Here in the NC Smokies, we treat winter just like we do every other season: with a little something for everyone. In the mood to warm up from the inside with craft beer? Our local breweries have plenty of seasonal selections to taste your way through. Are you up for high-speed adventure? We know a ski area, in Maggie Valley, that has that and more. Or maybe you just want to study Smoky Mountain views from a hot tub at one of our cabins or rentals? Sounds like a great way to spend a weekend, if you ask us.
You see, winter here is what you make of it. This is Winter NC Smokies Style:
It’s outdoor exploration
When the leaves fall and the mountains are covered in snow, the sights and sounds of the landscape are amplified. Panoramic, hundred-mile views that are hidden in our greener months suddenly appear. To see what we mean, hike the easy-to-moderate Max Patch trail in Clyde. Or try Purchase Knob, which offers a more challenging hiking excursion with views of Cold Mountain, Mt. Pisgah, and other peaks. For something slow and relaxing, the Lake Junaluska Walking Trail is easy, flat and a peaceful way to reflect while taking in surrounding mountain views.
It’s a chance to get inspired
Every now and then, we can all use an escape from the daily grind—a chance to take a step back and kick up our feet. You can do this on your back porch or around the fireplace in your cabin. Or go out on the town and find inspiration at a local event that showcases our artists and galleries, like Winter Arts Smokies Style. Get tickets for a live performance at HART Theatre, which draws audiences from all over Western North Carolina and beyond with witty, moving and expertly crafted productions. For live music, grab a table for a night at one of several venues or restaurants. Or maybe take in a film the good ol’ fashioned way at The Strand, with a beer or wine from their well-stocked concession stand.
It’s 18 slopes at Cataloochee
You don’t need to be an expert skier to enjoy winter sports in Haywood County. If you’re new to the whole pizza slice and French fry thing, Cataloochee is the perfect place to learn. Take a beginner’s lesson with their instructors and work your way up the mountain. More seasoned skiers can go right on to more difficult runs, like Upper Omigosh and Alley Cat. Don’t worry—if skiing and snowboarding isn’t your thing, anyone can feel the need for speed at Tube World in Maggie Valley. But the best part about a ski trip here, hands down, is that kids stay free at a lot of our local lodging partners!
It’s a romantic getaway
Stay snug inside a homey B&B, complete with a cozy couples package for the cherry on top. Have a romantic dinner for two at a one-of-a-kind restaurant like Bourbon Barrel or Southern Porch, which offers farm-to-table freshness and incredible flavor you’ll want to write Yelp about. Warm up in the mornings with a hot cup of joe at one of our many intimate coffee shops and bakeries. At night, take a moment to discover our local speakeasy, The Classic Wineseller and share a bottle of wine in a quiet corner while live music plays in the background.
It’s a toast to the good life
If you’re going to toast the good life, there’s no better place to do it. Western North Carolina is the intersection of an amazing craft beer scene and a history of moonshine-making. Take to the scenic back patio at Frog Level Brewing Company and enjoy a tasty craft brew along with a complimentary creek view. Tour the facilities at Maggie Valley’s Elevated Mountain Distilling and stay a while, enjoying their new full bar and listening to local distiller Dave Angel recount the moonshine-running days of old. Cap off a shopping spree in Downtown Waynesville with a craft beer and Whistle Pigs at Boojum Brewing on Main Street.
See, it’s kind of hard to tell you what Winter NC Smokies Style really is because it means something different to everyone. But we do know one thing: Winter NC Smokies Style would be a whole lot cooler if you were here.