The winter months are often the most overlooked time of the year to visit the mountains of Western North Carolina, but Asheville and Waynesville are loaded with things to do during the colder months. Winters in the mountains also tend to be much milder than most people assume. On some days the temperature can reach the upper 50’s, making it perfect weather for even some outdoor activities like hiking, biking, or playing a round of golf. Whether it’s the outdoors or the indoors there is definitely plenty of activities for your family to do during the colder months.
Visit The Biltmore House
One of the areas biggest draw is the Biltmore Estate. From November 3 to January 6 experience the Candlelight Christmas Evenings where Biltmore House greets you with the soft glow of luminaries and twinkling lights on a towering Norway spruce on the Front Lawn. Inside, candlelight, firelight, and holiday lights reflect on thousands of ornaments decorating dozens of Christmas trees throughout the grand rooms. Live performances of traditional Christmas music add to your evening visit. For more information visit the Biltmore website.
Skiing and Snowboarding At Cataloochee Ski Area
Typically one of the first ski hills to open in the southeast. Cataloochee Ski Area offers eighteen skiing and snowboarding slopes and trails. Ski and snowboard lessons are available for everyone from the novice to advanced and they have a huge line of rental equipment that is updated every year. Bringing kids? Be sure to check out their Kids Ski Free program they do each year. For more information visit the Cataloochee Ski Area website.
Cut and Choose Christmas Trees
There is no better family tradition than choosing and cutting your very own Christmas tree at tree farm in the mountains. It’s a timeless tradition and one that will be treasured for years to come. Haywood County is home to five “Choose n’ Cut” Christmas tree farms specializing in North Carolina Fraser Firs. For more information visit the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association website.
Asheville Holiday Parade : November 18
Typically the areas first holiday parade of the season, this years parade will take place Saturday, November 18 beginning at 11am. This year’s theme is “Holiday Magic.” The parade features almost 100 entries from area nonprofits, businesses, marching bands, athletic troups, and of course, Santa Claus. The parade begins on Biltmore Avenue at Charlotte Street and concludes on Patton Avenue at S. French Broad. For more information visit the Downtown Asheville Association website.
Holly Days In Downtown Waynesville : December 1-4
Fun-filled weekend of holiday happenings in the downtown businesses beginning with ART after DARK on December 01 and ending with a wonderful Christmas Parade on December 4. For more information visit the Downtown Waynesville Association website.
Town of Canton Christmas Parade : December 7
The closest Christmas Parade to East Fork Ranch is in Downtown Canton! The parade will begin at 6:00pm. and is always a great time. It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a rich and vibrant Christmas parade and fellowship with fellow residents and businesses. For more information visit the Town of Canton website.
Appalachian Christmas At Lake Junaluska : December 8-10
Lake Junaluska is beautiful during the holiday season and this event is always a delight. Festivities include: Handel’s Messiah featuring a local choir and regional orchestra, a concert by Point of Grace, the Appalachian Christmas Craft Show showcasing dozens of local artisans, and then a matinee concert by The Cockman Family. For more information visit the Lake Junaluska Conference Center website.
A night before Christmas in Downtown Waynesville : December 9
Nothing says the holiday season like Main Street in a Downtown Waynesville when it’s lined with Luminaries. Shops, galleries & restaurants stay open late. Live Music, caroling, the Bethlehem Market Place, a live nativity, old-fashioned wagon rides, Santa & Mrs. Claus wandering the street for the kids, storytelling & more. For more information visit the Downtown Waynesville Association website.
Warren Haynes Christmas Jam : Date TBA
Now in it’s 29th year with a date still to be announced (rumor is it will be Dec. XX) the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam is something no music lover should miss. Its a marathon show (and weekend) that generally starts early and runs late into the night with a line up unlike no other concert. Highlights from recent years have included The Avett Brothers, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, O.A.R, Phil Lesh, Dave Mathews, Steve Miller Band, Bruce Hornsby, and of course Gov’t Mule. This event is one of a kind and a great time to be in downtown Asheville. Plus it’s all a benefit for the Asheville Habitat for Humanity! For more information visit the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam website.
10th Anniversary Asheville Winter Warmer Beer Festival : January 21
Celebrating it’s 10 year, this festival features some of the best local and regional craft beers along with live music. Taking place in the Asheville Civic Center in the heart of downtown Asheville, this is a beer lovers paradise. After the festival be sure to grab a bite to eat at one of the many awesome restaurants Asheville has to offer. For more information visit the Asheville Winter Warmer Beer Festival website.