Spend Christmas in these Winter Destinations

The end of the year always serves as a wonderful time to visit with loved ones in a calming environment to look around, take stock, and cherish the experiences from the past year while setting your sights on the new dawn right around the corner. So when it comes to the ideal Christmas vacation setting, who says you have to open gifts at home? Thanks to this article from Travel + Leisure that suggests the fifteen most cheerful destinations to spend Christmas this year, it’s never been more tempting to spend the happiest time of  year in these winter destinations.

As always, recent COVID-19 surges may have caused new government restrictions, rules, and safety measures to have been set. Because of this, it’s always suggested that those who wish to travel check local guidelines, consult CDC recommendations, and take personal health conditions into account before traveling. This way you’re more prepared to enjoy your trip while remaining as safe and responsible as possible in these unprecedented times.

Highlands, North Carolina

Consider spending your Christmas morning in Appalachian amazement in the charming town of Highlands, North Carolina. This idyllic winter destination, modern-day setting is so humble and quaint that residents and visitors alike compare its environment to a Nancy Meyers film or Lifetime Christmas special. For over a century, Highlands has been suggested to visitors as being the perfect setting for a “break from it all,” as it’s colloquially known as a mountain respite. Located in one of the few temperate rain forests of North America, the mountain resort town is located only ten miles from Cashiers, North Carolina, and is surrounded by the main attraction that is Nantahala National Forest.  Spend your Christmas in a mountain cabin on the outskirts of this forest or nestled deep within, either way you’re sure to enjoy your time spent among nature.

Inside the town proper, you’ll find many shops, experiences, and community-laden amenities to keep you entertained in between the holiday’s festivities. Downtown Highlands is often called a “postcard” for just how perfectly situated and pictured its various buildings and features are laid out, such as the historic building that houses a full European-style spa. Other spots nearby that are worth a dedicated visit are the Bridal Veil Falls, located on the Waterfall Byway, the historic High Hampton Resort, and the unforgettable American Museum of Cut and Engraved Glass. No matter where you go in this comfortably charming little hamlet, you’re sure to be delighted by it’s size and attention to detail this holiday season.

Stowe, Vermont

For those who were raised on Christmas movies and other similar media, it’s hard to make it through the holiday season with an abundant absence of snow in the background. So, if you’re looking to celebrate a snowy white Christmas, then look no further than the East Coast ski paradise of Stowe, Vermont for your winter destination. Located at the foot of Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield, Stowe is quite literally a winter wonderland that is known not only for its world-renowned trails and ski slopes, but it’s also famous for its accompanying town as well.  Once you make your way to Stowe, it’s hard to believe that you’re not literally stepping foot into a snowglobe, as the buildings, trees, and grounds are often blanketed with thick layers of smooth snowfall.

Be sure to spend Christmas in the style of a storybook by reserving a horse-drawn carriage ride for you and your loved ones to see the sprinkled pine trees. Alternatively, take a trip down Main Street for nightly winter activities that are sure to make ever-lasting memories. If you’re in the mood for adventure, you can host your holiday celebrations and then cap it off by planning an unforgettable day on the slopes, or you can simply spend the time quietly around the fire of the Stowe Mountain Ski Resort. No matter the reason, there’s no question that Winter is the perfect season to see all of the wonders that Stowe, Virginia has to offer.

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Where to Stay in Charmingly Rustic North Carolina

When the autumn season is upon us, many people tend to flock to the East Coast, particularly to the Highlands-Cashiers region of North Carolina. These travelers are known to do this to experience the breathtaking fall foliage and cascading waterfalls of the region. So, if you’re also looking to partake in these unforgettable fall treasures, then this article from Travel + Leisure will help you find the perfectly charming luxury hotels to rest in after a long day in North Carolina.

North Carolina tourism often cites the city of Asheville as the most popular and most-visited spot in the state, but the Highlands-Cashiers plateau is the region’s hidden gem that’s home to comfort, beauty, and spectacle. This region is generally compared to the East Coast’s equivalent to Aspen, Colorado. This is mostly because it’s the perfect location in Appalachia for those wishing to partake in the outdoors activity or the quaint, cultured outing. Though your cell reception and internet service may dip in and out because of the elevation, you’ll always be around something exciting and inviting, so take a look at the following accommodations for the next time your need to book a trip to North Carolina’s highlands-cashiers plateau, where your can unwind, unplug, and relax.

High Hampton

This is a masterful, recently-renovated lodge that is utterly perfect for those large reunions, get-togethers, and/or family gatherings. Located just two miles away from the town center of Cashiers, North Carolina, this massive woodland lodge is perfectly situated near the Nantahala National Forest, and it’s quite honestly the perfect resort for your next big trip. While large and spacious, High Hampton is often heralded by reviewers for how it retains an atmosphere of coziness despite the ample space found inside. The welcoming resort makes it the ideal ”home base” for a variety of outdoor excursions that you make scheduled such as swimming, boating, golfing, and so much more. Stop by after a hearty day of outdoor adventure with a meal around the grand, main dining room that holds an atmosphere, not unlike a year-round, charming Thanksgiving dinner.

The design team behind the award-winning Blackberry Farm are the ones responsible for High House’s 2020 renovation. They were successful in not only bringing new, rustic life into the hallowed halls and suites of the resort lodge, but they also took genuine care to properly maintain and secure the property’s storied past. Book a stay in this literal autumnal lodge straight out of a storybook and allow yourself to take part in a long-standing tradition of travelers wanting to escape in style. In fact, you can read about the previous guests’ stays by perusing their hand-written accounts in the cataloged ledgers found lining the literal walls of the main inn in the form of storytelling wallpaper. This location is truly magical and must be seen to be believed.

Highlander Mountain House

If your traveling party is lighter than that of the above residence, then take a look at this boutique hotel located in Highlands, North Carolina, just in the past two years. Opening up as recently as 2019, the Highlander Mountain House, or HMH, is a perfect pairing of Appalachian comfort and accommodations akin to the English countryside. Quaint, charming, and warm are adjectives that attempt to accurately describe the sensation that you’ll breathe in once you’re rocking along in the porch’s Adirondack chair while enjoying a dawn-laden cup of chicory coffee. This hotel is truly a welcomed salve to your mental health as it’s slow-paced as any proper trip in the Carolinas should be. The majestic view of the Western North Carolina Mountains that are viewable from the porch and rooms of the property’s Mountain House and Bunk House are just the confirmation you’ll need to know that you made the right choice. You’ll find five district room types that each offer a different vibe or atmosphere to your stay, but it’s the conversations that you’ll find yourself partaking in once setting foot in the communal commons area that will stay with you long after you pack your bags.

Other suggested stays in the area include: the Southern-inspired Skyline Lodge, gorgeous Half Mile Farm, and the relaxing Old Edwards Inn & Spa.

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