Western Carolina Holidays
Thanksgiving Dinner: November is a time to rearrange the furniture at the Lovill House Bed and Breakfast in Boone, N.C. Inn owners Anne and Scott Peecook reconfigure their dining room prior to Thanksgiving to allow all their guests to join them for a traditional Thanksgiving feast seated around one big table like family.
“I cook a turkey and a ham and offer a lot of sides,” says Anne. “Usually we have our Thanksgiving dinner at 4 p.m., that allows all the guests a chance to arrive and get settled. We feel that offering Thanksgiving dinner is a great service to our guests because many restaurants in our area are closed that day.”
The inn can sleep 14 people, so the maximum number at the Thanksgiving dinner is 16, including the Peecooks. She says some couples decide to stay when their children marry and begin new Thanksgiving traditions of their own. Others no longer have family close by and want to regain that sense of being surrounded by loved ones at the holidays.
While the inn is located only a mile from the campus of Appalachian State University and technically in the city limits of Boone, the inn sits amid 11 acres and gives guests a feeling of being in a more isolated haven.
Choose and Cut: The weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest times for choose and cut Christmas tree farms, and there are many to find in the High Country of North Carolina.
Whether visitors have stayed in an inn like the Lovill House or make a drive to specifically choose a Fraser Fir, they often leave carting a bound tree as extra cargo on top of their cars.
In Watauga County, N.C. alone (the county that Boone is located in), there are close to 30 farms. The bigger picture for North Carolina shows 1,600 growers across the state producing an estimated 50 million Fraser Firs growing on more than 25,000 acres. North Carolina ranks second in the nation in the number of trees harvested.
Last year, the weather was cool with snowflakes spiraling about our heads as my kids and I chose our tree. Colder weather seems to add to the excitement of the season and many of the farms offer hot chocolate, wreaths, garland, crafts, and even some horse rides and hayrides.
Some of the farms will hand visitors a saw to cut their own tree, or their employees will hand out colored strips of plastic to tie on your selection. They then drive around the farms and cut the one that’s flagged. Crews then put the trees through a baler to wrap up with twine and then secure on the top of vehicles.
The other cargo prevalent in the area is snow skis as people hit the slopes at Sugar Mountain, Ski Beech, Hawksnest Resort and Appalachian Ski Mountain.
Holiday Shopping: Finding unique gifts for those on your Christmas and holiday lists can be relatively easy when you take a stroll through unique shops in downtown Boone, and neighboring towns of Blowing Rock and Valle Crucis.
Valle Crucis is home to the original Mast General Store and it’s a treat to just spend some time in this 1882 structure with its small, working Valle Crucis Post Office, original creaking wood flooring, a checkerboard lined with bottle caps as playing pieces and “everything” you could possibly want for sale.
There’s also a version of Mast General Store in downtown Boone. After reopening the Valle Crucis store in 1980, owners John and Faye Cooper have opened a string of Mast General Stores in unique, historic buildings in the Southeast.
Bob Timberlake, who has a huge following, yet sells most of his artwork and furniture through catalogue sales, has an impressive showroom in Blowing Rock.
There are also antique stores aplenty in the area, and stores offering that one-of-a-kind treasure, art piece, jewelry, or accessory that is sure to bring smiles when unwrapped.
If You’re Going
Lovill House Inn Bed and Breakfast
Choose and cut Christmas tree farms in Watauga County
Statewide Information about N.C. Christmas Trees
North Carolina Skiing
Mast General Store
Bob Timberlake – Blowing Rock Gallery