And after a day of hitting the slopes and ski trails, you’ll find ample options for cozying up in a ski chalet or romantic log cabin, of which there are literally hundreds in the High Country.
from suffering “cabin fever.” The 12th annual Blowing Rock
Winterfest kicks off January 27 with the popular Winterfeast,
featuring the culinary skills of Blowing Rock’s finest restaurant
chefs. The fun continues through the weekend with free hayrides, a toasty bonfire and the always anticipated Polar Plunge
on Saturday, when the fearless jump into Chetola Lake.
But even if you’re not in town for Winterfest, the High
Country has plenty of other winter fun, including three major
ski resorts. Among them is Ski Beech, which has the highest
elevation skiing on the East Coast, Appalachian Ski Mountain
in Blowing Rock and Sugar Mountain Ski Resort near Banner
Elk. All three resorts offer a variety of other winter sports,
including ice skating, snowshoeing, snowboarding and ski
lessons for beginners. At Hawksnest Resort, just south of
Boone, you can enjoy snow tubing at the largest snow tubing
operation in the East. The resort has 20 snow tubing lanes,
some of them up to 1,000 feet long.
Not into the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing? Get
some serious exercise cross country skiing along the beautiful
carriage trails of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park on the nearby
Blue Ridge Parkway. Or, enjoy similar serenity on Grandfather
Mountain, where you may have the opportunity to see rime
ice (formed when water droplets in clouds or fog freeze to
the trees) capping the summit and the Mile-High Swinging
Bridge. And after a day of hitting the slopes and ski trails,
you’ll find ample options for cozying up in a ski chalet or
romantic log cabin, of which there are literally hundreds in
the High Country.
Tennessee: Snow Season for Second Honeymooners
Even the most cursory drive through Gatlinburg, TN, will
clue you into the fact that this is a popular place for getting
married. Wedding chapels abound in the town and surrounding
hills, and some 20,000 couples tie the knot here every year. But
that’s not really what makes this little city on the west side of
the Smoky Mountains an ideal winter getaway for couples.
It’s the way the Smokies lift the winter blues with Gatlinburg
Winter Magic, which runs from mid-November through
February each year. Here, there is no such thing as a dreary
winter day, as Gatlinburg is set ablaze with over three million
twinkling lights. And there are plenty of spots for snuggling
up with your sweetheart in the Smokies, including the Lodge
at Buckberry Creek. Situated above the town of Gatlinburg,
the lodge boasts camp style suites with serene views of Mt.
LeConte. In fact, the lodge is located on 26 acres adjacent to
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has its own
trout fishing stream, hiking trails and on-site dining.
If you’re seeking a quiet way to while away an afternoon,
skip the tourist overload of Gatlinburg’s main drag, and head
east of town where curling mountain roads lead to artisan
studios and off-the-beaten-path cafes, all of them part of the
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Established in 1937,
it is the largest independent organization of artisans in the
United States with more than 100 studios, shops and galleries
located along Glades Road three miles east of downtown.
What’s special about this community is not just the crafts
but the fact that visitors can actually interact with the artists,
LEF T: ©IS TOCKPHOTO.COM/MARIDAV; RIGHT: COURTES Y THE HOMES TEAD