Blowing Rock Winterfest – The Zany Side of Winter

mountain towns in North Carolina

The 21st Annual Blowing Rock WinterFest, January 24-27, 2019, is almost upon the mountain towns of North Carolina.  Travel & Leisure christened Blowing Rock as “one of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns.” The popularity of the WinterFest has grown steadily over the past two decades, and this year will surely bring out the folks of the Blue Ridge Mountains–as well as the joyous visitors who make Blowing Rock their fabulous winter destination. 

From the icy Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake, to the scrumptious WinterFeast and WinterBeer Garden–there will be plenty of reasons to attend!   This festival has  been chosen as one of the “Top Pick” events by AAA, and the Southeastern Tourism Society named WinterFest a Top 20 Event.  This gorgeous region always has amazing events to draw the community together, and what better occasion than WinterFest– a crazy-fun long weekend to usher in the High Country’s  2019!    

Here’s what’s happening during WinterFest’s snowy and beautiful weekend:

Shop Til You Drop–A Community that shops local keeps their local town strong!

Thursday, January 24–10 am–Sunday, January 27, 2019—5 pm

Downtown, Main Street

“Put on a pair of comfy shoes and make room in your trunk!  Blowing Rock is one of North Carolina’s premier shopping destinations!”  Just some of the most awesome shopping possibilities:

Antiques & Collectibles–Blowing Rock Antique Center; Blowing Rock Estate Jewelry & Antiques; Carriage Trade Living; Hanna’s; Possum Hollow Antiques; Rug Company; Windwood Antiques

Apparel & Accessories—100 West Union; Almost Rodeo Drive; Blowing Rock Harley-Davidson; Celeste’s; Fig Leaf Ltd; Finley House Couture; J. Mclaughlin; J.W. Tweeds; Monkees; Sister Act; Sunset Tee’s & Hattery; Tazmaraz

Gifts & Crafts—Blowing Rock Cigar Company and Club; Brass Exchange; Cabin Fever of Watauga; Christmas in Blowing Rock; Cross Trade International; De Provence et D’Ailleurs; Final Touches; Gilded Lily by Patra; Handtiques; Heart of the Rock; High Country Candles; Last Straw; Marmalade; Mountain Laurel Floristry; Mountain Thread Company; Mrs., Brumbles; My Mountain Home; Neaco; Pandora’s Mailbox; Park Place Florist; Roey’s 12 Corners Custom Quilts; Rustic; Serves You Right; Take Heart; Tervis; Trillium; Unwound; We’re Good Sports

Galleries—Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery; Gaines Kiker Silversmith; Main Street Gallery/Expressions Craft; Martin House Gallery; Photos by Meta; Reinert Fine Art; Traditions Pottery 

Home Furnishings—Almost Rodeo Drive; Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery; Cabin Fever of Watauga; Gilded Lily by Patra; Gregory Alan’s; Last Straw; Moody’s Handmade Furniture; My Mountain Home; Rug Company; Rustic 

Brrrrahm—Thursday, January 24 10 am-Saturday, January 26—5 pm; free admission; Take the “brrrr” out of the chill and come to the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM).

Doodlebug Club at Brahm—Thursday, January 24, 10:30-11:30 am; or 1- 2 pm ;“preschool age children and a parent/guardian are invited to Doodlebug Club, a fun educational art program focused on basic art skills such as holding your paintbrush, the primary colors, or holding a pair of scissors while introducing them to different art mediums, from watercolors to clay. After clean up it is story time!” Free for Museum members, $5 for non-members.  Space is limited. Call 828-295-9099 to reserve a spot.

WinterFeast—Thursday, January 24, 5:30-10 pm; Chetola Resort; live music, cash bar, warm beverages will keep you entertained and happy, and after dinner the fun keeps on coming with desserts, coffee, tea and plenty more entertainment!  This is the most delicious and satisfying restaurant crawl under one roof.  Folks get to sample small plate selections prepared by the region’s top chefs for $40. 15 restaurants contribute mouth-watering fare to this event.  Get your tickets in advance since WinterFeast has sold out the past six years. Three cruise-style seatings to choose from—5:30; 6:45 and 8 pm.

Participating Restaurants for 2019:  Timberlake’s; Speckled Trout; Best Cellar; Chestnut Grille at Green Park; Bistro Roca; Restaurant at Gideon Ridge; Rowlands at Westglow; Town Tavern; Table at Crestwood;  Six Pence Pub; Storie Street Grille; Outback; Fireflies

Participating Bakeries:  The Backstreet Bakery; Timberlake’s; the Spice & Tea Exchange; WYNter Wonderland Cookies

Bonfire, S’mores and Entertainment at Chetola Resort—Thursday, January 24, 7-10 pm; Friday, January 25, 7-10 pm; Saturday, January 26, 7-10 pm; keep warm by the firepit overlooking Chetola Lake; cash bar with drink specials; gourmet s’mores ($5), and live entertainment as well as giant board games for family fun.

Pancake Breakfast at Sunny Rock; Friday, January 25, 7:30 am-1:30 pm; Saturday, January 26, 7:30 am-1:30 pm;  $5; “Come to Sunny Rock – Eggs and Things for a fantastic pancake breakfast!”  Tim’s outstanding pancakes served with one side of link sausage or bacon.

WinterFashion Show;  Friday, January 25, 10 am-1:30 pm; $35; hors d’oeuvres; mimosas, spritzers and cash bar accompany Blowing Rock’s retailers and the latest fashion for men and women; prize giveaways and gift bags for all attendees. “Come find out what you need in your closet and leave with coupons to go get it!”

Cork & Canvas at BRAHM; Friday, January 25, 4-6 pm; Saturday, 10 am-noon; $40-$45; trained art instructors help attendees paint Wassily Kandinsky’s “Winter Landscape.”  Take home your finished work of art. Canvasses, paint, brushes, and aprons provided. Wine, beer and light snacks are complimentary.  Online ticket purchase required in advance for those over 21 with valid ID; under 18 artists welcome with an adult.

Contact Jennifer Garonzik at 828-295-9099 ext. 3004

WinterFest Sip and Stroll; Friday, January 25, 4-7 pm; stroll Main Street and enjoy the amazing tastings along the way; participating businesses will be announced.

Hands-On-Ice Carving; Friday, January 25, 4-6 pm; Saturday, 11 am-3 pm; Memorial Park; free admission; children and adults come and help  artist, Cathleen Gallagher, create an ice sculpture with supplied hand chisels and safety goggles.

WinterCraft:  An Outdoor Handmade Market; Friday, January 25, 4-8 pm; Martin House; local artisans and the Mountain Thread Company look forward to seeing you!

WinterFest Ice Stroll; Friday, January 25, 5-7 pm; 20 creative ice sculptures will be on display in front of businesses; a map of locations will be available.

Music on the Lawn; Friday, January 25, 5:30-8:30 pm; local musicians will entertain you at the Inn at Ragged Gardens; food and drinks available for purchase; music to be announced.

Polar Plunge at Chetola Resort; Saturday, January 26, 8-11 am; a tradition and highlight of WinterFest.  Plungers wear costumes and“Golden Plunger”is awarded to the best costume.  On-line pre-registration is advised (; proceeds benefit local charities Western Youth Network and Hospitality House.

Polar Plunge Brunch; Saturday, January 26, 10 am-noon; Timbers Room, Chetola Resort; live feed of Polar Plunge; $22 adults; $16 children 12 and under; drinks not included.

Hayrides; Saturday, January 26, 10 am-4 pm; 132 Park Avenue; free!

Silent Auction & Raffle; Saturday, January 26, 10 am-4 pm; American Legion Building; beautiful items and gift certificates donated by area retailers and businesses; proceeds go to Mountain Alliance to provide Watauga County high school aged kids a safe and supportive environment.

Rotary Charity Chili Challenge; Saturday, January 26, 11:30 am-2 pm; $8—12 years and above; $5 for kids 5 and up; Blowing Rock School Gym; taste and vote!

K9 Keg Pull; Saturday, January 26, 11:30 am-4 pm; American Legion Building; proceeds benefit Partners! (Canines).  Dogs pull empty beer kegs on sleds; free to watch for all!

Ice Carving Demonstrations; Saturday, January 26, noon-4 pm; Memorial Park; a must-see event!

Artic Art at BrrrAHM; Saturday, January 26, 1-2:30 pm; free crafts for all!

WinterFest Beer Garden; Saturday, January 26; 1-4:30 pm; $30; 15 vendors—local and regional breweries and distilleries “Hops and Barley Pops” outside the American Legion Building.  “Can you think of a more unique way to celebrate winter than by enjoying beer and spirits while watching cute dogs compete and bidding on items to support a local charity–all in one spot?  All attendees receive a commemorative WinterFest pint glass, while supplies last.”

WinterTastings & Auction at The Green Park Inn; Saturday, January 26; 3-5 pm; $30; tastings followed by auction.

Sunday Brunch at Foggy Rock; Sunday, January 27; 11am-3 pm; brunch and sangria specials!

WinterPaws Dog Show; Sunday, January 27; 1-3 pm; $5; Blowing Rock Elementary School;  sponsored by The Watauga Humane Society; “Show off your four-legged best friend or just come to see the cutest dogs around…” Proceeds go to the Watauga Humane Society, a local non-profit, serving approximately 2,000 abandoned animals each year; entertainment by The Carolina Snowbelles.

For those of us who live in our cozy mountain homes at The Coves, taking the pretty ride to Blowing Rock’s higher elevations can be a sweet excursion, especially when you get to return to your charming paradise at the end of an exhilarating day.  Come explore the mountain towns of North Carolina and make sure The Coves is top on your real estate list. 

Remember while you’re having a snowy blast at WinterFest in the mountain towns of North Carolina, you’re also making valuable contributions to many local charities. So  as they say in the High Country, “Don’t Hibernate.  Celebrate winter in Blowing Rock!”

WinterFest tickets can be purchased at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, 132 Park Avenue, by phone 800-295-7801 or 828-295-7851 or online.

Be sure to check the complete schedule and make the most of this year’s experience while helping to support our much-loved community.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Blowing Rock | Festivals

Craft Enrichment Classes in Blowing Rock at ASU (Appalachian State University)

classes in Blowing Rock

Springtime may seem far away, but not at Appalachian State University where enrollment for craft enrichment classes in Blowing Rock began December 3!  The Craft Enrichment Program is an incredible way to continue lifelong learning in a beautiful setting.  There are many inspiring classes to choose from, taught by professional artists, instructors and crafts people in a professional environment.

“Come and discover your artistic signature.” Some daytime classes to consider for Spring 2019:

• Felt Workshop: Wet Felted Vessels from Valentines to Vases

“Indulge your creativity through fibers!  In the workshop, you will create one or more 3-dimensional wool vessels.  Embellishments can be added such as silk hankies, silk roving, wool fibers and yarns ….to  decorate your one of a kind vessel.”

This is a physically active workshop; standing requires comfortable shoes and be sure to wear clothing that can get wet; bring 2 or 3 old bath towels.  For beginners & all levels.

Instructor: Jane Campbell

Enrollment: 16

Date:  Saturday, February 2 (1 day)

Time:  10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Cost:  $80  (Materials included in course fee)

Location:  Edwin Duncan Hall,  TBA

• Watercolor…Exploring Nature Up Close

“JoAnn Pippin, a signature member of both the Southern Watercolor Society and the Watercolor Society of North Carolina, will teach a 5-session watercolor class that will help you see and paint what you love.  During these classes you will work on a painting that you will be proud of while learning how to compose an effective painting, how to use color for pizazz, and how to work with and without brushes for interesting effects.”

Bring the supplies you have, but DO NOT go out and buy materials until after session 1.  Also be sure to bring pictures or ideas of what you would like to paint.

Instructor: JoAnn Pippin

Enrollment:  10

Date:  Wednesdays, January 30 — February 27

Time:  3:00 – 6:00 (pending final classroom confirmation)

Cost:   $145

Location: Edwin Duncan Hall,  TBA

• Advanced Bowl Turning

“This course will continue the art, science, and techniques needed to turn a block of wood into functional sculpture. We will explore some rough-edge and green-wood spindle turning, wood curing, selection, and tool sharpening. You may never look at a pile of firewood the same again!”

Be sure to bring safety glasses or shield and earplugs

Instructor: Phil Armstrong

Dates:  Saturdays,  January 26 — April 6  *no class 3/9  (10 weeks) 

Time:  9:00 am – 11:30 am

Enrollment: 5

Cost:  $230

Location: Katherine Harper Hall Room 146

Registration for all classes begins at noon on December 3 and remains open until the class fills or until three working days before the class begins.

For more info: call Jack Chambers at 828-262-2933

Other possible classes offered throughout the year include pottery/ceramics, drawing and painting, weaving, jewelry-making, photography, videography, fiber and glass arts, basket-making, wood turning, beekeeping, batik and metalworking.  The mission of ASU is to “provide settings for novices, hobbyists and advanced students to use professional-level equipment and receive individual attention from instructors who are committed both as teachers and craft artists.”  No wonder lifelong learning is such a pleasure up high in this scenic Blowing Rock elevation.  The classes are affordable and accessible to everyone over 16—a reflection of the true community-mindedness and spirit in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

This esteemed program has been enriching folks’ lives since 1999.  There is no doubt that traditional and contemporary crafts and arts are valued in the communities that dot the high mountains. 

Most enrichment classes take place on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone which is perfectly situated in the picturesque mountains at Blowing Rock elevation.  The university was founded in 1899 and is one of 17 prestigious educational institutions in North Carolina that helps foster lifelong learning as well as providing degrees to both undergraduates and graduates.  “Appalachian is a special place. Our location in Boone, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a place of great beauty abundant with cultural and recreational opportunities, profoundly shapes how our community lives, works and learns together. Once you become a part of our community, you never really leave.”  There is a true connection between the campus and the community which benefits everyone.

The Coves is only a half hour’s drive along scenic route 321 North to Boone and ASU’s gorgeous campus.  No wonder so many folks at The Coves take the short journey to Blowing Rock elevation where they participate in the artistic community.  ASU provides convenient free parking.  The Coves often has its own at-home artistic offerings, like painting wine and design with local artists as well as cooking festivities to enhance our culinary arts and satisfy our appetites!  We share and appreciate a remarkable community at The Coves where the beauty begins with the foundations of our stunning mountain homes and reaches far and above into the pristine landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Come and visit The Coves and discover the charming and artistically-enriched life that awaits you!

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Blowing Rock

Fabulous Furniture Shopping in Blowing Rock

furniture shopping in Blowing Rock

Southern Living has given accolades and write ups to Blowing Rock, North Carolina time and time again for a myriad of reasons. The mountains have great appeal to those who have an appreciation for pristine nature.  The towns dotting the landscape add culture, entertainment and community.  You couldn’t ask for a sweeter blend surrounded by the cozy North Carolina mountain homes.

Plenty of visitors venture to the High Country to get a taste of what this relaxed life style is all about. Blowing Rock’s downtown is ideal for a little shopping and dining after a day outdoors.

One popular destination for both locals and visitors is the Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery.  Located on Highway 321 at the end of Main Street, the journey to the gallery along the Blue Ridge Parkway is as stunning as the store itself.  It’s no wonder that folks travel to the High Country to visit this amazing two-story, 20,000 square foot gallery.  The showroom is chock full of unique furnishings, along with tried-and-true American lines like Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Kingsdown, Basset and Craftsmaster. The staff is warm and professional and equipped to fulfill all of your shopping needs.  And the gallery’s collections are diverse with hundreds of styles and fabrics to satisfy your individual decorating taste and budget.  This way you can “combine elements of color, style, comfort, and price to get the furniture that is perfect for you and your family.”  Whether you have a house full of children, and high-spirited dogs, or you’re living the quiet life of retirement, you’ll find the perfect selections beneath the gallery’s roof.

The Blowing Rock shopping gallery opened in 2014 and Bill Smith, Director of Retail, says, “Our business is being built on family, community and friendship.”  That’s a recipe for success, and is a theme shared by the quaint towns of the High Country.   Those who live in North Carolina mountain homes get to experience the welcoming community spirit each and every day.   The gallery’s design consultants will even make house calls to help local customers realize their interior decorating visions. New brands and inventory are added on a regular basis.

Are you searching for comfy seating to accommodate all your friends and family over the holidays?  There are sectionals that come with optional blue tooth speakers, so crisp, clear background music can set the mood while your guests sip their cocktails.  What about top-grain leather sofas, chairs and ottomans in a rich burgundy brown to give a luxurious look to your living room, great room or sun porch?  Norway rockers in dove grey or warm butterscotch are a contemporary way to recline after a day of skiing or snowshoeing on the mountains.  If a bedroom set is on your wish list, there are options that will inspire—rustic butcher block finishes with contemporary handles in antique gunmetal finishes.  If you like to shop with ease, visit Blowing Rock Gallery’s Facebook page and get pre-approved financing before you even hit the gallery floor!  And don’t forget, students and alumni and staff get discounts. 

The Gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 10-6; Sunday, 1-6.  For more info call 828-295-7755

This is the time of year to spend more time in our North Carolina mountain homes and we want them to be cozy and inviting. Cabin Fever is another popular store ready to help personalize your living space.  Cabin Fever opened its doors to the Blowing Rock community, (and its furry friends), in 1996. Located on Main Street, Cabin Fever is open year round. 

This is the place to collect cabin décor and rustic furnishings.  What does your heart desire?  Whimsical framed prints, pet portrait pillows (20 breeds to choose from to add a little joy to your sofa), locally-crafted furniture to lend your cabin a touch of artisan class, like teal-colored cabinets to showcase your sweet collectibles, or a vintage iron Singer sewer base with a rustic wooden table top,  chain-saw cedar bears, local artisan’s handmade clocks that go tick-tock, finely crafted cutting boards made from a variety of woods–or tempered glass, so-soft throws (an inspiration to settle in front of your fireplace with a hot cup of cider), unique jewelry—mixed metal sets, letter necklaces and spent case pieces, or pure beeswax candles in gorgeous hues to add visual charm as well as a fresh scent to your home.  The list goes on and on!

“We feature a wide variety of themes to choose from, with one of the most unique collections of locally crafted furniture, lighting, rustic mountain kitchen and bath decor, along with bedding collections and wall art for every room in your cabin or home.” Drop in–915 Main Street– Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday—10-5:30; Friday, Saturday—10-6; Sunday—10-5 or call 828-295-0520 for more info or a little decorating assistance.

To the folks who live at The Coves, Blowing Rock shopping is no secret.  Whatever the style your mountain home is elegant and traditional, or cozy cabin chic, these fine Blowing Rock stores offer the furnishings and décor to individualize your charming house room by gorgeous room. 

Take the scenic drive to Blowing Rock and spend the day browsing or doing some serious shopping for your mountain home. If you haven’t selected your mountain neighborhood, come tour The Coves and see why property owners love living here.

Call 828.754.0700 to schedule a visit!

Tags: Blowing Rock | Shopping & Antique Hunting

Christmas in Lenoir – Toys, Santa and Selfies

things to do in Lenoir NC

This is the most magical time of year in the mountain towns in North Carolina, and Lenoir’s holiday traditions are well known for adding warmth and meaning to the folks who live in this charming region.  The City of Lenoir Main Street Program keeps the sense of community vibrant, and at this time of year keeps us all humming Christmas carols through the streets.  More than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities have come together to create an unusual bond—the Main Street America Program.  Initiated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the focus is to build amazing communities with hearty downtowns. 

What does this mean for all of us who are fortunate enough to live in Lenoir?  There is a never-ending list of celebrations and events throughout the year that provide us with a variety of things to do in Lenoir NC.  No matter what your holiday heart yearns for—it’s happening in Lenoir!  Shows, parades and breakfasts with Santa will be making this Christmas season merry and bright.  Check out all the holiday festivities in Lenoir:

Between November 27 – December 22 in the mountain towns in North Carolina, there are almost as many magical occasions to have a selfie with Santa as there are days of Christmas!  Downtown Lenoir  transforms into a holiday extravaganza that will warm the hearts of the young and old alike!  Made possible by our COL Main Street Program,  these are all the dates and places you, and the youngsters in your life, can visit with Santa. Be sure to let this jolly fellow spread his yuletide cheer:

  Tuesday, November 27:  6-8 pm—1841 Café

  Friday, November 30:  4-6 pm; Lenoir Christmas Parade

  Tuesday, December 4:  6-8 pm; Fercott Fermentables

  Friday, December 7:  5-7 pm; Piccolo’s Pizza

  Saturday, December 8:  4-6 pm; Walgreens

  Saturday, December 8:  6-7 pm; LHS Auditorium

  Friday, December 14; 5-7 pm; Side Street Pour House

  Saturday, December 15; 11 am-1 pm; Tybrisa Books

  Friday, December 21; 5-7 pm; Cookies and Cream

  Saturday, December 22; 6-8 pm; Shake-n-Dog

If you’re in the mood for a holiday performance, the Foothills Performing Arts will be presenting “The Adventures of Santa Claus” November 29-December 2 at JE Broyhill Civic Center, 1909 Hickory Blvd SE.  This musical production will entertain the entire family.  “Discover how Santa Claus became the legend we know today in a tale full of magic and whimsy.”

The performance on Friday, November 30 will include dinner and a show. And if you’re looking for things to do in Lenoir NC, why not enjoy a delicious holiday-themed dinner at 5:30, giving you plenty of time to appreciate the menu before the show: chef-carved honey-glazed Virginia ham, baked chicken and dressing with gravy, rosemary-roasted potato medley (Yukon Gold, red and sweet potatoes); southern green beans; rolls with butter; assorted desserts; coffee, tea, and warm apple cider—all for only $15 per person.


11/29/2018 – 7 pm

11/30/2018 – 5:30 pm

11/30/2018 – 7 pm

12/1/2018 – 7 pm

12/2/2018 – 2 pm

Single Ticket Price $16.25 (includes tax) Group and child/student tickets are available; for more info contact 828.726.2404.

It’s impossible to think of Lenoir in December without conjuring up images of sugar plum fairies and the downtown parade!  The theme of this year’s Lenoir Christmas Parade, on November 30, 6:30-9:30 pm, is sure to warm your festive heart–“Home Sweet Home for the Holidays ~ Celebrating the Sweetness of Coming Home for the Holidays.” For those local folks who love taking part in the heart of the parade, decorate your own float—“choose your favorite holiday candy, sweet treat, or gingerbread creation and decorate your float to celebrate our flavorful holiday traditions!”

Hosted by Lenoir Parks and Recreation, with over 200 entries, this holiday parade is a cherished tradition.  University and high school bands create the festive music to accompany the floats, community groups, and, of course, Santa!  Don’t forget–streets close at 3:30 along College Avenue and Harper Ave for the parade line-up along Harper Ave, Mulberry St, Main St, Ashe Ave, and West Ave for the Parade Route.

But the fun this holiday season doesn’t end there in the mountain towns of North Carolina!  December 2, from 12:30-4:30, the Christmas Cruise-In & Toy Drive is presented by the Lenoir Cruisers on 801 West Avenue NW.  This is a fun-spirited and free event.  Make sure you participate by bringing along a new and unwrapped toy for a child aged two up to eleven,  and make his or her Christmas a little brighter.  The sight of Santa delivering your carefully-chosen toys to all the sweet little girls and boys of the area will certainly put you in the holiday spirit!

“Shine up those rides one more time and join us as we wrap up 2018 and celebrate the season of giving.”

There are boundless events when you and your family are searching for meaningful things to do in Lenoir NC to lift your spirits. Be sure to put breakfast with Santa, a worthy and joyful morning on your calendar: December 1; 8:30-10:30 am; at Fatz; 975 Blowing Rock Blvd, Lenoir, NC.

You can purchase your tickets at Second Bloom Boutique, 2301 Morganton Blvd in Lenoir to be sure you have a reservation.  This holiday affair will help support the Shelter Home of Caldwell County.  What better than to be helping those in need while enjoying a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes and sausage?  Children can celebrate and preserve the celebration with a keepsake photo with Santa! 

Now, if you’re feeling creative and crafty this holiday season, put Satie’s Holidays Workshops—at Caldwell Arts Council on your schedule!  Join in the fun as you Make-and-Take an Aluminum Wrap Ring with Ellen Ball on December 4 from 9-11 am; 601 College Avenue SW, Lenoir.  This is the time and place to “learn how to apply texture with hammers on pre-cut pieces of light-weight aluminum to create a forged wrap ring.” Tools and materials included; no experience necessary. Children 12 and up or mature children ten to twelve with an adult.

There’s more happening at the Caldwell Arts Council throughout the month.  Lenoir celebrates artisans December 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22 in true homemade fashion with its Hometown Downtown Holiday.  Fridays from noon to 7 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm.

When the mood strikes to hunker down for a Christmas film, COL Parks and Rec and Main St Program will be showing Christmas with the Kranks at 7 pm on December 8 at Historic LHS Auditorium.  Come a little early (6 pm) with your little ones for a visit with Santa. The whole night is family-friendly and free!

Also on December 8, the Elfin’ Around Christmas Show at the JE Broyhill Civic Center from 10 am-3 pm–45 vendors will provide crafts, food and prizes.  Santa will be there to spread his joy and inspire the community to make donations to the needy families in Caldwell County.

Maybe your house needs a little sprucing up for Christmas?  Santara McGlynn of Santara Flowers will be returning for a live wreath-making workshop at the Caldwell Arts Council on December 8 from noon to 2 pm.  Those folks who have cozy homes at The Coves know how festive the perfect holiday wreath can look on their front door.  “Enjoy a creative time, complete with all supplies, finger foods, and a hot chocolate bar for only $75/person! 1828 Collective will be on hand to photograph participants with their wreaths.”

This is the sweetest time of year to visit The Coves and see the gated community with its idyllic mountain homes all decked out.  The celebratory and festive air of Lenoir is carried into The Coves where the folks create a tight-knit community.  They share the holiday spirit, and usher in the season with carols, hot cider and home-cooking—all while gathering around the hearth inside their charming homes.  Be sure to plan a winter outing to the mountains of North Carolina. 

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Blowing Rock | Festivals | Lenoir

Sugarfest – NC Ski Resort Kicks Off the Winter Season

NC Ski Resorts

One of the many nice things about living in the foothills is that you don’t need to be at Blowing Rock elevation year-round to enjoy the excitement our nearby ski slopes have to offer.  The mountain homes for sale in NC at The Coves Mountain River Club offer us easy access to natural wonders such as Sugar Mountain and the annual weekend of winter fun called “Sugarfest”.

Sugar Mountain rises at the eastern side of Avery County, in the middle of High Country.  Surrounded by the Appalachians, it has picturesque streams, plenty of native foliage, and spectacular views.  No matter the time of year, it’s a peaceful, serene getaway for locals and visitors alike.  Families love mountain biking on the trails, taking scenic rides on the chair lifts, playing golfing and tennis and enjoying the local spas, shopping opportunities, performing arts venues and wonderful restaurants.

In the winter, Sugar Mountain is our destination for incredible downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tubing and ice skating.  There are 125 acres of skiable terrain on 21 slopes, with 15 of those lit for night skiing and snowboarding.  Sugar Mountain has great accommodations, with a range of amenities and views.  After a day of skiing or snowboarding, taking in that wonderfully brisk, fresh air, you can rest and rejuvenate in front of a crackling fire, sipping hot chocolate and re-living the day’s adventures.  Sugar Mountain is one of the more popular NC ski resorts, and we highly recommend “SugarFest” as a symbolic way to start the winter season.

This year’s dates are December 7, 8 and 9.  And you can save up to 30 per cent on lodging if you book now through participating agencies, so don’t hesitate.  Activities planned for Friday night include a session with 1992 Olympic figure skating medalist Paul Wylie.  He’ll perform a show on ice, followed by an ice-skating clinic, a meet-and-greet session and your chance to hold a real Olympic silver medal.

Also, two-time Olympic Super G medalist Andrew Weibrecht will head up a three-day preseason ski clinic for adults.

Saturday, enjoy food, drinks and dancing to live music by Glen Harlow and North Fork band. You won’t want to miss the fireworks, presented by the Village of Sugar Mountain, starting at 5:45 P. M.  And “Sugarfest” is your chance to try out the latest ski and snowboard equipment from top names like Salomon, Volkl, Nordica, Burton, Head, Never Summer, K2, Atomic, Rossignol, Ride and Line. For a detailed schedule of activities, visit Sugar Mountain’s website.

Sugar Mountain is less than an hour’s drive up State Road 1557 from The Coves Mountain River Club.  When you reach Blowing Rock elevation, you’re about halfway.  Residents say their grandkids really look forward to going there when they visit.  And there’s something about watching the youngsters have so much fun snow skiing, tubing and ice skating that brings out the kid in the older folks, too.

Our mountain homes for sale in NC are ideally located for you to take advantage of a wealth of outdoor activities.  NC ski resorts are some of the finest in the country, and the mild weather we enjoy in the warmer months is perfect for fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, biking, golf and anything else you want to do.  The Coves Mountain River Club is right on the Johns River at Wilson’s Creek, close to the city of Lenoir.  When you tour the property, it’s easy to imagine yourself living here.  And we can make that happen.  The members of our design team are experts at bringing dreams to life.

We’d love to show you around when you’re in the area.  Come and see all we have to offer, and then just kick back in a chair on our Pisgah Mountain Lodge deck, enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the mountains. 

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Blowing Rock

Tweetsie Railroad and Gravity Adventures – Blowing Rock Family Fun

fun things to do in Blowing Rock NC

When you and your visiting grandkids are looking for things to do in Blowing Rock, for a little fun and entertainment no matter your age, Tweetsie Railroad should be top on your list! Located at 300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane on Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, this family-oriented park has a long and cherished history in the mountain towns of North Carolina, stretching all the way back to 1957.  No wonder for decades Tweetsie Railroad had been a popular destination for those with mountain view cottages.  Who doesn’t love an old-fashioned theme park?

Tweetsie Railroad operates two historic steam locomotives, the No. 12 Tweetsie and the No. 190 Yukon Queen; both were brought back into top working condition by skilled engineer, Frank Coffey. Locomotive No. 12 was built in 1917 and is famous for being the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. From 1919-1940, Tweetsie operated from Johnson City, Tennessee to Boone, North Carolina.  The Tweetsie Railroad theme park opened with the Tweetsie as its sole locomotive ride in 1957.  The Yukon Queen was built in 1943 and came to the park in 1960 from Alaska’s White Pass & Yukon Railway.  It’s amazing to think you can still enjoy a wild west train ride on the No. 12 or 190–a three-mile adventure through the mountain towns of North Carolina!

And there’s so much more to do at Tweetsie! Experience the scenic aerial view of the park  on the chair lift to Miner’s Mountain for a nostalgic day of face painting, gold panning, gem mining, and amusement rides– a carousel, a Ferris wheel, free fall, tilt-a-whirl, twister, a mouse mine train, as well as boats and planes to “pilot.”  Arcade and country fair games await alongside a playground for those energetic little ones who need a day out from their mountain view cottages.

For the animal lovers in your life, who travel from the mountain towns of North Carolina, the Deer Park Zoo is sure to please with nearly a hundred different creatures.  Bring your camera for some amazing animal photo opportunities–African pygmy goats; European fallow deer; Nubian goats; emus; llamas, burros, miniature horses, micro mini donkeys; Olde English babydoll Southdown sheeps; and yellow bellied and red eared slider turtles.  Capture your grandchildren as they fall in love with these sweet creatures.

With all this activity, your family’s appetite will be at an all-time high.  Thank goodness Tweetsie has so many delectable eateries—Miner’s Diner has pizza, hot dogs, nachos, soft pretzels, popcorn, snacks and soft drinks—a paradise for all the kids in your life; Mountain Ice Cream offers sweets for your sweets—shaved snowballs, milkshakes, cotton candy and soft drinks and Dippin’ Dots—the ice cream of the future!  Other mouth-watering options–Cowboy Cantina;  the Funnel Factory; Fudge Works; Feed & Seed for indoor and outdoor dining; Tweetsie Palace; Sparky’s Southwestern & Barbecue for real NC barbecue and Tex Mex; and Arcades Refreshment Wagon. Make sure you arrive hungry!

For those in your family who enjoy a little retail therapy, there are plenty of shopping options at Tweetsie. Miner’s Mountain is where you can stop in at the quaint company store and gem mine store for souvenirs, rocks, toys, plush animals, apparel film, jewelry, and gem-panning kits; Tweetsie Junction boasts the Junction Store for etched glass and custom signs; Jamie Leigh’s Photo Parlor is the place to dress up in vintage clothing for that unique keepsake photo; the Sign and Glass Shop can create a custom sign to suit your taste; Western Mercantile will fulfill all your apparel needs, and be sure to visit Happy Trails Toy Shop and the General Store for all your needs and indulgences.

Here’s a few upcoming events:

• August 27th-October 28th, open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as Labor Day Monday, September 4th, 9am-6pm• September 21-22, 28-29, October 5-6, 12-13, 19-20,  26-27, open for Ghost Train, 7:30-11:30 pm—advance tickets required—“It’s safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. And take a chilling journey into the night on the Ghost Train—if you dare!”

Don’t forget to check Tweetsie’s calendar for a list of seasonal shows.

When you’re entertaining friends and family, there’s nothing better than being the perfect tour guide.  From Tweetsie Railroad you can zip right on over to Gravity Adventures at 215 Tweetsie Railroad Lane, Blowing Rock, NC.  The two parks even share a parking lot.  There could be no better neighbors when you’re looking for things to do in Blowing Rock.  High Gravity Adventures has been providing thrills in the outdoors to folks who in the mountain towns of North Carolina since 1992.

The NYT listed Gravity Adventures as one of “20 Family-Friendly Travel Ideas to Get You Going.”  The team of instructors are professional and place safety above all else.This fall Gravity Adventures is open weekends and reservations are recommended.  Observation deck and green spaces are perfect for photo opportunities.  Go Pros are permitted off the ground.  Be sure to wear comfortable and active wear clothing—pants or longer shorts, as well as closed-toe shoes.  Drinks and snacks are available for purchase or you can bring in your own picnic meal.  For your friends and family who want to remain on the ground, they can watch for free from the observation deck.  Children four and up can explore the course solo as long as an adult is at the park.  Children 7-10 need an adult to journey into more demanding courses, and children 11 and up can explore these courses on their own.

Adventure Options:

• Zip Line Tour—A tour through the tree tops with multiple zip lines, a sky bridge over a lush valley, and a 70 foot free fall for those who dare!  This is a two-hour adventure where you can sit back and enjoy the experience and let the guides do the work.

• Aerial Adventure Park—This Blue Ridge Course has over 75 aerial elements with various levels of difficulty.

• Giant Swing—the “icing on the cake” with a 45-foot high swing to make you feel like a kid again!

• The Ultimate Adventure—can last up to six hours beginning with a 2-hour zip line tour, and a 70-foot free-fall, followed by 3 hours of exploration of 75-plus aerial elements; end with the giant swing!

Don’t forget to subscribe for local deals via text message when you’re looking for things to do in Blowing Rock.  You’ll be the among the first to find out about great offers and discounts.

When your part of the community who enjoys the good life at The Coves Mountain River Club, waking up every morning in your mountain view cottages, or the larger cabins you had built to accommodate your children and grandchildren, you need no reminders of the beauty and simplicity of your life.  Just step outside your door and the incredible landscape will surround you.   Sip your coffee while you gaze at the Blue Ridge Mountains, and then take a short drive and you’ll find yourself with amazing adventures to choose from—whether it’s a nostalgic old-fashioned day at Tweetsie Railroad, or an exhilarating day at Gravity Adventures.  The Coves makes this all possible.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Blowing Rock