From choose and cut Christmas tree hunting to a magical family weekend to enjoying the holidays nestled between two ski resorts, the North Carolina mountain town of Banner Elk is an ideal place this December.
The month starts with people flocking to the many tree farms raising beautiful Fraser fir Christmas trees. Avery County is often considered the Christmas tree capital, and Banner Elk makes the perfect base camp for a tree farm excursion.
The town even offers choose and cut lodging packages through the first part of December. Details are available at BannerElk.com.
Banner Elk transforms into a yuletide village Dec. 6-8 for its annual A Small Town Christmas weekend. Three days of family fun kick off Friday evening with caroling around the town tree as it is lit for the season. Banner Elk’s professional theater, Ensemble Stage, holds a Christmas variety show in the town’s auditorium after the lighting.
Saturday is full of activities. It starts with a 5K Reindeer Run at 8:30am., or for the less adventurous, the day begins at a 9am. pancake breakfast with Santa at Dunn’s Deli. From there, businesses and restaurants host gatherings for ornament making, cookie decorating, Christmas card making and more.
There’s a holiday market that Saturday at Lees-McRae College, not to mention a Polar Plunge at Wildcat Lake. The day concludes with the whimsical “parade of lights” down Main Street, ending in the town park with mini-train rides, a musical light show and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
For those who can’t get to Banner Elk the first part of December, there are ample options to enjoy the resort town from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.
The two adjoining ski resorts – Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain – offer visitors a total of 38 slopes, 17 lifts and 16 tubing lanes, not to mention two terrain parks, two ski schools and two ice skating rinks. Both resorts host New Year’s Eve parties with fireworks over the slopes.
Plenty of cabins, cottages, vacation homes and inns provide cozy lodging, and Banner Elk’s many chef-driven restaurants dazzle the taste buds while earning the town the reputation as the “culinary hot spot of the High Country.” Breweries and wineries are available, too.
For more information on a Banner Elk getaway, visit