Asheville holidays

Enjoy an Embellished Asheville This Holiday Season

Biltmore Holiday Lights Asheville

Do you light up at the thought of the holidays? So does Asheville – quite literally! Every year, festive displays of glittering, glorious decorations adorn Asheville and the surrounding areas and make already breathtaking vistas even more dazzling. Following, a few favorites:

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum

Open evenings from mid November through Dec. 31, Winter Lights is an outdoor holiday light exhibit placed throughout The North Carolina Arboretum’s gardens. Visitors can walk through a winter wonderland and enjoy uniquely lit displays and landscapes composed of nearly 500,000 energy-efficient LED lights. All tickets are date-specific and must be purchased in advance.

Christmas at the Biltmore Estate and Biltmore Village Lights

Beginning in early November, and running through early January, the Biltmore Estate takes on a magical glow. Across the estate, dozens of Christmas trees, thousands of lights and poinsettias, and miles of garland set the holiday scene. With a 35-foot live Fraser fir towering over the Banquet Hall, elegant decorations in platinum, gold, silver, and jewel tones adorn the grand spaces. In the evenings, visitors can enjoy Candlelight Christmas Evenings, replete with live music, candlelight and firelight. After visiting the estate, make a stop at Biltmore Village for a stroll through the shopping district’s dazzling display of lights for a truly wondrous Old-World holiday experience.

National Gingerbread House Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn

Biltmore Asheville Holiday ActivitiesFor a quarter of a century, this highly anticipated gingerbread house competition has wowed thousands of visitors to the Omni Grove Park Inn. Held annually in late November, the competition features houses from all over the country. The winning creations are on display through early January, interspersed with glowing, elaborately decorated Christmas trees. Enjoy a commemorative cup of whipped-cream-topped hot cocoa as you take in the amazing array of gingerbread creations.

Buncombe County Festival of Lights at Lake Julian Park

Beginning the first of December and running until right before Christmas, this annual drive-through event transforms Lake Julian Park into a winter wonderland. The park is brightly lit with thousands of colored lights and more than 50 animated and stationary light displays. The road circling the park becomes a magical journey through tunnels of dazzling lights. Advance tickets can be purchased online.

Explore Holiday Lights in Downtown Asheville

Asheville Holiday LightsEnjoy a post-dinner feast for the eyes in downtown Asheville, where a lights display weaves through the trees in Pack Square and the surrounding streets. Historic buildings take on a festive veneer (don’t miss the fun façade of the Grove House) that adds even more magic to downtown’s architecture. Make a stop inside the Grove Arcade, where the grand hall becomes even more spectacular with added holiday sparkle and garlands.

For a personally guided tour of Asheville, or for information on real estate in the area, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

Asheville Area's Aglow With Holiday Happenings

Holiday Lights Asheville

A flurry of festive events makes Asheville the ideal destination this holiday season. From lively parades, to twinkling town light displays, to Old World celebrations, there’s a holiday affair sure to please everyone.

Annual Asheville Holiday Parade

The Asheville Downtown Association hosts this free holiday staple the Saturday before Thanksgiving beginning at 11 a.m. The parade features around 100 entries, from marching bands, floats and street performers to animals, pageant queens and, of course, Santa. The parade begins on Biltmore Avenue at Charlotte Street and concludes on Patton Avenue at S. French Broad. Don’t forget to check out the store windows decked out for the season as part of the downtown association’s annual Holiday Windows Contest. https://www.ashevilledowntown.org/holidays

Christmas at Biltmore

Biltmore Holiday AshevilleFrom Nov. 3, 2018, to Jan. 6, 2019, visitors to the Biltmore Estate can enjoy a rich, magical experience for the senses: holiday décor featuring wreaths, garlands and the sparkle of thousands of ornaments on more than 55 stunning Christmas trees fill the house. The celebration continues across the estate, including colorful holiday blooms in the Conservatory, commemorative Christmas wine at the Winery, and Antler Hill Village's evening illumination display. “Candlelight Christmas Evenings” (additional ticketed event) envelops the estate in a soft glow of candlelight, firelight and twinkle lights. Live performances of Christmas music add to the self-guided evening visit. https://www.biltmore.com/events/christmas-at-biltmore-daytime-celebration-1

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum

From Nov. 16 to Dec. 31, 2018, 6-10 nightly, visitors to the arboretum can experience an outdoor winter wonderland and enjoy unique displays and landscapes composed of more than 500,000 holiday lights. Listen to the sounds of holiday music favorites and enjoy a cup of holiday-inspired cocoa, cider or beer. https://www.ncarboretum.org/exhibits-events/winter-lights/

Annual National Gingerbread House Competition

Asheville HolidaysCome to the Omni Grove Park Inn Nov. 25, 2018, to Jan. 4, 2019, to take in all the amazing creations that populate this stunning event, in its 26th year.

Except for the base, the gingerbread house entries are constructed entirely of edible materials. While guests with hotel, spa or restaurant reservations may view the display at any time, others are invited to see the winners on Sundays after 3 p.m. and Monday-Thursday anytime (except Dec. 23-Jan. 1). Admission is free, but there is a $20 per car parking fee. https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park/things-to-do/upcoming-events/national-gingerbread-competition

An Old-Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival at Biltmore Village

Historic Biltmore Village transforms into a quaint Victorian village on the first Friday night and Saturday of December. Enjoy concerts, refreshments, horse-drawn carriage rides and strolling vocalists and instrumentalists in costumes of the period. At nightfall, the glowing white lights outlining the historic buildings enhance the ambiance. Shops will stay open late, with many of the shopkeepers dressed in Victorian-era garb. Free admission. Friday starts at 6 p.m. with a tree lighting, Saturday 11-5 p.m.

Asheville’s Downtown Local Lights

Holidays in AshevilleThe City of Asheville, North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville Downtown Association and Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority are partnering for Downtown Local Lights, an artistic holiday light display at Pack Square, and new this year, expanded to Pritchard Park. Downtown Local Lights will kick off Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. at Pack Square with free photos with Santa, hot chocolate from French Broad Chocolate Lounge and holiday carols from The Gay Men’s Chorus. The official lighting ceremony will be at 6:30 pm. https://www.ashevilledowntown.org/downtown-local-lights-ceremony-free-photos-w-santa

"Come Home for the Holidays" Hendersonville

From Nov. 23, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2019, Hendersonville offers a range of festive happenings along with a magical Main Street, decked out in thousands of lights. Events include a Christmas Parade Dec. 1 and a Holiday Tour of Historic Inns Dec. 9, along with Flat Rock Playhouse productions, carriage rides, concerts and an “iceless” ice skating rink. https://www.visithendersonvillenc.org/home-for-the-holidays

For information about Asheville or about Real Estate in Asheville, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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Hosting This Season? Take a Holiday From the Stress With These Helpful Tips

Holiday Hosting Tips

Hosting for the holidays can be stressful – but it doesn’t have to be! With a little forethought and some pre-planning, your next home gathering can leave your spirit full, not frazzled.

Curtail kitchen labor

No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen while their guests are partying. Having a menu that can be prepped in advance eliminates a lot of the stress surrounding feeding a crowd. Think casseroles, soups, slow-cooker dishes, no-bake desserts and the like that can be assembled ahead of time, and popped in the oven, on the stove, or plugged in on the day of the festivities. Set up a self-serve drink bar, where guests can do their own mixing and pouring. For snacking, most grocers stock pre-cut cheese and meat trays, so all you have to add are crackers for an easy party appetizer, or an afternoon bite for houseguests. Breakfast casseroles that can be made ahead of time and simply baked in the morning mean you’ll be able to ease into the day with your guests.

Hosting and the HolidaysStock up

Load your pantry with kid- and adult-friendly snacks, fill your fruit bowl with healthy grab-and-go items to tide guests over until the next meal, and keep a supply of drinks on hand (depending on how cold it is outside, you can store overflow in a cooler on the back porch). Also, keep kitchen essentials well-stocked: Think baking products, eggs, milk, half and half, coffee and the like. Having such items in healthy supply will eliminate stressful last-minute runs to the store. And don’t forget extra toilet paper, soaps and shampoos for the guest bathroom.

De-clutter

Ahead of your guests’ arrival, move your coats, shoes and bags out of entryway spaces, empty under-bathroom-sink cabinets and closets in guest areas, and clean out the fridge. De-cluttering offers a welcoming space for your guests, one where they can feel relaxed and at home. It can also help them keep track of all the items they’ve brought from home when it comes time to pack up and leave.

Hosting Tips HolidaysSpread the holiday mood

Elegant decorations, festive background music and scented candles can provide a feast for the senses to greet guests upon their arrival. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to suit up your space; doing so not only gives you a chance to thoughtfully plan, but also allows you a moment to soak in the sumptuous surroundings before guests arrive. 

Delegate tasks and take time for yourself

If you’re feeling overwhelmed ahead of hosting a party, don’t be shy about asking family and friends to help. Chances are, you’ve got one or two guests who would be more than happy to arrive a bit early to set out appetizers, or stay after the party to help clean up. Taking a moment before guests arrive to enjoy a cup of tea, a glass of wine, or a short nap will leave you refreshed, relaxed and ready to join in the fun.

For information about Real Estate in Asheville, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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Holidays Herald Festive Events Across Western N.C.

Asheville WNC Holiday Events

Every year, the holiday season heralds a bevy of festive activities across Western North Carolina. From parades to light displays to stage performances, there’s something to enchant everyone; here are a few favorites.

A Winter’s Tail

The Western North Carolina Nature Center’s annual Winter’s Tail features festive crafts, games and animal programs, as well as photos with Santa. Standard admission rates apply. Visit www.wildwnc.org for program dates and times.

Holidays in WNCAnnual National Gingerbread House Competition Display

Visitors to the Omni Grove Park Hotel in Asheville can view this eagerly anticipated competition, which features breathtaking entries from all over the country, and in various age categories. Visit www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park/things-to-do/upcoming-events/national-gingerbread-competition for schedule and more information.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Tryon International Equestrian Center is host to Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, more than 2 miles of drive-through custom-made displays set to music you play over your car radio. On the weekends, visitors can also enjoy Winterfest Village, featuring photos with Santa and storytelling with Mrs. Claus, carousel rides, animal experiences and live music. Visit www.shadrackchristmas.com/tryon-nc  for tickets and more information.

Winter Lights at the Arboretum

Walk through the N.C. Arboretum’s gardens and enjoy unique displays and landscapes dressed in more than a half-million holiday lights. Winter Lights includes interactive games, a model train exhibit, free crafts, a nature-themed animatronic children’s program and more. Visit www.ncarboretum.org/winter-lights/ for dates, times and admission.

Carolina Christmas Show

Staged at the Colonial Theater in Canton, this dazzling production of live music, dance and comedy features performers from Western N.C. and special guest artists presenting sacred and secular Christmas favorites. Visit www.marlumor.com/christmas-show for schedule and tickets.

The Big Crafty

A favorite art event for the past decade, the weekend-long Big Crafty, held in downtown Asheville, features 150 artisans, crafters and makers from across the region, and boasts the perfect one-stop shop for unique holiday gifts. Visit  www.thebigcrafty.com for schedule and more information. 

Festival of Lights

Lake Julian Park in South Asheville comes to life for this popular Christmas light show. Some 50 animated and stationary light displays shine along the half-mile drive. Go to www.lakejulianfestivaloflights.simpletix.com for schedule and tickets.

Holidays in AshevilleCashiers Christmas Parade

Held annually on the second Saturday in December, the Cashiers Christmas Parade features local businesses, organizations and residents celebrating the holiday season. Chamber staff organizes parade theme, volunteers, participating lineup, awards and live broadcast of the event from the Cashiers Crossroads. Go to www.cashiers411.com/142-cashiers-christmas-parade for schedule and more information.

Santa on Chimney Rock

Visitors to this annual event can watch Santa rappel down Chimney Rock, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, and enjoy live holiday music, free hot cocoa, cookies and kids’ activities. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com/event/santa-on-the-chimney-dec-7 for schedule and more information.

Old World Dickens in the Village Festival

Every year on the first weekend of December (Friday and Saturday), Historic Biltmore Village is transformed into a quaint Victorian town for the Old World Dickens in the Village Festival. Visitors to this immersive holiday experience – featuring performances by strolling carolers, actors and musicians dressed in Dickensian era costumes – can enjoy live music, the Mugs of Merriment Hot Chocolate Competition, jugglers, balloon animal makers, and the Montford Park Players performing vignettes from “A Christmas Carol.” Visit  www.historicbiltmorevillage.com for more information.

Montford Holiday Tour of Homes

This annual holiday tour features homes in Asheville’s Montford historic district, exquisitely decorated for the season. An expression of the rich architectural heritage and vitality of Asheville, Montford includes a variety of architectural styles, reflecting the cosmopolitan character of Asheville at the turn of the 20th century. Visit www.montfordtour.com for tickets and more information.

For information about Real Estate in the Asheville area, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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