Something about me that you didn't know - I am an insect admirer!
I met a hornet just the other day. I have lived in this neighborhood for more than 2 years and it was the first hornet I have seen. I was doing some woodworking on my deck, and I believe the hornet was attracted to the noise.
I had my head bent over and just happened to look up in time to see the hornet hovering in front of my face. Previous experiences have taught me that even though hornets belong in the wasp family, they are much friendlier than their cousins. In Tennessee we usually see European hornets. They are about 2 inches in length and their coloration resembles that of yellowjackets.
Mr. Hornet looked at me for a while before investigating my Dremel rotary tool and my electric sander. He seemed to like my toolbox and settled in for a companionable visit. He stayed about 20 minutes and went on his way.
Don't get me wrong - they will sting and it does hurt! But they are only aggressive when you are near their nest or if you interrupt them. They are extremely curious and I met quite a few when I lived in Joelton.
Hornets are beneficial - they eat other insects that snack on your outdoor plants, and they do an incredible job of pollinating. If you are approached - don't swat! Just nod politely, don't make aggressive movements, and they will go on their merry way.