BY LAUREN SEPHTON
North Carolina is fully-loaded with family-oriented events that are sure to get you in the festive mood. As we trade in our vibrant autumn foliage for twinkling lights, enjoy our winter wonderland guide around quaint North Carolina.
While enjoying the crisp weather in Asheville, swing by “Christmas at the Biltmore” to experience 55+ beautifully decorated Christmas trees, studded throughout the largest home in America. Explore those amazing green needles adorned with sparkling luster and countryside charm. Do you consider yourself a competitive gingerbread house builder? Then, consider some confectionery inspiration by visiting the National Gingerbread House Competition winners, whose scrumptious and sweet masterpieces aim to please the most critical eye, while strolling through the display at the Omni Grove Park Inn through January 4th, 2020.
How about a gentle meander through the cobblestone streets of the Old Salem historic district, sipping a cup of hot apple cider? A perfect evening when combined with candlelight and a feather-like nutmeg bun at the Christmas Lovefeast in the historical St. Philips Moravian Church, a church that began moving spirits in 1822. Take a quick pit-stop into Winkler Bakery, one of the oldest operating bakeries in America, for a heavenly sugar cake and the “world’s thinnest” Moravian cookies. Or, how about grabbing a lantern for a historical Candlelight Tour through these cobblestone streets dating back to 1766? Learn the history of those delicious sweets as you bake them yourself through this interactive Candlelight Tour. After you’ve lent a hand to the Potter glazing your own handmade earthenware chocolate cup, enjoy a warm evening at the fireplace decorating a traditional “Putz” and pyramid tree. This Candlelight Tour is bound to take you back in time.
While you’re near downtown Winston-Salem, engulf yourself in the historical Reynolda House Museum of American Art for a sophisticated holiday statement. Don’t forget to stroll through the festive grounds. Wrap up the night downtown by attending the exquisite Nutcracker, performed by the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. And if the opportunity to take a picture with the Nutcracker himself or the Sugar Plum Fairy doesn’t get you in the festive mood just yet, head on into Clemmons for the famous Tanglewood Festival of Lights and the ultimate twinkling of lights, hot cocoa, and warm roasted marshmallows. Try a hayride or horse-and-carriage passage through the park, but be sure to bring a cozy blanket.
Anyone in the family have the need-for-speed? Then don’t resist heading over to the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL for Speedway Christmas. There are nearly 3.5 million lights featured throughout their 4-mile course, as well as Santa’s Workshop and Bethlehem Village, with holiday movie nights on the giant Speedway TV.
While strolling through one of the prettiest winter towns in America, take a little adventure with the family to a native Fraser fir farm to choose-and-cut your very own evergreen this Christmas. But the heart of Christmas in Blowing Rock doesn’t end there; walk over to the Chetola Resort to experience the beautiful lights that make their lakeside property of 87 acres twinkle in the night. If you’re feeling audacious, don’t miss out on the sparkling ice-skating rink at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Most importantly, don’t forget to load up on your holiday candy at the Original Mast General Store, before meeting Santa Claus at Christmas in the Valle. Between snow tubing and skiing, Blowing Rock offers an endless amount of winter sports at every mountain peak.
Corolla (Outer Banks)
Enjoy this town sprinkled with cottages and gaze at the majestic lights that embellish the Elizabethan Gardens. The Gardens feature historical art and plants designed to honor the royal sponsor of England’s first attempted New World colony. The Candlelight Christmas tours will surely guide all eyes towards the traditionally-decorated, Art Nouveau-style mansion, historically known as the Whalehead Club. This 21,000-square-foot house features holiday tours that begin with an original Steinway piano live performance that was custom-designed for Mrs. Knight. After touring each floor of the majestic mansion, guests will be cheerfully offered homemade Christmas cookies and holiday beverages.
Are you ready to explore the winter wonderlands of North Carolina this holiday season?