5 Crazy Reasons Why Asheville Should Top Your Holiday Travel List
By Cat Kessler
Santa gets down with celebrities, wild deals
While you're making your list, and before you start checking it twice, be sure to add a trip to Asheville to the top of your holiday to-do's. Why? Because this year, Asheville takes the holidays to the next level with these five can't-miss things to do and see:
- ©Chimney Rock State Park
Santa Claus Goes Extreme
Santa and his helpers may make their home at the North Pole, but Asheville is where Saint Nick comes to get ready for the Big Night. Watch Santa show off his break-dancing moves as he unwinds with his own Blue Ridge Mountain vacation, and then follow in his fast footsteps with a funky travel itinerary.
And, mark your calendars for early December when Santa will be practicing his chimney-climbing skills on the 315-foot Chimney Rock. No wonder he made BuzzFeed.com's list of most extreme Santa sightings.
(Really) Rockin' Holiday Parade©American Idol/Fox
Hot off his win and national tour, American Idol champion Caleb Johnson headed home for the holidays in 2014, where he was the grand marshal for the Asheville Holiday Parade. Johnson, who grew up and began his musical career in Asheville, drew quite the crowd during a hometown parade earlier in the year that was televised on Idol. He is just one of many well known past grand marshals, who lead the annual procession and often make an appearance at JingleFest, a family-friendly celebration following the parade.
Serious Sugar Rush
The contestants in the National Gingerbread House Competition & Display, held annually at The Omni Grove Park Inn, take the sweet art of holiday baking to a whole new level. Each year, judges score more than 150 gingerbread creations, which must be made entirely of edible items and which come in every size, shape and theme imaginable. Visitors won't want to miss the opportunity to stroll through a veritable village of dozens of homemade houses in the (equally enchanting) historic resort.
When you're America's Largest Home, the only way to do the holiday is to do them big! Biltmore first opened its doors to guests on Christmas Eve in 1895, and it still wows visitors today with more than 60 decorated trees, thousands of feet of garland and hundreds of poinsettias, not to mention a 35-foot Fraser fir that stretches to the ceiling of the great Banquet Hall.
Feel the excitement during Candlelight Christmas Evenings, where your epic tour will be accompanied by music, stories and flickering fireplaces.
Wander In A Winter Wonderland
Asheville's newest winter attraction would no doubt be a favorite of Elsa, the princess of Disney's Frozen. In fact, a former Walt Disney World designer and manager of holiday decorations Jerry Stripling collaborated with the North Carolina Arboretum for Winter Lights. The light exhibit, which opens November 20, will enhance the natural beauty of the Arboretum's many gardens and will also feature nightly DJ performances, a model trail exhibit, a hot chocolate and coffee bar and an outdoor s'mores station.