You don’t have to go far from home to make some great holiday memories. This warm weather likely won’t make for a winter wonderland anywhere close by, but you won’t have to go far to find plenty of holiday cheer. We asked travel writer Ashley Kaufman about her top picks for a Carolina Christmas!
Asheville – Spend the day taking in the Christmas décor at the Biltmore estate and the night savoring one of the South’s hottest food scenes. Splurge on luxury accommodations (with million $ mountain views) at the Biltmore Inn or book a room at one of Asheville’s cozy bed and breakfasts. Tempting Spanish tapas keep Chef Katie Button’s Cúrate one of the hottest reservations in town – make sure to book your table well in advance. Shop for unique holiday gifts at the Kress Emporium – a downtown gallery featuring works of more than 80 regional artists.
Greensboro – Just a short drive 1 ½ – 2 hour drive from Charlotte, Gboro’s O. Henry is one of a handful of NC hotels selected for the esteemed Southern Living Collection. Known for its signature hospitality, the O. Henry offers an elegant afternoon tea service and features local ingredients at in-house restaurant Green Valley Grill. You can book holiday/winter packages to experience cultural offerings such as Triad Stage and the O. Henry Jazz series. Greensboro’s historic downtown serves as a hub for local breweries – check out Natty Greene’s and Preyer Brewing Company.
Charlotte – The holiday season is the perfect time to plan an uptown staycation in the Queen City. Book a room at the Ritz-Carlton for a luxury getaway, or find chic accommodations for less $ at the Aloft hotel in the Epicenter or the Westin. Get in the holiday spirit with a skate at Holiday on Ice rink (open thru Jan 3rd), enjoy a show (the Nutcracker runs through Dec 23rd) and toast to a new year with a handcrafted cocktail at the Ritz’s Punch Room (make sure to make a reservation). For dinner – favorites such as Capital Grille and Blue always impress or check out the Cellar at Duckworth’s, a new gastropub (with a speakeasy vibe) serving buzzworthy small plates and signature cocktails.
Pinehurst – The iconic resort offers great deals in the winter and no golf skills are needed to savor the pine-scented scenery, throwback Southern charm and luxurious amenities. The Evergreen spa or golf escape package includes accommodations at the Carolina Inn, Southern breakfast buffet each day, and a round of golf or 50 minute spa treatment for $179 per person per night.
Sugar Mountain Warm weather has delayed the start of ski season, but a trip to Sugar in Banner Elk makes for a fun winter getaway when temperatures finally drop. About 2 ½ hours from Charlotte, the ski resort also offers cold weather fun such as tubing, ice skating and snow shoeing. You can stay right on the slopes in a Sugar Ski and Country Club condo or opt for rustic charm at the Azalea Bed and Breakfast in downtown Banner Elk.
Check out Ashley’s blog, Points South, for more great places to go and things to see and do around the Carolinas!