Winter is a magical time in North and South Carolina. Embrace the charm of historic towns decked out in holiday cheer, experience the thrill of winter sports in the Blue Ridge Mountains or spend a family-friendly day celebrating the season – it’s all here.
Experience the magic of the holidays as those living in the 19th century did during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Salem Museums and Gardens. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Old Salem features a collection of preserved buildings brought to life by costumed interpreters and talented craftsmen who work to represent the 19th-century community that flourished in the area. On December 16, 17, 22 and 23, visitors can participate in customs and traditions of the time while enjoying music and refreshments on the Candlelight Tour Experience. This charming event will fill the whole family with the holiday spirit. Reserve your tickets and find out about other upcoming events at www.oldsalem.org/christmas-candlelight-tours.
For some thrilling winter excitement out on the slopes, head to Maggie Valley, North Carolina to the Cataloochee Ski Area
. With more than 50 years under their belts, the staff at Cataloochee knows just what you need to make your ski vacation perfect. A variety of terrain suited to beginners and experts alike will make everyone feel right at home, and 16 lighted ski slopes offer plenty of room for night skiing, which begins December 17, 2011. Check out Tube World – where you can careen down paths of freshly made snow and enjoy an effortless trip back to the top on the carpet lift – for endless hours of fun. Find pricing information and other happenings at Cataloochee by visiting www.cataloochee.com.
Get into the holiday spirit with a relaxing boat trip. Thriller Charleston’s Charleston Sleigh Ride will take you through Charleston, James Island and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina where you’ll enjoy viewing the area’s holiday lights and decorations. Thriller Charleston offers a unique experience complete with holiday music filling the air and hot cocoa warming you from the inside out. Hear stories of Christmas traditions celebrated in Charleston that might inspire you to introduce new customs into your own holiday festivities. Sleigh rides are available now through December 31, 2011, excluding Christmas day. Book your sleigh ride at www.thrillercharleston.com.
Let the kids ring in 2012 without keeping them up past their bedtime. The Children’s Museum of South Carolina, in Myrtle Beach, is hosting Noon Year’s Eve on December 31. Families are invited to make their own party favors in anticipation of the Balloon Drop and kid-friendly toast at noon. While you’re there, check out some of the museum’s crazy, fun and just plain cool exhibits. Stop by the Hurricane Simulator and see what it would feel like to be stuck in 78 mph winds, and also learn the best ways to protect yourself and your family from a real-life hurricane. Discover the paleontologist in you at the South Carolina Fossil Hunt where you can look for fossils as old as 65 million years. For Noon Year’s Eve ticket pricing and other information on the Children’s Museum of South Carolina, visit www.cmsckids.org.
Don’t let the cooler temperatures of winter keep you from enjoying all the exciting events happening in the Carolinas. From historic tours to winter adventures and holiday happenings, there’s something for everyone this season.