Although it may be tempting to stay in and enjoy your Smoky Mountain vacation rental, there are so many things to do around Western North Carolina, it would be a shame not to check out some of it – especially around the holidays. We’ve got a few ideas on how to spend some time away from the house.
The tiny but artistic town’s annual Festival of Lights & Luminaries takes place during the first two weekends in December. More than 2,500 luminaries line the streets and sidewalks leading to the shops downtown. In addition to the lights, the stores along Front Street stay open later, a live nativity takes place at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church, and horse and buggy rides will be available, as will hot cider and cocoa. Visitors can also enjoy carolers, as well as a visit from Santa Claus. This year, the lighting takes place Dec. 6-7 and 13-14 from 5-9 p.m.
The world’s only museum dedicated to aluminum Christmas trees (The Aluminum Tree & Ornament Museum, or ATOM) is in the small town of Brevard inside its Transylvania Heritage Museum. The trees are decorated with vintage ornaments befitting their kitschy nature. The Atomic Sisterhood will be on-hand to sing carols most days through the display’s closing date of Dec. 21. Open hours and more information can be found on the website.
“A Night Before Christmas” takes place on Waynesville’s historic Main Street, and features all the sights, sounds, and tastes of the holidays. The city’s art galleries stay open late, as well as shops and restaurants. Santa will make an appearance, and carolers and live music will fill the air. The event takes place on Dec. 14 from 6-9 p.m.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Holiday Homecoming takes place at the Oconoluftee Visitor Center on Dec. 21 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Appalachian arts and Christmas traditions will be celebrated with craft demonstrations, activities for kids, hot apple ciders and cookies, followed by acoustic music jam sessions from 1-3 p.m.
The Cashiers Christmas Parade takes place Dec. 14 from noon – 2 p.m. The 45th annual parade steps off on Highway 107 South and will feature floats, dancing, singing, and Santa.
Of course, you’ll need a place to stay while you’re exploring the area, and Sundog Vacation Rentals has recently added several new properties. A few of them are spotlighted here.
Misty Mountain Retreat
Perched atop Mulberry Branch in Cullowhee, NC is A Misty Mountain Retreat — a spacious 6 bedroom, 4-1/2 bath luxury getaway. This mountain oasis accommodates up to 13 people in comfort and elegant style. Guests are sure to enjoy having two master suites, all-new upscale appliances, bunk beds for the kids, a ping pong table and huge meeting area downstairs, a custom fireplace, satellite and smart TVs, as well as the ease of wheelchair accessibility.
Vacation location is key, and you won’t be disappointed when you visit A Misty Mountain Retreat! Mulberry Branch is just across the road from the Tuckasegee River, where activity possibilities are endless! The Greenway access is only a short drive away, and here you will find maintained hiking and biking trails along the river’s edge. Destination locations such as Cashiers, Bryson City, and Asheville are within a 30-45-minute drive.
Red Bear Cabin
This traditional lakefront getaway is in the heart of Lake Glenville! Red Bear Cabin is a spacious retreat offering the comfort of home at every turn, with the lake at your toes. This two-story cabin has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, plus a twin bed in the sunroom and a full-size sleeper sofa in the lower den, so 9 can sleep soundly with more than enough room to spread out.
The cabin is nestled in the Glenville/Cashiers area, making it the perfect escape for family and friends at any time of year. The surroundings reflect the ever-present charm of the area, no matter the season. When it’s warm, bring a boat or rent one from Signal Ridge Marina, only a few miles down the road. A private dock is stocked with 4 kayaks complete with paddles and life jackets, and during colder months, it’s only a short drive from skiing and snowboarding.
The luxurious, two-story Timberwolf Cabin offers three bedrooms and can accommodate up to eight comfortably with two king beds, a queen bed, and a queen sleeper sofa. Enjoy the gas log fireplace and the chef’s kitchen, complete with an ice cream freezer and waffle maker. Best of all, you get the private use of a brand-new mini-golf course; cornhole and ping-pong on the porch; two kitchens and two living rooms; two outdoor grills, gas and charcoal; and a jetted tub in the master suite.
Located on Highway 281 in Tuckasegee, only fifteen miles from the campus of Western Carolina University and sixteen miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway, this lodge offers seclusion and convenience. Your getaway is a short drive to dining and shopping in one direction or hiking and mountain biking in the other.
Call for more information: 1-877-786-3641