Tis’ the Season in Jackson County
From Thanksgiving to New Years, Jackson County goes big on celebrating the holidays in its towns across the county. From holiday festivals, arts and crafts shows, to Christmas parades and choose-and-cut Christmas trees, Jackson County finds a way to bring holiday cheer to all.
Where to Be Festive
In Cashiers, visitors to Cashiers Crossroads can enjoy twinkling lights, the Village Green tree lighting, holiday music, s’mores and more—including a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus during the Festival of Trees (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.) Visitors can also head to the north end of the county for the Hard Candy Christmas Show (November 25-26) in Cullowhee, where more than 100 vendors sell Christmas trees, crafts, holiday gifts and more.
One of the most beloved small-town celebrations is Dillsboro’s Lights and Luminaries (December 2, 3, 9 and 10), that takes place the first two weekends in December. The streets are lined with 2,500 lights and luminaries, transporting festival-goers to a winter wonderland. Here, shops stay open late and hand out treats like Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, carolers sing in the streets, and visitors can take horse and buggy rides.
Visitors to Jackson County can make the short trip to Bryson City and hop onboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s limited holiday train ride, The Polar Express. Ride to and from the North Pole on a 1.5-hour train ride, and listen to the story of The Polar Express, all while sipping hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols.
Both Cashiers and Sylva host festive Christmas parades in early December to welcome the winter season. The Cashiers Christmas Parade (December 10) starts at The Village Green and features more than 75 floats, marchers, musicians, vintage cars, fire engines, animals, and more. On the north end of the county, the Sylva Christmas Parade (December 3) is themed each year, and this year floats will be decorated for “A Cinema Christmas.” The parade strolls right through Sylva’s iconic Main Street.
For a seasonal sweet treat, indulge in a holiday pie from Cream & Flutter in Cashiers. Choose from a made-from-scratch pumpkin, French apple, blueberry, bourbon pecan or chocolate pecan pie. Pre-orders are available for Thanksgiving or holiday celebrations. Pies are $35 and includes free gift wrapping.
Where to Choose and Cut Christmas Trees
For those seeking that special Christmas tree, Jackson County is the place to choose and cut their own. Jackson County is home to the southern-most natural stand of Fraser fir in the world. Below are a few spots, many family-owned, where visitors can choose and cut their own Christmas tree.
Tom Sawyer Tree Farm and its Elf Village offer 80 acres of Fraser Firs. Cut one of the trees, with sizes ranging from three to 12 feet in height. After finding the perfect Christmas tree, visit the elf-sized collection of houses in the Elf Village, where kids can make crafts, visit Santa Claus, write and mail letters to Santa, hear holiday stories, roast s’mores and even take horse and carriage rides.
Owner Jerry McAbee has been growing his Fraser firs for more than 30 years, and his Masters in Forestry has led Hutch’s Mountain Trees to a growing forest of 200,000 firs in the ground. All trees are grown at or above 3,800 feet in Glenville, in the mountains of Western North Carolina. At Buck Knob Farm, choose and cut firs at heights from five to 10 feet tall. A few other tree farms worth the visit include Grandy Mountain Farm, Moss Tree Farm, Pressley Tree Farm, Burrell Family Tree Farm and Long Hollow Tree Farm. Find more information on JacksonCountyTrees.com.
Where to Stay
A winter stay at Apple Dumplin’ Getaway Cottage is only $99 per night. Those who stay three nights, get a fourth night free from December 1 through 31. Stay on Christmas and Santa comes to visit the kids with a special goodie bag, or he can even deliver your gifts. Guests each receive a complimentary beverage basket and fresh baked muffins or pumpkin bread upon arrival.
At Mountain Brook Lodge and Cottages, stay any time from December 23 through January 2 in one of the tranquil, fireplace cottages nestled in the Smoky Mountains. Each morning, guests enjoy a continental breakfast. On New Year’s Eve, the lodge hosts a gathering with local craft beer, champagne at midnight, snacks and s’mores, all while watching the Times Square ball drop on television. This retreat is dog-friendly, so bring the whole family.
A two-night stay at The Orchard Guest Cottage includes $50 credit towards dinner at The Orchard Restaurant, or stay for three nights stay for the price of two nights. The one-bedroom, one bath cottage is a romantic haven in Cashiers, featuring a fireplace, flat screen television, screened porch and is walking distance to The Orchard Restaurant. Rates start at $149 per night.
Stay with the entire family at MelbyMonte Lodge, a six-bedroom lodge with an open floor plan that sleeps 16. Located in between Highlands and Cashiers, North Carolina, the backyard is in the Nantahala National Forest and includes a fire pit and a stunning view from the deck. Weekly rentals are $1,900.
Find the perfect lodging option for your trip to the Mountains at DiscoverJacksonNC.com/lodging.
About Jackson County, NC:
Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire are the distinct locales that make up Western North Carolina’s Jackson County. Each of these Blue Ridge Mountain towns provide natural beauty that invites visitors to experience the North Carolina Mountains. Jackson County is also home to the nation’s first and only fly fishing trail, The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail. The majestic mountains harbor miles of hiking trails and waterfalls while charming downtowns are known for shopping, dining, culture, and hometown atmosphere. For more information visit, www.DiscoverJacksonNC.com.
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