Summer Tennis Camp Returns to Chetola

Have you heard the news? RDUTennis is back at Chetola Resort this summer. RDUTennis is the largest tennis management company in the Tarheel State. They offer clinics and camps throughout North Carolina, Central Florida, and Washington, D.C.

Camp will be offered to novice level children from the ages of 4-12. Basic drills and games will be offered each day to make this a very “non-competitive” approach to the game.

Check-in at Chetola courts – 9:00am
Tennis drills/games – 9:00am-10:30am
Snack & rest break/playground – 10:30-11:15am
Tennis drills/games – 11:30-12:30
Parent pick-up – 12:30 at the courts

You may enroll for the whole week or drop-in daily. Contact owner, Brian Rosenthal with any questions at

Weekly fee is $170
Daily drop-off fee is $45

The link to register and view camp dates is here:

Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru Experience Coming to zMAX Dragway, Feb. 12-21

More than 70 photorealistic dinosaurs are ready to return from extinction to invade Charlotte. The Jurassic Quest Drive Thru, the nation’s largest touring dinosaur exhibit, will migrate to the Charlotte Motor Speedway February 12-21 after welcoming legions of guests to sold-out weekends across the country.

The Jurassic Quest Drive Thru will transform the outdoor parking area of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s zMAX Dragway into an interactive drive-thru experience, featuring more than 70 moving and life-like dinosaurs, as well as our 50 foot-long Megalodon! Jurassic Quest’s herd of animatronic dinos are displayed in realistic scenes that allow guests to experience them roaring and moving as they drive through the tour. Although the drive-thru experience means visitors will stay safe inside their vehicle, they’ll still need to avoid the swinging tail of our 50 foot-long Spinosaurus!

More than 300,000 vehicles and 1.5 million people have attended the Jurassic Quest Drive Thru since the national tour launched in mid-July with stops in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Houston and more.

The Jurassic Quest Drive Thru is the only place to encounter some of the largest dinosaurs to ever roam the Earth, and some of the eeriest marine creatures to ever lurk the ocean’s depths, from the safety of your family vehicle. Guests will be among the first in the nation to go on a quest with our adventure-for-all-ages online audio tour that will lead them through the thrilling dinosaur safari. The audio tour is available in English and Spanish, and special accommodations can be made for the hearing impaired. For $49 per vehicle (8 people or less), your dino crew can time-travel and enjoy about an hour-long ride back in time.

Jurassic Quest worked in collaboration with leading paleontologists to ensure each dinosaur was painstakingly replicated in every detail, depicting how we understand dinosaurs looked and moved!

In addition to the life-like dinosaur exhibits, there will be opportunities to visit with our one-of-a-kind baby dinosaurs and our team of dino trainers as well as the chance to capture the moment with a safari-style photo of your vehicle and family transported back in time via a Jurassic setting complete with a dinosaur backdrop. All attendees will leave with the same bragging rights, “We Survived Jurassic Quest 2021!” One photo per family is included with ticket purchase.

Designed to be thrilling but not scary for our littlest adventurers, big or small, young or old, guests of Jurassic Quest have a dino-mite time!


Jurassic Quest takes extra precautionary measures to provide a clean and safe event and operates under COVID-19 safety protocols in accordance with county, state and CDC guidelines. Guests are to remain in vehicles and to wear masks in the event they exit the vehicle in allowed areas. Social distancing rules are requested of all guests and maintained by Jurassic Quest crew. We sanitize equipment, dinosaurs and workstations frequently and thoroughly throughout the entirety of the event. Our employees apply hand sanitizer and wash hands regularly throughout each day, in addition to wearing masks. Guest safety and enjoyment is our top priority.


Jurassic Quest Drive Thru adventurers will need to buy tickets in advance online at Tickets are $49 per vehicle and include a 100% ticket guarantee that in the event of a show cancellation or postponement for any reason, ticket purchases will be automatically refunded for the full purchase amount. Guests must travel through the drive-thru in the comfort of their own vehicle – no rentals or golf carts will be provided, and walkers are not allowed. To ensure participant safety, all guests must ride inside their vehicles (yes, pets inside vehicles are allowed), no riders in truck beds, however. Trailers are also not allowed – we’re worried they might tempt the hungry dinos too much! Oversized vehicles and vehicles with 9 or more riders are permitted but will need to contact Customer Service,, for pricing and scheduling. A full list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found online at

Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru

Tickets available online

Cost for entry:
$49 per vehicle

Charlotte Motor Speedway (zMAX Dragway – 6570 Bruton Smith Blvd Concord, NC 28027)

February 12-21, 2021 (closed Monday & Tuesday, February 15-16)

Friday, February 12: 11 am – 8 pm
Saturday, February 13: 9 am – 9 pm
Sunday, February 14: 9 am – 8 pm
Monday and Tuesday, February 15-16: Closed
Wednesday and Thursday, February 17-18: 1 pm – 8 pm
Friday, February 19: 9 am – 8 pm
Saturday, February 20: 9am – 9 pm
Sunday, February 21: 9 am – 8 pm

Currently touring as a Drive-Thru only. The largest and most realistic dinosaur exhibition in North America. Now with new animatronic water dwellers, Jurassic Quest is the only dinosaur event that has up to 100 true to life-sized dinosaur replicas from the very small, to the gigantic, to those found under the sea. Guests will witness their favorite dinosaurs move, roar and roam and have the chance to interact with baby dinosaurs and adolescent dinosaurs, including the T. Rex, Spinosaurus, Triceratops and many others. With the addition of Ancient Oceans, guests will also be able to “swim” with our 50 foot long, prehistoric Megalodon!


Everything comes bigger in Texas, and Houston-based Jurassic Quest has been mounting epic dinosaur experiences since 2014, treating millions of people around the world to an as-close-as-you-can-get look at the giants that ruled the Earth and sea millions of years ago. Developed in hand with leading paleontologists, Jurassic Quest dinos featuring realistic movement and sound have brought more than 1.5 million fans a safe family adventure option via new drive-thru experiences. For more information and to buy tickets visit

Deals on Snow Days at Area Ski Resorts for Students and Teachers

When school closes and you have the proper transportation, you may want to take advantage of the great deals at the area ski resorts.

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Appalachian Ski Mtn. offers special Snow Day rates to students, teachers and staff of all public and private preschools, elementary schools, and high schools when schools are canceled or released early due to snow or inclement weather. Snow Day rates apply to schools in Watauga County and the following adjacent counties: Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Johnson (TN), and Wilkes.

Use code SNOWDAY2020 to activate this special rate for a Flex Ticket, or LOCALSNOW2020 to activate the 9am-5pm ticket on our Online Reservations Platform. Pricing will be reflected on final cart review page of checkout.

 Ski Ticket (9am – 5pm) — $8
8-Hour Flex Ticket  – $10
Ski Rental Package*  — $6
Shape Ski Rental Package*— $10
Standard Snowboard Rental Package*— $15
Burton Learn-To-Ride Snowboard Package*— $18
Ice Skating Package*— $10

If school is rescheduled for Saturday attendance or rescheduled on a Holiday, and canceled due to snow, Snow Day rates do not apply. Snow Day rates apply to tickets and equipment rental sold between 8:30am and 4:00pm. Snow Day rates are not sold for night sessions.

College students are only eligible for the Regional Snow Day Flex Ticket when classes are cancelled for winter weather. Regular rental rates apply to college students.

Students should present a report card or other school ID from one of the listed counties. Teachers and Staff should present a pay stub or other employment identification. Home-school students may present a home-school authorization letter from the NC Department of Non-Public Education along with a parent’s driver’s license confirming the specific county residency. Home-school teachers do not qualify for Snow Day rates.

*Package includes helmet

Sugar Mountain Resort 

Special pricing available to K-12 students and teachers on days that school is cancelled due to winter weather. Pricing available to Ashe, Avery, Mitchell & Watauga counties in North Carolina and Carter & Johnson counties in Tennessee.

College students do not qualify for this special pricing but should refer to the College Discounts page for applicable discounts that may be available for them.

K-12 Student and Teacher Snow Day Pricing
Full Day or Half Slope/Lift Ticket 17
Ski Rentals 10
Snowboard Rentals 21 (deposit required)
Sugar Bear Ski School 58 (Full Day) or 45 (Half Day)
Polar Bear Snowboard School 96 (Full Day) or 58 (Half Day)
Ice Skating 10

Beech Mountain Youth Sledding Hill Provides Free Winter Fun

Are you looking for frugal winter fun for the family? We have a wonderful opportunity for you that is only a short drive outside of Boone!

Photo credit:

The popular youth sledding hill in Beech Mountain is open daily, weather permitting, through early March. The hill provides free sledding for children 12 and under.

Sledding conditions are usually favorable thanks to Beech Mountain’s average annual snowfall of nearly 90 inches, plus a snow gun for making the white stuff when Mother Nature isn’t.

The sledding hill is located next to the Visitor Center at 403 Beech Mountain Parkway in the heart of Beech Mountain. Hours of operation are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and select holidays.

It’s operated by the Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department with safety personnel on duty. Plastic sleds are required. Folks may bring their own, or they are available for rent or purchase at three stores within walking distance of the sledding hill.

Parking is available across the street near the Brick Oven Pizzeria (which serves hot chocolate), while Wi-FI and warm restrooms are available in the Visitor Center. People are encouraged to call (800) 468-5506 to receive live updates on sledding conditions.

“We provide real-time updates from the sledding hill,” says Beech Mountain tourism director Kate Gavenus. “All we have to do is look out the window.”

Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sledding hills are operating with new restrictions in place. For the 2020/2021 sled season, there is a limited capacity of 50 persons for each of the hills, including sledders, spectators and staff. Social distancing measures and masks are also mandatory for all users.

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

High Country 2020 Fall Family Fun

Can you believe that fall is just around the corner? We want to share ways you can have fun this fall. Please keep checking back as we will add to this post as we receive information.

Families love a good corn maze and pumpkin patch!

New River Corn Maze – They are opening the weekend of September 19.

Days and Hours: Friday and Saturday 10 am until dark and Sunday 1 pm until dark. Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are not operating the ride this year or selling drinks and snacks. They encourage families to bring picnic blankets as well as their own snacks and drinks for optimum health safety and comfort.

Address: 556 Laurel Gap Ridge Rd, Boone, NC 28607


Watauga Parks and Recreation – Trunk-or-treat is happening Thursday, October 29th from 5-7 p.m. This is a drive thru ONLY event for trick-or-treaters. The neighborhood will be set up in the new Watauga Community Recreation Center parking lot. RAIN OR SHINE EVENT.


Beech Mountain’s Halloween Party and Trail or Treat – October 30th 6pm ($5)
Buckeye Recreation Center, Beech Mountain
Zombies are everywhere! Stock up on candy from the trail or treat and then head out on the haunted trail.


West Jefferson Drive Thru Trick or Treat – October 31st 3-5pm
Enter off Second Ave to continue down the backstreet
Handing out prepacked bags.


Drive Thru Halloween @ The Playhouse – Drive Thru Halloween at The Children’s Playhouse will be held from 4:00 pm to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 31st. This is free but you must register to participate. The Playhouse will be handing out treat bags via a pumpkin chute off of our porch. The bags will contain a simple craft and individually wrapped chocolate and cookies. The bags will have been packed and sealed for several days prior to Halloween.

Visit The Children’s Playhouse to learn more about the play kits they are offering families.


Howard’s Creek Church Trunk or Treat on October 31st (4-6 pm)

Address: 240 Howard’s Creek Rd, Boone, NC 28607


Apple Hill Farm – Reservations are required. The tour is generally 45 to 60 minutes in length and is a guided walking tour. The tour is all outdoors, so come dressed for the weather. Note that this is a real working fiber farm! Your tour will be an educational tour where you learn about the animals who live and play at Apple Hill Farm. Most of the animals are very friendly, but they are not a petting zoo and let the animals choose if they will come over to interact with the tour or not.


Neighborhood and Community Fall Fun Ideas

Maria Bailey, CEO of BSM Media, shares creative ideas that families can enjoy in their neighborhoods this year.

Wagon parades and costume sidewalk shows will lead the way as new Halloween celebrations this year. 

Moms are innovative and social distancing is no challenge for their creativity in making memories for their children.  Radio Flyer and Little Tikes can expect to see spikes in sales as moms turn their wagons into Pinterest-worthy costume extensions with their children comfortably seated inside.  Ask yourself how your brand can fill those wagons with treats?

Drive-by trick or treating and porch treat drops will replace door to door trick or treating for 2020.

Drive-by trick or treating and porch treat drops will replace door to door trick or treating for 2020. Forty-seven percent of moms surveyed say they will participate in drive-by trick or treating if today’s conditions persist in October. Smart brands like Party City are on trend now offering car decorations, door drop favors and yard decorations that support these new celebrations.

Booing will be the most used verb of the 2020 Halloween season. 

Not sure what “booing” is? Don’t worry, we won’t leave you in the dark.  Booing is the act of leaving treats or decorations at the home of a neighbor with no indication of where they came from.  The surprise is fun and leaves friends wondering “who is the ghost who left his mark?” This is great news for home décor, snack foods and small toy brands.  Booing is an opportunity for incremental sales during the preholiday season.

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.

Beech Mountain Offers Discounted Weekday Season Pass

Can you believe that ski season is just around the corner? We have exciting news regarding a weekday season pass at Beech Mountain Resort.

Photo Credit: Beech Mountain Resort

Beech Mountain Resort season pass sale starts on October 12, 2020.

Skip the crowd and enjoy unlimited skiing during the week. A weekday season pass is valid Monday through Friday non-holiday. This pass is not valid December 14, 2020 through January 1, 2021.

Adults (13-64)- $400

Juniors (5-12)-$300

Seniors (65-69)-$300

Active Military and immediate family-$300

College Students (with valid 2020-2021 College ID)- $300

Local Student and Faculty/Staff Pass: $225

The local student and faculty/staff pass is valid for all Lees-McRae College, Appalachian State University, Watauga and Avery County Schools students, faculty, and staff.

Purchase your season pass by visiting Beech Mountain Resort’s website.

Drive-in at Valle Crucis Fairgrounds

The Hunger and Health Coalition (HHC) is Watauga County’s biggest Food Pantry and only Free Pharmacy! They provide services so that no one in our community needs to make the choice between affording their medication or affording to eat. They provide quality treatment for individuals with low income and provide food and other necessities to help our neighbors in need get a leg up.

HHC is hosting a family-friendly Drive-in Fundraiser at the Valle Crucis Fairgrounds. Let’s help them make this fundraiser a huge success!

Find tickets on Facebook here: Beetlejuice |  Hocus Pocus

Community Music School Launches New Pay What You Can Model

Appalachian State’s Community Music School is excited to offer a new Pay What You Can model for its group classes, and financial assistance is available for private lessons. They are committed to making music accessible for ALL!

Course Offerings (Visit the website for more details):
Guitar (private and group classes)
Ukulele (private and group classes)
Discover Music (Infant to age 3)
Let’s Play Piano! (group piano class separated by age group)
Vocal Academy (high school program for motivated high school vocalists)
Youth Orchestra
Appalachian Youth Chorale
Hit Maker (middle and high school program for those interested in composing their own music on-line)

Registration is Now Open! For more information please go to our website: or contact Dr. Nicole Sonbert:

The Community Music School is a non-profit organization that proudly serves Boone and the surrounding communities by making the musical arts accessible for people of all ages and backgrounds. We offer private music lessons, classes, ensembles, and community events. We invite you to learn more about our programs and events!