Fun ‘holi-daytrip’ destinations this season

Take a day trip for holiday fun with friends and family

by QNotes Staff  Staff Reports  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: December 6, 2013 in Featured Stories, Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time. Parties to attend. Dinners to plan. Presents to buy. Family to visit. If it’s all becoming a bit too much, take a break! Head out of town for a day trip or spend an affordable night away in North Carolina’s foothills and Piedmont and their fantastic and fun destinations and events this year. Each locale offers a plethora of holiday goodness to reset your spirit and keep you strong through New Year!

Asheville and the mountains

An entry in the Grove Park Inn Gingerbread Display and Competition  in 2011.  Photo Credit: Selena N.B.H./moonlightbulb, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

An entry in the Grove Park Inn Gingerbread Display and Competition in 2011.
Photo Credit: Selena N.B.H./moonlightbulb, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

If mountain holiday charm is your thing, hop in the car and head up to the Asheville area, the quintessential holiday retreat in the hills. Of course, everyone already knows about Biltmore and Biltmore Village and it’s a sure bet for any trip. But, one might also find joy and merriment at a variety of other uniquely Asheville offerings. At the historic Grove Park Inn, stop in and check out their Gingerbread House Display and Competition. It runs through Jan. 2. Get a sneak peek at some of the contestants and learn more at romanticasheville.com/gingerbread.htm. While you’re in the mountains, why not go ahead and look for your very own, hand-cut Christmas tree! Romantic Asheville has a list of Christmas tree farms, complete with addresses, times and more information at romanticasheville.com/christmas_tree_farms.htm.

Blue Ridge Artisans Show
Through Dec. 24
McDowell Arts Council Association
50 S. Main St.
Marion, NC 28752
mcdowellarts.org
828-652-8610
Featuring crafts from local artisans, including woodwork, paintings, photography and various Christmas ornaments.

“A Christmas Carol”
Through Dec. 22
The Montford Park Players
Asheville Masonic Temple
80 Broadway St.
Asheville, NC
montfordparkplayers.org
828-254-5146
A unique retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale.

Christmas at Connemara
Dec. 7, 14, 21, 28
Connemara
81 Carl Sandburg Ln.
Flat Rock, NC 28731
nps.gov/carl/
Local musicians and storytellers perform traditional holiday stories and music on Saturday mornings, with hot cider and cookies served!

“O Holy Night”
Dec. 12-22
Flat Rock Playhouse
123 S. Main St.
Hendersonville, NC 28792
flatrockplayhouse.org
828-692-0610
A new musical adaptation of the classic nativity story told through traditional and modern Christmas music. Based on the gospels of Luke and Matthew comes the musical celebration “O Holy Night.” Four powerful singers, joined by a choir and a live band, will present new arrangements of the songs that celebrate the spirit of the season.

“The Gifts of the Magi”
Dec. 12-Dec. 22
Hendersonville Little Theater
229 S. Washington St.
Hendersonville, NC 28792
hendersonvillelittletheater.org
828-692-1082
Hendersonville Little Theater present “The Gifts of the Magi”, a musical from the stories by O. Henry, based on the book by Mark St. Germain, with music by Randy Courts and lyrics by Randy Courts and Mark St. Germain.

Piedmont festivities

A snow-covered Wake Forest University campus, with the iconic Wait Chapel standing above the whitened canopy of trees. Photo Credit: almassengale, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

A snow-covered Wake Forest University campus, with the iconic Wait Chapel standing
above the whitened canopy of trees.
Photo Credit: almassengale, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

A few steps down from the mountains and foothills brings you to the Triad, accessible from nearly every direction in North Carolina. Here, you can explore Christmases past and present. In Winston-Salem, tour 18th and 19th Century homes and public buildings in Old Salem, a Moravian, colonial-era “living history,” outdoor museum. Nearby wine vineyards in the Yadkin Valley offer winery tours and tastings. In Winston-Salem, the “City of the Arts,” local performers bring Christmas to life and students at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts light up your holiday spirit with the classic “The Nutcracker.”

Festival of Lights
Through Jan. 1
Tanglewood Park
4061 Clemmons Rd.
Clemmons, NC 27012
336-703-6400
Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights continues to be one of the largest and most spectacular light shows in the southeast. From storybook scenes to Holiday themes, over 100 displays and over a million lights fill Tanglewood Park with the splendor and joy of the holiday season. Open 6-11 p.m.

Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity”
Dec. 7-8, 14-15
610 Coliseum Dr.
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
nbtf.org
336-723-2266
One of America’s most popular holiday gospel musicals, this annual production by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company is a foot-stomping, hand-clapping theatrical performance, filled with brilliant costumes and Afro-centric dance.

“The Nutcracker”
Dec. 8-9, Dec. 13-16
Stevens Center
405 W. Fourth St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
uncsa.edu
336-721-1945
The Sugar Plum Fairy casts her spell on Winston-Salem when “The Nutcracker” returns to downtown Winston-Salem. Ethan Stiefel, artistic director for the New Zealand Royal Ballet, brings his brilliant interpretation of a classic back to the Stevens Center this festive season. Experience Tchaikovsky’s lush score, vivid sets and costumes and the extraordinary performances that have made UNCSA’s “Nutcracker” a holiday tradition!

Christmas by Candlelight
Dec. 13, Dec. 19-21
Old Salem Museum and Gardens
900 Old Salem Rd.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
oldsalem.org
800-441-5305
A guided, candlelight tour through historic Old Salem, where the customs and traditions of a 19th-century Salem Christmas is brought to life. Includes music, food and drink.

Holiday Open House
RayLen Vineyards and Winery
3577 US Hwy 158
Mocksville, NC 27028
raylenvineyards.com
336-998-3100
RayLen throws open its doors in true southern holiday hospitality, featuring wine and a cappella holiday caroling from Victorian Voices. Complimentary tasting of featured wines.