Rachel Watson longs for a different life. Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love. Or so it appears. When Rachel learns that the woman she's been secretly watching has suddenly disappeared, s...

Step aboard this suspenseful journey as you dive into the gripping world of Rachel Watson. Based on the #1 New York Times bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, and adapted for film by Universal Pictures, this Regional Premiere will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Rachel Watson longs for a different life. Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love. Or so it appears. When Rachel learns that the woman she's been secretly watching has suddenly disappeared, she finds herself as a witness and even a suspect in a thrilling mystery in which she will face bigger revelations than she could ever have anticipated.

The Girl On The Train was first performed at West Yorkshire Playhouse in England on May 12, 2018. Directed by Joe Murphy, the production featured Jill Halfpenny as Rachel Watson. The play was then presented at Milton Keynes Theatre in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire on 23 January 2019. It was directed by Anthony Banks and featured Samantha Womack as Rachel. Now we are thrilled to bring it here to North Carolina under the direction of Lisa K. Bryant and with designs by the stunning Flat Rock Playhouse teams that brought you West Side Story, Cinderella, and A Chorus Line.

“The Girl on the Train,” says Artistic Director Lisa K. Bryant, “is not like any thriller-mystery we've produced at FRP before. And it's not every day that a New York Times bestseller is adapted for the stage, so we're thrilled to have been selected to premiere it for the US Southeast region.

With a stellar cast and masterful storytelling, The Girl on the Train will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. From heart-pounding suspense to unexpected revelations, this psychological thriller will leave you breathless.

Get your tickets now and be prepared for a gripping experience that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew.

Flat Rock Playhouse's 2023 Season is supported by Mainstage Series Sponsors Charlotte & Bob Otto, and Season Sponsors Optimum, WHKP, and WTZQ, and North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are going fast! For a complete lineup with show descriptions and to purchase tickets, visit Click Here.

The Girl on the Train runs from August 17 - September 2 at Flat Rock Playhouse's Leiman Mainstage. Tickets range from $42 to $62. Student prices are available for ages 18 and under. For more ticket information, call the Flat Rock Playhouse Box Office at 828.693.0731 or purchase online at Click Here. Flat Rock Playhouse Leiman Mainstage is located at 2661 Greenville Hwy, Flat Rock, NC, 28731.

Get into the Fall Spirit with a Visit to Sky Top Orchard

Fall is just about here! Time for corn mazes, fall festivals, and apple picking! One of the local favorites is Sky Top Orchard near Flat Rock, NC. Read on for local mom Jackie Vest’s tips and things to expect when you visit Sky Top Orchard, so you can make the most of your visit!See our full list of Apple Orchards Near the Upstate. For more fall fun che...

Fall is just about here! Time for corn mazes, fall festivals, and apple picking! One of the local favorites is Sky Top Orchard near Flat Rock, NC. Read on for local mom Jackie Vest’s tips and things to expect when you visit Sky Top Orchard, so you can make the most of your visit!

See our full list of Apple Orchards Near the Upstate. For more fall fun check out our Pumpkin Patch Guide and our Corn Maze Guide!

Looking for more fall fun? Here are over 30 things to do this fall near Greenville.

Experience Sky Top Orchard

The Sky Top apple season starts in August and runs through the Sunday after Thanksgiving, giving families plenty of opportunities to seek out their favorite varieties of apples. This orchard has over 22 different kinds of apples to choose from! They also churn out a regional sensation: apple cider donuts!

As soon as you pull up to the orchard and open your car door, you are drawn in with the delicious fried cidery-sugary smell wafting through the air. Plan on buying at LEAST a dozen. If you come on a busy weekend, you’ll need to wait in line for them, but don’t let that stop you!

Apple picking is an enjoyable activity for kids of all ages. While you may need to walk a bit to the row of choice, the picking is quick and easy work. Many apples are available low to the ground, easy picking for even the smallest kiddos. My boys (ages 5 & 7) hopped off the hayride, took off down a row, and filled up their bags before I even caught up with the little stinkers!

The orchard also offers plenty of play structures, Bee Train, a Gold Rush Gem Mine, a honeybee hive (in which kids can usually spot the queen bee behind the glass), a bamboo forest, some farm animals like sheep, chickens, goats, and peacocks, and plenty of delectable goodies in addition to the apples and cider donuts.

Pies, jellies, hot cider, fudges, and frozen apple cider slushies, to name a few! Outside food is acceptable and there are plenty of picnic tables or areas to spread a blanket – just be mindful of bees and limit sugary foods.

The orchard also does a great job accommodating large groups with hayride tours, apple picking, and educational programs which teach kiddos everything they could want to know about how apples grow through the seasons. This is a favorite field trip destination!

Be sure to check out Skytop’s FAQs for tips before you visit.

Bring cash or check – while they do accept credit cards, their wifi can be spotty so their credit card processing system isn’t always working.

Try to go on a Monday or early week. The weekends can get pretty busy.

Wear sneakers or other walking shoes that are okay to get dirty.

Bring quarters for feeding the farm animals.

Sky Top has real bathrooms now. No more having to use a port-a-potty.

Apple varieties are planted in accordance of when they are in season. They plant the earliest apples closest to the entrance and it progresses further away as the season goes on. In other words, the later in the season you visit the orchard, the further you will need to plan on walking to pick apples.

There are plenty of already-picked apples to choose from if you want all the fresh flavor without the work.

You must pre-pay for apples and you are required to pay for at least one peck per 6 people (around 10 pounds). A basket is provided.

Here is their picking schedule (which lists available varieties).

Sky Top Orchard is open 7 days a week from 9 am – 6 pm.

The orchard is located above Flat Rock, NC and here are directions to Sky Top Orchard.

We love this place and like so many others, we have made it an annual Mecca. I hope this has been helpful, see you at the orchard! Find our tips on picking apples with kids here.

When visiting Flat Rock, NC, consider our day trip guide to Flat Rock for more suggestions on activities in the area, including all that there is to do in very near Hendersonville, NC. Nearby attractions include the Team Ecco Aquarium, the Carl Sandburg House, and the Western NC Nature Center.

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Dermatologist affected by construction at N. Highland Lake Rd. makes big decision

FLAT ROCK - A road "modernization" most Flat Rock residents didn't want is moving forward by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and nearly all of the business owners along that road are saying construction is affecting their businesses.The North Highland Lake Road project has even prompted one of the business owners, Dr. Seth Cohen, who co-owns Hendersonville Dermatology at 15 Market Center with Dr. Jaqueline Selph, to consider retiring earlier than he expected. Their practice was opened in 2016,...

FLAT ROCK - A road "modernization" most Flat Rock residents didn't want is moving forward by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and nearly all of the business owners along that road are saying construction is affecting their businesses.

The North Highland Lake Road project has even prompted one of the business owners, Dr. Seth Cohen, who co-owns Hendersonville Dermatology at 15 Market Center with Dr. Jaqueline Selph, to consider retiring earlier than he expected. Their practice was opened in 2016, and Cohen said he had plans to expand.

But the project changed all that.

'Completely blocked off'

Cohen has taken several photos and videos of the day-to-day construction and posted them on social media on the Hendersonville, NC Facebook page.

"Access to our office from North Highland Lake Road has been completely blocked off from both directions for three months. They tore up the road and then the work came to a standstill," he told the Times-News on Sept. 1. "There is no reasonable way to get around the road closure. Patients struggle to make their appointments, because the only access to my office is by little known back roads. Furthermore, our staff are stretched extra thin on the phone dealing with calls all day long from patients who are lost or need directions."

Originally, the contract duration was set to end in a couple of weeks from now. It was from Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 15, 2023, but the project experienced delays. The initial cost to NCDOT estimate was $2.6 million, and now the current estimate is $9.97 million. The road’s lane widths will remain the same, each at 11 feet wide, but the project adds shoulders, curb and gutter on the north side and three turn lanes. It affects 1.1 miles between Greenville and Spartanburg highways.

Cohen said he's been following the project since its first proposal and even spoke in front of the Hendersonville City Council against it.

"Most people in the area believed it was totally unnecessary and wasteful spending," Cohen said. "It has been horrible for my office which is at the center of most of the work. Furthermore, the Highland Lake Road detour is very inconvenient for a large number of commuters. I totally agree with (vice mayor) Anne (Colleta) that it will go well into 2025 and, I'll add that the cost will exceed the current quote of $9 million."

Cohen said the noise and building vibrations from the heavy equipment have been unsettling for him, his staff and patients.

"I knew that the roadwork would create a lot of hassles, but I had no idea how much worse it would end up being. Most people don’t know, but the work has actually been going on for at least a year. Yes, they have been doing preparatory utility work and have dug up a trench twice on the side of my office," he said.

More:Relocation of main sewer line extends completion date of N. Highland Lake Road project

A major change of plans

Cohen, a Pennsylvania native who moved to Henderson County in 2015, said his original plan was to build more space and bring on more board certified dermatologists to this community, but as the construction continues, he's decided to change those plans.

"I love my patients and my work. I loved coming down beautiful North Highland Lake road to my office every morning. The late Ed Lastein, landscape architect, designed both my office and the adjacent Park at Flat Rock. It was awesome. Now, it is a total mess and it will be that way into 2025. I don’t want to spend my last few years working like this," he said.

He said his original intent was to work until 2030.

"However, over the past three months of construction, I have decided to pursue other interests," he said. "I loved working in Flat Rock, but this debacle has prompted me to retire much earlier than planned. I will be leaving the practice by April 2024."

Another factor in his decision was social media, he said.

"There were quite a number of people on our local social media pages who expressed a very negative sentiment towards people like myself who are not from here. Additionally, an outspoken minority were openly hostile towards my point of view about the road construction and its effects on my practice. These things contributed to my decision to move on," he said.

Cohen said starting in 2025, he plans to be working part-time at various practices throughout the country and maybe even in New Zealand.

"Plans are in progress. I will also be setting up a teledermatology practice to care for patients with psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and vitiligo," he said.

How are the other businesses, points of interest?

Two of the other main businesses affected by the construction are Dale's Automotive, located at 398 N. Highland Lake Rd., and Highland Lake Inn, located at 86 Lily Pad Lane.

In the past three months at Dale's Automotive, the business has largely been unaffected by the construction, according to Service Writer Doug Hudson.

"As far as our business goes, it's accessible on Spartanburg Highway end. Ninety percent of our business is our regular customers anyway, so it really hasn't affected us too much at all," Hudson told the Times-News on Aug. 31.

The Park at Flat Rock is also still accessible by getting on North Highland Lake Road from Spartanburg Highway. Laurie Blate-Baker of Bee Well Health Consultants, located at 391 Highland Golf Drive, posted on Facebook for drivers to be cautious coming to The Park.

"Please be exceptionally carefully coming into and leaving The Park, because they're having vehicles use the entrance as both or the exit as both, and it's very narrow," her post on the Hendersonville, NC Facebook page said. "(There are) lots of hidden danger since no one knows what's happening. It'll still be open but please, please, please do be very careful and move very slowly."

Dean Hensley is the news editor for the Hendersonville Times-News. Email him with tips, questions and comments at [email protected]. Please help support this kind of local journalism with a subscription to the Hendersonville Times-News.


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