November 2016
Have a Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday
Craft Your Holiday Giving with Handmade Treasures
Get In Tune with NC's Great Music Heritage This Season
Lighting Up the Mountains for the Holidays
Enjoy North Carolina Blue Ridge Waterfalls Year-Round
Choose n' Cut Tree Farms Make for Memorable Holidays
Travel the Award-Winning Blue Ridge Heritage Trail
Have a Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday
Looking for something different and memorable to celebrate the holidays this year?
We invite you to come to the Blue Ridge mountains and foothills of North Carolina, where you can experience some old-time, traditional holiday events. Here you'll find amazing gifts of fine handmade crafts not available in big box stores or even online.
And don't forget to choose a beautiful Christmas tree fresh cut from one of the region's many Christmas tree farms. See the stories below and get out your travel planner now!
Craft Your Holiday Giving with Handmade Treasures

The North Carolina mountains and foothills are a geographic center of handmade crafts in the United States.  The region fostered the country's traditional craft movement (1800s to early 1900s) as well as the contemporary craft movement (1940s). Today, over 4,000 craftspeople live and work in Western North Carolina, where traditional and contemporary crafts flourish side by side and create a craft economy of more than $206 million in the region.
Here are some great opportunities to visit craft artisans in all parts of the region and select handmade treasures for everyone on your holiday list:
  • November 12-13River Arts District Studio Stroll, Asheville. 10 am to 6 pm. Visit studios of 180 working artists.
  • November 19, Christmas Craft Ornament Festival, Burnsville Town Center, Burnsville, NC. 9 am - 2 pm. One of a kind items handmade by local craft artisans.
  • November 25-26, Hard Candy Christmas Arts & Crafts Show, Ramsey Center, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC. 10 am to 5 pm. Heritage and contemporary arts and crafts.
  • November 25-26, Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour, Graham & Swain Counties. 10 am to 5 pm. Free. Tour maps available from Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center, Stecoah, NC. 
  • November 26, Annual Thanksgiving Kiln Opening at Bolick & Traditions Pottery, Lenoir, NC. 10 am. Watch as these traditional potters unload the wood kiln and offer the newly-fired wares for purchase. 
  • December 2, Christmas Gallery Crawl, downtown West Jefferson, NC. Seventeen galleries will be open from 5 to 8 pm, showcasing the latest work by Ashe County artists. 
  • December 2-3, Open Air Art Market, Foothills Arts Council, downtown Elkin, NC. Friday 5 to 9 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Old world-style market with food, wine and beer, live music, craft demonstrations, and more.   
  • December 2 - 4, Toe River Arts Council Studio Tour,Yancey and Mitchell Counties. Friday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. More than 100 craftspeople and artists in nearly every medium. Download tour brochure here.
  • December 3, Christmas Arts and Craft Fair, Emerson Black Exhibition Building, Alleghany County Fair Grounds, Sparta. 9 am to 4:30 pm. Juried show with handmade items from area craft artisans. 
  • December 3, Appalachian Potters Market, McDowell County High School, Marion, NC. 10 am to 4 pm. Sixty-six North Carolina potters will offer many styles of clay work. $5 entry fee.
  • December 3 & 10, Holiday Sales, Southern Highland Craft Guild, Folk Art Center, Asheville.
  • December 4, Fireside Sale, John C. Campbell Folk School. 10 am to 5pm. Free admission.
Photos: Above-Gallery at Stecoah Cultural Arts Center, Stecoah NC.
Right-Appalachian Potters Market, Marion, NC.
Get In Tune with NC's Great Music Heritage This Season
Venues and musicians along the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina serve up some of the best traditional mountain music to be found in the country. Along with the many year-round events listed on, below are a few special concerts and events coming up in November and December:
Photo: Balsam Range.
Lighting Up the Mountains for the Holidays

In towns large and small throughout the mountains and foothills of North Carolina, the holidays take on a special sparkle with lighting shows that will take your breath away! Put some of these on your holiday itinerary:
  • November 4 to December 30Bonfire Nights, Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock, every Saturday from 7 - 10 pm at the lawn fire pit with live music and s'mores.. 
  • November 4 through January 8Christmas at Biltmore, Asheville. Seventy Christmas trees, more than 1,000 poinsettias, and miles of garland and lights cast a magical spell over Biltmore House at Christmastime.
  • November 18 to January 1Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum, Asheville. Nightly 6 to 10 pm. Walk through a winter wonderland and enjoy uniquely-lit displays and landscapes with nearly 500,000 energy-efficient LED lights.
  • November 23 to December 28Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland, WNC Ag Center, Fletcher. Award-winning Christmas light and music extravaganza with lights performing in sync with holiday tunes playing through your car radio.
  • November 24 to January 6Holiday Lights in Forest City, NC. Half a million decorative lights provide a warm setting for shopping, chats with Saint Nick at the Santa House on Main Street, and other holiday activities. 
  • November 25 to January 6Festival of the Trees, Central Park at Cashiers Crossroads, Cashiers, NC. The park becomes a winter wonderland with twinkling lights and festive decorations from Thanksgiving through New Years.
  • December 2 to 31, Cherokee Lights and Legends Christmas, Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds, Cherokee, NC. Friday and Saturday nights, 5 - 10 pm. Stroll under the lights through fun, interactive displays that tell ancient Cherokee Christmas legends. 
Enjoy North Carolina Blue Ridge Waterfalls Year-Round
A perfect holiday gift, for your friends and family, and for yourself!
If you've visited the North Carolina mountains and foothills and wished there was a way to remember the scenic beauty of this area year-round, you'll love this special edition calendar! 
Photographed and produced by Mark File, owner of, this beautiful calendar showcases seasonal images of twelve magnificent waterfalls in our region. Plus there are suggestions for 365 things to do in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, one for every day of the year!
We are grateful to who is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the calendars ($10 each) to benefit the work of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.*
We also thank our friends who have generously offered to be distribution points for the calendars. Calendars are now available at:
*The mission of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership is to protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of Western North Carolina for the benefit of present and future generations, and in so doing to sustain our heritage and stimulate improved economic opportunity in our region.
Choose n' Cut Tree Farms Make for Memorable Holidays
If you're looking for a memory-making holiday experience, nothing can quite compare to a family outing to a real Christmas tree farm and selecting that perfect tree to decorate in your home.
Did you know that North Carolina produces over 20% of the Christmas trees grown in the United States? Or that the perennial favorite, the Fraser Fir, represents over 98% of all species grown in the state? And did you know the White House has selected a Christmas tree from North Carolina 11 times, more than from any other state?
The  North Carolina Christmas Tree Association offers a list of Christmas tree farms, complete with tree species and other amenities. 
Click here to listen to a Living Traditions Moment, where you'll hear a short history about the Christmas tree farms in North Carolina. 
Travel the Award-Winning Blue Ridge Heritage Trail

As you travel throughout this beautiful region, no matter what time of year, keep an eye out for the 70 interpretive wayside exhibits that comprise the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail. These signs tell many of the stories of the people, places, and events that make this region so special that it was designated a National Heritage Area by Congress in 2003.
You can pick up the Trail Map brochure at one of the five NC Welcome Centers located on Interstate entrances to the region (I-40 W, I-26 E & W, I-85 S, and I-77N), at many visitor information centers throughout the region. Or you can download it here.
The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail Trail Map brochure was recently honored by the North Carolina Society of Historians as being an excellent comprehensive guide to visiting many historically and culturally significant sites in Western North Carolina.
Donate Now
Support the work of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area with your tax deductable donation.
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Blue Ridge National Heritage Area  •  195 Hemphill Knob Road  •  Asheville, NC 28803

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