The next destination in our getaway series is the North Carolina mountains. The western part of the state is full of small towns on the top of peaks, to cities in the valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We explore a little of both in our top picks for mountain getaways.
Asheville is one of the top mountain destinations for Charlotteans, given its close proximity and the array of activities available in any season. For the fall and winter months, the changing leaves is on display. If you haven’t experienced The Biltmore Estate, during the holidays is a great time to visit. Go for the Candlelight Christmas Evenings for a true historic experience. Tour the grounds by candlelight, complete with live music. At one of the other famous properties in Asheville, the Omni Grove Park Inn, stop by to check out the confectionary creations from the hotel’s annual Gingerbread House competition. For arts around the area, check out the list of events going on throughout the fall to take full advantage of the trip.
Take to nature in Cashiers, a small village in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area has an abundance of waterfalls, stone mountains, and a temperate rain forest. Golfing at The Old Edwards club is nearby, as is the Sapphire Valley Ski Area for snowboarding, skiing, and tubing. If you’re into craft beer, there are some great breweries tucked away in Franklin, just west of Cashiers.
Just a short 2 hour drive north of Charlotte, Boone is an easy weekend or even day trip escape. Boone is home to Appalachian State University, where the football team is currently undefeated—if there’s a home game while you visit, snag some tickets. Grandfather Mountain, Blowing Rock, and Linville Caverns are all close by and worth exploration. For families wanting to get in the holiday spirit, a visit to Tweetsie Railroad for Tweetsie Christmas (think mountain version of The Polar Express) and the Festival of Lights at Chetola Resort.
Banner Elk is a small community in the High Country. Here you’ll find Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, both great ski and snowboarding spots for families. Banner Elk is also the culinary destination of the area, including being home to Artisanal, the first restaurant from the duo behind SouthPark’s Peppervine. The seasonal highlight for Banner Elk is Small Town Christmas, a weekend of events in December including the town Christmas tree lighting, caroling, and a holiday market.
At under 90 minutes away, Morganton is an easy destination for a day. Spend your time walking the picturesque downtown, and visit the original locations of some breweries that have opened, and will soon open, in Charlotte: Fonta Flora Brewery and Catawba Brewing Company. Morganton is also an easy stop-off point while taking the Blue Ridge Parkway back toward Charlotte.
Photo Credit: Jason Tarr of ExploreAsheville.com