The small mountain-top town of Saluda is a popular getaway vacation for visitors who are keen to explore a variety of outdoor recreational facilities and relax surrounded by the pleasant small-town ambiance. The town owes its existence to the arrival of the railroad back in the early 1900’s and you can learn all about the remarkable engineering feat that was responsible for building the unique Saluda Grade at the Saluda Historic Depot. Most of the quaint buildings along Main Street have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places and are now home to one-of-a-kind stores and restaurants. Near-by Green River Gorge offers access to exciting outdoor recreational activities including kayaking, white-water rafting, paddling, zip-lining, tubing, camping and waterfall rappelling. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Pearson’s Falls & Glen

Pearson’s Falls & Glen
© Kenneth Keifer/

Nestled in the foothills between Saluda and Tryon, Pearson’s Falls & Glen is a delightful place to spend a few hours surrounded by natural beauty. The site is owned and maintained by the Tryon Garden Club and covers over 250 acres of beautiful forests and streams. There is a very pleasant shady trail which leads visitors the lovely 90ft waterfall. As you make your way along the trail you will find many identified trees, shrubs, lichens and hundreds of wild flowers. The trail is suitable for all ages and there are benches along the way where you can just sit and listen to the sounds of nature or do some bird spotting.

Pearson’s Falls & Glen, 2748 Pearson Falls Rd, Saluda, NC 28773, Phone: 828-749-3031

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2.Saluda Historic Depot, Saluda, North Carolina

Saluda Historic Depot, Saluda, North Carolina
© Saluda Historic Depot

The Saluda Historic Depot was established in 2016 to preserve the original 1903 railroad depot and showcase the history of early Saluda. The Depot has been turned into a train and heritage museum where visitors can learn all about the vital role of the railroad in the early days of Saluda. The various exhibits in the museum tell the tale of the pioneer era in Saluda by means of videos, narrative, artifacts and vintage photos. There is also a large diorama in one of the rooms where visitors can admire the miniature railway and learn about the difficulties faced by the early engineers and laborers who risked their lives to build the 3-mile Saluda Grade, the steepest standard gauge railroad in the U.S., which carried passengers and supplies up the steep mountains to Saluda.

Saluda Historic Depot, 32 West Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773, Phone: 828-769-9016

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3.Heartwood Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Saluda, NC

Heartwood Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Saluda, NC
© Heartwood Contemporary Crafts Gallery

Celebrating and showcasing the work of a dedicated group of talented artists and crafters, the Heartwood Contemporary Crafts Gallery is a must-see Saluda attraction. The gallery is proud to exhibit the work of creative crafters from all across North America and you will find a wide selection of beautiful objects d’art in a wide variety of categories including ceramics, glass, jewelry, wood, leather and fabric. In addition there are beautiful paintings on display in a variety of modern mediums. The Gallery is the ideal place to find something special to take home with you to remind you of your visit to North Carolina.

Heartwood Contemporary Crafts Gallery, 21 East Main St, Saluda, NC 28773, Phone: 828-749-9365

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4.Purple Onion, Saluda, North Carolina

Purple Onion, Saluda, North Carolina
© Purple Onion

The Purple Onion has been a popular meeting place in Historic Downtown Saluda since 1998. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor tables where friends and family can meet to relax and enjoy wholesome ethnically-inspired dishes from around the world. The emphasis is on serving delicious foods prepared using local organic produce and natural, ethically farmed meat and poultry. On the menu you will find a selection of deliciously different salads which can be combined with chicken, trout, prosciutto or shrimps and your choice of dressing. Entrees and pizzas can also be personalized and guests are welcome to request baby marrow ribbons to replace pasta in any dish. Burgers, wraps and sandwiches are also featured on the lunch menu.

The Purple Onion, 16 Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773, Phone: 828-749-1179

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5.Ward’s Grill, Saluda, North Carolina

Ward’s Grill, Saluda, North Carolina
© Ward’s Grill

Located in the historic Thomson’s Store building, which is home to the oldest grocery store in North Carolina, Ward’s Grill continues a long-time family tradition. Visitors will find themselves transported back in time when they step into the beautifully re-created 1950’s interior of the restaurant, which has become a legendary local meeting place since it first opened in 1960. Many of the menu items, like their signature sage and pork sausages and hamburger patties are still made according to age-old family recipes in the next-door Thompson’s Grocer. Besides a selection of delicious burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and grills you can order a nostalgic double-thick shake, just like they used to make them in the 1960’s.

Ward’s Grill, 24 Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773, Phone: 828-749-2321

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6.Azalea Bistro, Saluda, North Carolina

Azalea Bistro, Saluda, North Carolina
© Azalea Bistro

Azalea Bistro is an elegant eatery on Main Street, which brings a marriage of the bountiful flavors of the Low Country and French Bistro cookery to Saluda. Owned and operated by executive Chef Garrett Tallent and his wife Emma, Azalea Bistro’s a la carte menu includes favorites like Low Country Shrimp and Grits, Crab, Corn and Lobster Cakes, hearty soups and a selection of inspired salads and mains. The restaurant also offers a sublime 8-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, with or without wine pairing. The food is beautifully crafted and presented with an eye for detail. The elegant white-linen interior is inviting and there are a few outdoor tables for good-weather days.

Azalea Bistro, 40 E. Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773, Phone: 828-769-9022

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6 Best Things to Do in Saluda, North Carolina

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