Although we may be focused on fall, big box stores already have the fake trees and inflatable Santas out, reminding us that it may be time to start making arrangements for the holidays. What better place to gather with friends and family this season than in a cozy mountain home in beautiful Jackson County, NC?
Our small towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva, are located about an hour west of Asheville and 20 minutes east of Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. Here, you’ll enjoy the best of the NC Mountains without the heavy traffic.
Gift of a Getaway
Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of a blue ridge mountain escape with memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Jackson County offers a range of cozy boutique hotels, luxury resorts, vacation rentals, and cabin rentals so you’ll have no problem finding the perfect place for your needs.
Shopping & Dining in Dillsboro
Nestled along the Tuckasegee River, the charming artisan village of Dillsboro is a cozy escape from the city’s crowds. The holiday spirit is certainly Dillsboro’s forte with the iconic Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop located along Haywood Road. Nancy Tut’s sells Christmas decor year-round, and you can find the perfect ornament or decoration to help deck the halls. If you’re seeking the gift for that ‘person who has everything,’ how about a one-of-a-kind handmade craft? Dogwood Crafters is a co-op of over a hundred local artists where you’re sure to find an Appalachian craft that will bring a smile on Christmas Day.
Although this quaint railroad town has been long revered for its art scene, boutique inns, and proximity to the Tuckasegee River, a new vibe is on the horizon. In recent years, Dillsboro has become quite the culinary scene! Along the four square blocks that make up downtown, you’ll discover bites for every diet type and palate. One of America’s favorite BBQ restaurants, Haywood Smokehouse is a great place to enjoy some authentic Carolina BBQ with a wide variety of unique sauces, sides, and homemade desserts. Quirky Bird’s Treehouse & Bistro is new to the food scene and offers crafty creations and tasty vegan fare. Other options include the farm-to-table Forgers Canteen, River & Rails Tavern, and Boots Steakhouse. Make sure to check out Innovation Station for local craft beers and live events ‘on tap.’
Holiday Spirit in Sylva
Sylva is the holiday hub for adventure in Jackson County due to its central location and festive downtown vibes. Starting in November, this town brings on the charm of a Christmas town with festive decorations, and the Sylva Historic Courthouse decked out from top to bottom – holiday lights and all. Stop into a decorated storefront for the perfect holiday gift.
Located within a simple stroll, you’ll find everything you need for a day on the town. Start with breakfast from the new and popular Lucy in the Rye on Main Street or head up East Jackson Street to City Lights Café, a Sylva staple for decades. For the outdoorsy type, hit up Black Balsam Outdoors for all the gear you’ll need to hit the trails in Jackson County. If you’re searching for something else, no worries – Sylva’s shopping scene has a little bit of everything, including a rare find bookstore, a record store, antique stores, home decor, and more.
After a day full of shopping, it may be time to sip on some seasonal cheer. Downtown Sylva is the perfect place for a locally crafted beverage with four Ale Trail locations within a walkable distance. All of our breweries feature food and nonalcoholic beverages and are both kid and pet friendly. Grinch for Beer? We got you! Check out our crafty cocktail lounges or the Wine Bar and Cellar for sensational sips or warm up with coffee or hot cocoa from White Moon, the Farmhouse, or City Lights Café.
Elevated Christmas in Cashiers
As upscale as the elevation, Cashiers is a mountaintop village with some of the best-kept natural secrets in the region, including one of the tallest waterfalls, oldest mountains, and highest vertical cliffs east of the Mississippi. This mountain town knows how to put on a Christmastime celebration, and the town is a wonderful luxe option for a holiday getaway.
High Hampton is a world-class resort property with unparalleled food & beverage, amenities, including golf, hiking trails, and a private lake. Staying here is sure to delight.
Just outside of Cashiers, neighboring Sapphire Valley Resort is home to one of six ski resorts within North Carolina. The family and beginner-friendly slope opens on December 15 (cold weather permitting) with a state-of-the-art quad chair lift, gentle slopes, snow tubing, and an on-site ski school. When the snow lays on the ground, Sapphire Valley becomes a winter wonderland! Afterward, enjoy a bite to eat at Slope Side Tavern at the base of the mountain.
Holiday Events & Activities
Jackson County hosts several award-winning events throughout the holiday season.
Gobble On the Green Turkey Trot & 5k is one of the best ways to burn off that extra ‘stuffing.’ Runners gather at the Cashiers Village Green and gobble for the gold! The race takes place on Thanksgiving Day from 9 – 11 am.
Christmas & More
Mountain Artisans Hard Candy Christmas showcases over a hundred regional artists at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center in Cullowhee. This event takes place over two days, November 25 & 26, and entry is $5.
Santa on the Green, Cashiers Christmas Tree Lighting, and Mistletoe Market kicks off on November 25 from 2 – 6:30 pm with the Tree lighting at the Village Green in Cashiers. This event runs from Thanksgiving weekend until after New Year’s, with vibrant light displays throughout the Village Green.
Sylva Tree Lighting is on December 2 at 7 pm. Experience the hoy of the iconic town centerpiece as it’s brought to life with twinkling lights.
Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries runs on December 2 & 3, and 9 & 10, 2022, from 5 – 7 pm. Over 2,500 luminaries and Christmas lights line the town as you take a step back in time with joy, laughter, and song as carolers sing live music. Shop owners give away free hot chocolate and cider, and children will enjoy a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Cashiers Christmas Parade takes place on December 3 from 3 – 4 pm. This one-mile parade route features festive floats and is a great way to kick off the Christmas season.
Holiday Fireworks in Sylva makes the season both merry and bright – literally! This light show will spark up some holiday cheer behind the winter lights display in downtown Sylva on December 16 from 7:30 – 8:30 pm.
The Glenville/Cashiers area is known as one of the best places in the country to grow the Frasier Fir – better known as the perfect Christmas Tree. Finding the perfect fir has become a family tradition for many locals and visitors alike at Tom Sawyer Tree Farm, Pressley Tree Farm, and Bear Valley Tree Farm, and with limited supply this year, we recommend taking an earlier trip than usual or calling ahead to reserve your tree in advance.
Reconnection & Relaxation
The time to answer the call for a stress-free getaway has never been more important. Reconnect and relax in the mountains of Western North Carolina by booking a spa day at one of our mountain spas, each offering treatments to help you unplug and unwind. Afterward, curl up with a good book by the fireplace.
Book Your Holiday Getaway
Okay, so now you’re convinced – you and your loved ones need a Christmas vacation to the mountains! The good news is that it’s closer and more affordable than you think. Jackson County is less than a day’s drive for over half of the U.S. population. Book your stay at one of our cozy boutique hotels, luxury resorts, vacation rentals, or cabins. See our full lodging list here and check out our ‘Trip Planner’ to begin planning your getaway today.