Earlier this year Blowing Rock was one of a dozen locations selected by Travel & Leisure magazine for inclusion in its list of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns.  The magazine’s editors said, ”The Blue Ridge Parkway passes by this century-old mountain town, whose Main Street has shops for antiques, crafts, even dulcimers. Streams trickling through quiet forests banked with snow inspire exploring and reflection. “

Since the name of the magazine implies expertise in travel and leisure, those contemplating a Thanksgiving to New Years trip away from home should consider the charms and attractions of Blowing Rock. During this holiday interlude the town glows with the warmth of hospitality along its downtown streets, storefronts holiday-lighted and enticing. Once in town, travelers can select from a variety of accommodations, shop, get in the holday spirit, then choose and cut a Christmas tree before heading home.

An easy drive from most places in the Southeast, Blowing Rock is only two hours from Charlotte and Greensboro, three hours from Knoxville, 3.5 hours from Raleigh, five hours from Atlanta and six hours from Charleston.  None of the other towns mentioned by Travel & Leisure is within driving distance of any of these cities.

Details on events and activities in and around Blowing Rock from Thanksgiving through New Years can be found at blowingrock.com. Highlights:

  • Thanksgiving meals will be offered at Chetola, Best Cellar, Crippens, Green Park Inn, Westglow, Meadowbrook Inn and Crestwood, along with Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis. For visitors staying elsewhere in and around town, Gamekeeper and Crestwood will be offering gourmet Thanksgiving-to-go meals. For details, click on “Specials” on the home page of blowingrock.com.
  • Blowing Rock’s Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Town celebration is on Friday, November 23. Highlights include a visit from Santa, hayrides through the town, free hot cider and hot chocolate, caroling in the park, lighting of the town and bluegrass Christmas. Chetola will have family cookie decorating, Santa visits and horse-drawn carriage rides through the lights around Chetola lake November 23 and 24. Carriage rides should be booked in advance by calling the resort.
  • The following day’s events include a Christmas parade, the Thanksgiving kiln opening at Traditions Pottery and a book signing by Bob Timberlake at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM).
  • Mountain Home Music (in Boone) will offer A Celtic Christmas on November 24 and An Appalachian Christmas on December 1.
  • The Ensemble Stage in Blowing Rock will offer special, holiday-themed events on November 24 and the weekend of December 14 through16. For more information visit ensemblestage.com/On-Stage.html.
  • BRAHM will host a family holiday event on December 1 and Watercolor Society of North Carolina Traveling Exhibit from November 28 through February 10.
  • Appalachian Ski Mountain opens for the season on November 16; Sugar Mountain Thanksgiving Day.
  • Choose & cut Christmas tree season runs from mid-November through Christmas week.
  • Chetola’s Festival of Lights is ongoing from Thanksgiving through late January.

There are also special culinary and musical events, along with extended downtown shopping hours throughout the holiday period.  For more information and updates, go to blowingrock.com or call the Blowing Rock Visitor Center at 877.750.4636.