The Polar Express
The holiday spirit is alive in the North Carolina mountains! The Polar Express Train Ride, based on the book, draws tens of thousands of people to the area year after year. Adults and children will enjoy cocoa and a snack and listen to the story of The Polar Express as they travel through the wilderness to the North Pole. Once they arrive Santa will board and hand out a silver sleigh bell to each child on the train. For the return trip, Christmas carols will be sung. This is a popular activity and tickets sell fast so be sure to make your plans well in advance.
Festival of Lights
Several local towns transform their downtown into a festival of lights for all to enjoy. Park and take a stroll or drive through towns in the area such as Sylva, Bryson City, Dillsboro, Waynesville, Hendersonville, Brevard and Franklin to see their holiday displays. Spectacular light displays can also be found at the Biltmore Estate, Lake Julian, the North Carolina Arboretum, and Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland in the Asheville area. You may also see some local homes decorated and lit up during your drive.
Christmas at Biltmore
Be prepared for an awe-inspiring experience when visiting the Biltmore Estate during the holidays. Christmas trees and decor can be found throughout the estate both inside and out. Check out the conservatory where each room showcases a different color and theme. Attend special events such as Candlelight Christmas Evenings, a seminar on creating Christmas wreaths, and winery seminars. As you stroll through the home listen to organ music and enjoy not only the Christmas decor but the history of the home, as well. Be sure to take your kids to visit Santa Claus at Antler Hill Village & Winery. This is truly an experience to remember.
Maggie Valley and the surrounding area offers a wide selection of stores for your holiday shopping. Be sure to visit Cabbage Rose, a unique locally owned store, offering ladies apparel, jewelry, florals, art and more including a Christmas shop. Visit Maggie Valley Shopping for a listing of other stores with a variety of products including crafts, antiques, sweets and much more.
In less than an hour, you can be in nearby Asheville where you will find even more places to do your holiday shopping. Downtown Asheville is bustling with over 200 locally-owned stores, galleries and antique shops. Biltmore Park, built on the Vanderbilt’s former dairy land, is a village featuring restaurants, shops, theater, events and much more. West Asheville is made up of an eclectic collection of shops that sell items such as food, clothes, games, records and more. The Asheville Outlets is an outdoor village featuring over 60 name brand outlet stores. You are sure to find something for everyone on your Christmas list.