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2 Nov 2018
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Things to Do & EventsVacation Tips

Biltmore Estate Candlelight Christmas Evening

Asheville has become a year-round destination for avid travelers with a case of wanderlust as well as for families, couples and friends that are just looking for an enjoyable escape to the mountains.

We've seen holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve gain tremendous popularity, and often, vacation homes are booked solid within a month or two of the holidays (if not before). If you're wanting to find the perfect vacation home to relax during the holidays, we recommended making a reservation at least a few months in advance, or even 6 months to a year in advance to secure your ideal home.

There is no comparison to the memories that are made from friends and family gathering around a cozy fireplace in the evenings during the holiday season, soaking in a hot tub and enjoying mountain views as winter's chill sets in -- or just cooking a tasty holiday meal in a fully equipped kitchen. There are also so many opportunities to experience a holiday season illuminated by Christmas lights, mountain traditions, and new experiences. Holiday dates aside, the months of November and December are very popular time frames to visit attractions like the Biltmore Estate during the Candlelight Christmas tour season, the NC Arboretum during their Winter Lights display, to view gingerbread houses during the Grove Park Inn's National Gingerbread House Competitionand to go see Santa at Chimney Rock State Park.

Outside of holiday dates, the months of November and December can also be a great time to capture a deal on a cabin rental and rates can run a little lower than other times of the year. 

Here are some of our favorite ways to experience the magic of the holiday season in the mountains

1. Visit the Biltmore Estate during Candlelight Christmas Evenings.

From early November to early January, you can experience America's largest private estate decked out with holiday lights, giant Christmas trees, and holiday festivities during Candlelight Christmas Evenings. 2018's Candlelight dates begin on November 3rd and extended to January 5th, 2019. 

2. Pick out a cabin that fits your ideal fall or winter getaway.

Greybeard offers over 150 homes with fireplaces, nearly 100 homes with mountain views, over 20 homes with hot tubs and nearly 100 homes that are pet-friendly so you can bring your furry friend along for your holiday getaway. Fireplaces can add an incredible ambiance to your holiday celebration and since all of our homes have fully equipped kitchens, you can enjoy cooking meals with family and friends from the comfort of your vacation home. 

Gingerbread House competition

3. Plan some time to visit the NC Arboretum.

It's not just a place to see beautiful flowers and plants. During the winter months, the NC Arboretum is decorated with displays and landscapes with over half a million holiday lights. Walk around and view the stunning light displays and listen to your favorite holiday music while enjoying a cup of hot cocoa, beer, or cider. Plus, you can feel great about the experience knowing that proceeds generated from Winter Lights go toward the NC Arboretum's year-round education programming. Winter Lights are offered from November 16-December 31, 2018 from 6-10 p.m.

4. View amazing gingerbread house creations.

The Grove Park Inn hosts the annual National Gingerbread House Competition displays beginning around Thanksgiving and this extends into the New Year. Guests not staying at the Grove Park Inn are welcome to view the displays after 3 p.m. on Sundays or anytime Monday through Thursday, excluding holidays. They also charge a minimum $20 parking fee. Parking comes with a price tag, but the displays are worth viewing!

5. Watch Santa rappel at Chimney Rock State Park.

Part of Santa's workout routine to prepare for chimneys across the globe is to rappel down a 315-foot chimney at Chimney Rock State Park. Experience Santa's exciting preparation on Saturday, December 1st or 8th. You won't regret it! In fact, USA Today's remarked that Chimney Rock State Park is one of the top 10 places to see Santa. 

Common spots for Christmas light displays

We are frequently asked where the best spots are to see Christmas light displays. Many local neighborhoods have their own traditions, but here are also a few common spots near downtown Asheville:

  • Pack Square Park
  • Pritchard Park in Asheville
  • Biltmore Village
  • Biltmore Park Town Square

See more at this link.

Other events worth planning for include Black Mountain's annual Christmas Parade and Holly Jolly, Black Mountain's annual street festival as well as Asheville's holiday parade. For more ideas, we recommend checking out our winter visitor guide

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