New Year’s Eve Family Friendly Activities

2021 is almost here! A huge shout-out to all the High Country families. Your perseverance was huge in 2020. We are believing that 2021 is going to be great for all. Here are five family-friendly activities to help you celebrate.

Photo Credit: App Ski Mtn
  1. App Ski Mtn – Family Friendly Fireworks are now scheduled for 9:30! (Ski or Skate Reservations are required.)
  2. New Year’s Eve Countdown on Netflix – Countdowns, confetti, fireworks and more. Ring in the new year whenever you’d like — with all of your favorite characters!
  3. PEEPSFEST (r) – Family fun is the name of the game at PEEPSFEST®, the annual two-day New Year’s Eve festival celebrating the fun and excitement of the PEEPS® Brand at the iconic SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA. Each year, fans arrive from all over the country to enjoy family-friendly activities and marvel at the PEEPS® Chick Drop – a 4-feet, 9-inches tall, 400-pound lit PEEPS® Chick that descends on Dec. 31 to commemorate the beginning of an exciting new year. The live streaming of the drop will begin at 4:30pm on the 31st!
  4. Rapunzel’s New Year’s Eve Party – Get ready to let down your hair and say good riddance to 2020. Rapunzel is hosting this virtual Zoom party that includes an easy at-home craft, a dance party to the soundtrack of Tangled and a kick-off to the New Year with confetti, balloons and all of your at-home festive props. MORE INFO
  5. Ski Sugar – Due to weather, the New Year’s Eve Celebration will be Saturday, January 2, 2021.

    Celebrate the New Year at Sugar Mountain Resort with a performance by The Rockabilly’s on the Flying Mile slope-side deck from 4 – 6 p.m. (weather permitting) and a firework show at 5:45 p.m.

    Please respect face covering and physical distancing guidelines. If you cannot comply or feel sick please stay at home. Dates and details subject to change.

Deerfield Ridge’s 1st Annual Kids Gingerbread House Competition

We wanted to share this great competition in hopes that many of our High Country families will participate. Let the creativity begin!

Bring the Spirit of Christmas Past to your House

Do you want to bring Christmas cheer to someone’s house this year in Boone? This is such a special way to spread Christmas joy. Click here for more information and to register!

The Carolina Snowbelles to perform holiday show virtually, premiering December 12

Blowing Rock, NC [December 8, 2020] A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas returns this December 12, 2020 – January 4, 2021 with a “very virtual” rendition of the High Country’s newest holiday tradition. 

Spectacular changes are happening for The Carolina Snowbelles as they present an online show partnering with Arthur Rasco of Journey Light Creative, LLC. The 1-hour production features a brand new digitally engineered routine inspired by the late Busby Berkeley entitled TWILIGHT. Filmed with green screen technology, this icicle wonderland is made possible by the heartfelt imagination of each dancing Snowbelle who transports us into a magical world where ballerinas drop out of the cool snowy sky and urban dancers multiply by the droves. Finally, the routine culminates into dancing kaleidoscopic snowflakes. 

Enjoy Snowbelle favorites like SING, MERRY & BRIGHT and LIKE THIS choreographed by Cheryl Cutlip while embracing the true meaning of Christmas with SILENT NIGHT choreographed by Bradley Parquette and LITTLE DRUMMER BOY choreographed by Amanda Edge. Kicking their way through the streets, meet our talented Snowbelles up close and in person as they share sights and sounds of North Carolina’s High Country as well as personal heartwarming stories.

Tickets are on sale at Performances can be enjoyed December 12, 2020-January 4, 2021 and all proceeds support The Carolina Snowbelles, a scholarship program of The Project Dance Foundation, a 501-c-3 arts and education organization.   

“We anticipated returning to our home at the beautifully restored Appalachian Theatre of the High Country with additional performances in 2020 after sold out performances last year. Instead, we’ve all learned a new skill; dancing on film, “said Cheryl Cutlip, Rockette alumnus and director of The Carolina Snowbelles.

For a sneak peak of this year’s show enjoy this preview:  Watch Trailer

Project Dance Foundation, 276H Watauga Village Drive, Suite 139, Boone, NC 28607

Family-Friendly Christmas Activities Near the High Country

Christmas is a joyful time of year. As parades and Christmas tree lightings may be canceled in the High Country, we wanted to compose activities for families that were all within driving distance.

Tanglewood Festival of Lights – (Clemmons, NC) Festival of Lights is open nightly, Friday, November 13th, 2020 through Friday, January 1st, 2021 from 6PM to 11PM.

High Country Lights – (Galax, VA) High Country Lights is an animated light show featuring over one hundred thousand Christmas lights choreographed to your favorite sounds of the season on a low-power radio transmitter – 95.9FM. It’s hosted by Galax Visitor’s Center and Galax Parks and Recreation Department in Felts Park. The show can be seen nightly starting at 6:00 p.m, November 20, 2020 – January 3, 2021. It ends at 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday. Admission is free.

Speedway Christmas – (Concord, NC) Mark your calendars, grab your popcorn and get ready for a night at the movies at America’s Home for the Holidays. Open Nov. 21 through Jan. 17, Speedway Christmas presented by Count On Me NC will liven up the Southeast’s largest drive-thru

Pinnacle Speedway in Lights – (Bristol, TN) The region’s most dazzling holiday light show returns to Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway. The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights, Powered by TVA, kicks off its 24th season with more lights and a route that offers visitors the chance to take a lap around “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.” Holiday light seekers will circle the concrete oval as part of their festive drive and also may visit the Christmas Village, which returns to its popular infield location.

Tweetsie Christmas – (Blowing Rock, NC) Tweetsie Railroad will welcome guests for Tweetsie Christmas to celebrate the magical holiday season and end the year on a high-country note. Families are invited to make the breathtaking trip to the North Carolina mountains to commemorate their holiday traditions festively and safely.

Festival of Lights at Chetola – (Blowing Rock, NC) Close to 30,000 holiday illuminations light up Chetola beginning at dusk on Sunday, November 29, and running through the end of Blowing Rock Winterfest, January 28-31, 2021. As you drive or walk around Chetola Lake, view glittering ice skaters, a Nativity scene, a colorful train, Rudolph’s “Holiday Catch”, and much more.

Winter Wonderlights – (Greensboro, NC) Greensboro Science Center invites you to celebrate safely with loved ones at Winter Wonderlights. Featuring 12 magical realms of joyful sounds and shimmering lights such as dancing fountains, woodland wonders, a gingerbread barn, carousel dreams and more, this walk-thru experience is ticketed and timed to ensure proper social distancing. Check the calendar before buying tickets – most Mondays and Tuesdays are discounted, and you’ll find Santa and live music from the Greensboro Opera most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum – (Asheville, NC) Experience Asheville’s BRIGHTEST holiday tradition at Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum. This year, guests are invited to take a dreamy ride through the Arboretum’s enchanted forest and attend Winter Lights safely within their own vehicles. In light of COVID-19, the Arboretum has converted its popular event into a drive-thru show with per-car ticketing, allowing guests to navigate through a one-mile stretch of the Arboretum’s campus and see unique exhibits covered in thousands of holiday lights. As the Arboretum’s largest fundraising event of the year, proceeds generated from Winter Lights will directly support the Arboretum’s mission-driven programming.

The Polar Express – (Bryson City, NC) All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible roundtrip ride! Believe the magic this Holiday season!

Piedmont Winterfest – (Greensboro, NC) Bundle up and head to Piedmont Winterfest in downtown Greensboro, taking place at LeBauer Park. Glide down an ice slide and let your kiddos go wild in the snow play box. There’s even an ice rink, which lets you rock those figure eights. To really show off your moves though, lace up your skates on Friday and Saturday nights for dance music with synchronized disco lights at the rink.

Carowind’s Taste of the Season – (Charlotte, NC) Christmas event is an outdoor dining experience with a sleigh-full of family activities. Purchase a Tasting Card to choose among 30 samples of holiday sweets and savories. Feast your eyes on dazzling holiday décor, enjoy seasonal shows, and wrap up your Christmas shopping. What’s more, select family rides are open to deliver the ear-to-ear smiles and belly laughs you can always count on from Carowinds.

Barter at the Moonlite Drive In – (Abingdon, VA) Keep the tradition alive this holiday season by celebrating with your whole family at Barter Theatre at the Moonlite Drive In. These two classic Christmas shows are performing November 20th through December 23rd. Tickets are on sale now!

Christmas Town USA – (McAdenville, NC) Trees will be lit in the downtown area from the PHARR FAMILY YMCA on Main Street (N.C. Highway # 7)
to the SPRUCED GOOSE RESTAURANT on Wesleyan Drive (Near the lake)

Watauga County Parks and Recreation Drive-Thru Christmas Parade

Beech Mountain Christmas Parade and Festival

Tweetsie Railroad to Open for Tweetsie Christmas®

As a challenging year comes to an end, Tweetsie Railroad will welcome guests for Tweetsie Christmas to celebrate the magical holiday season and end the year on a high-country note. Families are invited to make the breathtaking trip to the North Carolina mountains to commemorate their holiday traditions festively and safely.

“We have missed our Guests so much this year,” said Cathy Robbins, director of marketing for Tweetsie. “Our typical season milestones, including Opening Day, Independence Day, Railroad Heritage Weekend and Ghost Train, came and went without us being able to open the park and celebrate with guests, so we’re very excited to end the year making merry memories as we light up the park and fire up our historic steam locomotive for Tweetsie Christmas.”

Tweetsie Christmas will open select nights beginning November 13 through December 31, opening at 5 p.m. The park will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Tweetsie Christmas tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at or by calling the ticket office at 877-TWEETSIE.

This year, each Golden Rail Season Pass holder will receive one free admission and train ride during Tweetsie Christmas. Additionally, any previously purchased 2020 General Admission or Day Out With Thomas ticket can be credited towards a Tweetsie Christmas ticket by calling the ticket office. With a limited number of tickets available each night and a reduced park capacity, advance tickets are required for the event. Admission is $44 for adults, $38 for children (age 3-12) and free for children two and under.  The train runs every 40 minutes beginning at 5:30 p.m.  

Each night guests can take a 20-minute train ride behind a historic steam locomotive on a 3-mile route lined with nearly one million Christmas lights, and enjoy the park’s many activities. Guests are advised to  dress warmly, because most of the event is outdoors.  They will also be able to tour Santa’s Gingerbread House and visit with Santa Claus.

Groups will be socially distanced, and a protective barrier will be between guests and Santa at all times. Families will be able to speak with and pose for a photo with Saint Nick, and children are encouraged to bring a letter to Santa to put in his mailbox.

“Tweetsie Christmas will be slightly different without our regular live holiday show or snow globes in order to keep guests safe and follow safety protocols, but it will still be a very holly, jolly experience,” said Robbins. “We hope everyone will make plans to visit the park to celebrate the holidays.”

Tweetsie Railroad is following all CDC and established guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19, including managing a reduced park capacity through a reservation system and requiring a mask or face covering to be worn by Staff and Guests over the age of 5 unless exempt under NC Executive Order 169. All safety measures are available for review at

About Tweetsie Railroad  

Tweetsie Railroad has been creating memories and offering family-friendly adventures since 1957. Located on U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, Tweetsie is situated in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Admission prices for Tweetsie Christmas are $44 for adults and $38 for children. For more information about Tweetsie Railroad, visit or call 877.TWEETSIE (877.898.3874). Tweetsie Railroad will open again on April 2, 2021.

Holiday and Winter Family Fun

Tis’ the season to be jolly! We know the weather is above average in Boone, but your family can still enjoy winter fun.

App Ski Mtn has announced a Christmas Day special. Christmas Day tickets are now available online and are discounted 50% off regular rates.

Please note that online sales end at 12 Noon on Christmas Day. Guests must purchase before this time to receive a special discount, and know that ticket supplies are limited.

The Appalachian Ski Patrol will be volunteering their time to help staff the ski area in order to raise funds for a new First Aid & Ski Patrol facility. The ski area will be donating ski ticket and rental receipts for that day towards this project.

The Appalachian Ice Arena will also be open on Christmas Day from Noon – 9pm. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE CHRISTMAS DAY TICKETS

Also, the Beech Mountain sledding hill is open for families!

Beech Mountain’s sledding hill, a wonderland of fun for children 12 and under, has opened for the winter season.

The sledding hill is normally open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays; and 1 to 5 p.m. on weekdays, depending on current weather conditions.

The free sled run is located next to the town’s visitors center and provides good sledding conditions with a combination of natural and man-made snow.

The sledding hill is operated by Beech Mountain Parks & Recreation Department daily throughout the winter (weather permitting) with safety personnel on duty. A loud speaker plays music and hot chocolate is available at nearby restaurants.

Plastic sleds are required. Families may bring their own, or they’re available for rent and purchase at nearby stores on the mountain.

The sledding hill is a great option for younger children who aren’t ready for skiing or snowboarding yet but still want to have fun in the snow.

And it’s not just the kids who love it. Parents like the heated restrooms and lobby in the adjacent visitors center, which offers complimentary Wi-Fi service. They’ve even been known to share a sled with the kids, sometimes for hours at a time.

Beech Mountain receives an average annual snowfall of 84.6 inches. And when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, powder is available from a snow gun purchased exclusively for the sledding hill.

The sledding hill stays open through late February or early March, depending on the weather.

Real-time sledding hill conditions are available by calling the visitors center toll-free at (800) 468-5506.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Boone’s Festive Friday and Christmas Tree Lighting

Living in Boone is so special. The small-town feel warms residents’ hearts big!

Join in the festive fun in downtown Boone on December 6, 2019, for December’s Festive First Friday to help herald in the holiday season. Here are the details of the evening. There will be fun for the entire family!

4:00 – 8:00 Santa Claus at the Mast Store

5:00 – 6:00 The Grinch at the Watauga Library

5:00 – 7:30 Activities at F.A.R.M. Café
-Face painting
-Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture activities

5:00 – 7:30 Treats at Town Hall
-Hot chocolate and cider
-Snacks and refreshments

5:00 – 7:30 Mrs. Claus at the Post Office
-Cookies and milk served
-Ornament craft for the post office Christmas tree
-Letters to Santa
-Food Truck: Betty’s Biscuits

5:00 – 8:00 Depot Street Closed (King to Howard)
-Games and performances
-6:00 – 7:00 – Meet and greet with the Grinch
-Food Truck: Doggin’ It 828

5:00 – 8:00 Howard Street Fun
-Horse-drawn carriage rides
-Marshmallow “snowball” fight

5:00 – 8:00 Across Downtown Boone
-Performances by the Carolina Snowbelles
-Performances by ASU’s Enharmonix a cappella

5:30 – 8:00 Jones House
5:30 – Appalachian Youth Chorale performs
5:50 – Women’s Chamber Singers perform
6:10 –WHS Honors Choir performs
6:30 – Solar Tree Lighting Ceremony with ASUSES
6:30 – 8:00 – Gallery reception – Rachael Van Dyke
-Food Truck: Cardinal Burger Wagon

6:00 – 9:00 Turchin Center Gallery Reception
-5:30 – Carolina Snowbelles perform

7:30 Appalachian Theatre Holiday Concert:
“The Gathering”

App Ski Mtn Sunday Night Special – $10

Take advantage of this great family frugal deal offered by App Ski Mtn.

Ski or Ride for only $10 on the first Sunday of each month (December 1, January 5, February 2, March 1)

Normal Sunday Night Special session is from 7:30 – 10 p.m., purchase online and get an extra hour FREE!

Purchase here.

Tweetsie Christmas Opens This Weekend!

It’s true. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the High Country. Celebrate this holiday season as Tweetsie Railroad transforms into a winter wonderland for Tweetsie Christmas. Enjoy a nighttime train ride among thousands of dazzling lights, Santa’s Gingerbread House, larger than life snowglobes to play in, a live Christmas Show, and more. Some lucky guests may even experience a train ride through the snow!

Here are the details for the 2019 holiday season:

• Seasonal sweet treats will include Christmas cookies,
s’mores (by the fire pit, of course) and other indulgences
from the Fudge Works
• Tweetsie Railroad’s Engine No. 12 – “Tweetsie” – will take
guests on a train ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains, during
which time they will be treated to a spectacular holiday light
• Tickets are sold for a designated night with a specific train ride
• 2019 Ticket Prices: $44 for adults, $38 for children (ages 3 to
12) and children 2 and under admitted free
• 2019 Schedule: Friday and Saturday nights November 22 –
December 28, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m

For more details, please visit Tweetsie Christmas.