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Renew, Recharge, Rediscover: 18 ways to celebrate 2018 in Jackson County

This year, bring in 2018 amongst the picturesque mountain towns of Jackson County, NC. where you can rejuvenate your spirit with a hike to soaring summits, toast to the new year at one of Jackson County’s craft breweries, sneak away to a romantic mountain chalet, reconnect with family on the ski slope, or party through the night with dancing and fireworks. Craft your perfect New Year’s itinerary in the N.C. mountains of Jackson County with our 18 ways to celebrate 2018.

18. Relax and unwind with a spa retreat in Jackson County. With five distinct spa settings and experiences to choose from, book a New Year’s session to revitalize both mind and body for a positive start to 2018.

17. Reach new heights this New Year’s with the exhilarating Vordach Zip Line Experience in Sapphire, N.C. The winter zip line tour serves up 14 elements, including tree canopy flights, valley traverses, ski slope views and a waterfall. Suitable for ages 8 and up.

16. Wine and dine aboard the scenic Great Smoky Mountains Railroad from the plush seating of a steam-powered, first-class dining car. The “Uncorked” rail experience on New Year’s Eve features hand-selected pairings from Lees at the Depot in Dillsboro, with a wine narrator sharing the history and nuances of each pour.

15. Go big with a New Year’s Eve party at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. Dance the night away to the contagious vibe of top-rated cover bands Atlantic City Boy and Satellite BLVD, with a special appearance by the explosive String Angels trio. After a celebratory midnight balloon drop, DJ Ease will keep the tunes spinning into the early morning.

14. Ring in the New Year with a firework display in downtown Cherokee. Fireworks are shot off from the hill above the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds. For the best view, head up the hill, or ask a local about other prime spots to catch the display. The best part: the fireworks are held at 10 p.m., leaving plenty of time to settle in to your final destination for the big count down.

13. Renew your sense of adventure at Ski Sapphire Valley. Learn to ski or snowboard with lessons, or hit the slopes on your own. For a fail-proof method of getting down the mountain, try snow tubing at Frozen Falls Tube Park.

12. Close out 2017 with a full stomach. With New Year’s Eve falling on a Sunday, start celebrating early with a delicious brunch. Try City Lights Café, Guadalupe Cafe and Mad Batter in downtown Sylva, N.C. On the Cashiers plateau, try the Zookeeper’s Bistro. All offer meals to remember!

11. Embark on a quest for the perfect bottle of bubbly for your New Year’s Eve countdown. Peruse curated selections and test the knowledge of Jackson’s top purveyors. Check out Papou’s Wine Shop in Sylva. Papou’s has a bubbles tasting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29.

10. Start 2018 off on the right foot with a New Year’s Day hike at Sylva’s Pinnacle Park. There’s nothing quite like the accomplishment of trekking 3.5 miles up a trail to be rewarded with a 270-degree view (be sure to pack a healthy, delicious lunch to enjoy with the view!)

9. Embrace a new, healthy you in 2018 with a New Year’s Day 5K or half-mile fun run. Always a popular local tradition, the fun run kick-starts the year with a beautiful route ringed by mountains in Cullowhee, N.C. The 5K starts at 11 a.m., followed by a half-mile fun run ideal for families at 11:45 a.m. Medals are awarded to winners in each age class, and ribbons will go to all participants 12 and under.

8. Explore the nightlife scene in downtown Sylva, N.C., for some traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. Hit the Jackson County brewery scene and toss back a frosty craft brew at Innovations Brewery and Balsam Falls Brewing Co., live music will be on tap as well. Sample the signature craft libations at Cut Cocktail and The Paper Mill.

7. Elevate your New Years’ experience with classy libations and culinary fare on the Cashiers plateau. Try upscale dining at Winslow’s Hideaway or The Orchard in Cashiers, linger over wine and spirits at the Cork and Barrel Lounge or Mica’s Restaurant and Pub in Sapphire, N.C. For a lively send off to 2017, catch the New Year’s Eve Champagne Jam at The Ugly Dog Pub in Cashiers.

6. It’s last call for holiday movies of 2017. If you haven’t seen it, check out Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri, in the town that served as its backdrop. Three Billboards has already racked up six Golden Globe nominations and four Screen Actor Guild nods. Check movie schedules for the classic hometown Quin theater in Sylva, N.C.

5. The mountain setting of Jackson County provides the perfect atmosphere to disconnect and reconnect. Power down the devices and plug into the moment by spending quality time with your loved ones. Throwback to a time before handheld technology.

4. Relive the magic of Christmas with a journey to the North Pole on New Year’s Eve. The storybook tale of the Polar Express is brought to life on a themed evening excursion with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Belt out carols, sip hot cocoa, wear your PJs and get ready to meet Santa who climbs aboard the train when it arrives in the land of the elves.

3. It’s the best of both worlds at Mad Batter Food and Film in downtown Sylva, N.C. The eclectic upscale pub menu — think bacon and goat cheese balsamic flatbread — is paired with free big-screen movies three nights a week. Catch Victoria and Abdul, Stronger or the family-friendly Lego Ninjago over New Year’s weekend.

2. Draw inspiration from the mountains as you turn over a new leaf for 2018. Take in the sweeping views, breathe in the crisp mountain air and refresh your outlook on the coming year with an escape to our great outdoors. From relaxing to strenuous challenges, we’ve got winter hikes for every mood and skill level. Check them out here.

1. Escape the daily grind and rekindle the romance as you embark on a new year together. Relax in a hot tub or cuddle by the fire with the mountains as your backdrop. Jackson County has lodging for every taste, including mountain villas, resorts, bed and breakfasts and affordable hotels.

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