There are two kinds of people in the mountains: There’s the kind of person who can’t wait to get outside in the cold and play in the snow and ice. And then there’s the kind of person who takes a cue from native wildlife and hibernates until April.
If you’re in the latter group, you’re certainly not alone! But luckily, there are still many things you can do in Western North Carolina to stay active this winter without risking frostbite. Here are three fun ways to escape the cold.
Explore WNC by Automobile
Sometimes pairing the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with cold weather claustrophobia can be a recipe for disaster. Get away from it all by taking a quick drive. Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway while it’s still open for the season. Or visit one of the many small towns within a short drive from you. Little Switzerland, located in McDowell County just off the Parkway, is an especially lovely getaway stop with charming shops and restaurants. Are you from one of our many small towns? Maybe you’d want to dive headfirst into the many holiday festivities or year-round attractions of Asheville, Hendersonville, or Waynesville.
BONUS IDEA: If driving through WNC is not exciting enough, consider taking a passenger rail instead. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers family-friendly diesel or steam Polar Express routes through the end of the year. And a few diesel routes run on weekends from January–March.
Soak Your Cares away in Hot Springs
Located in Madison County, the town of Hot Springs got its name from one of the region’s most extraordinary features: natural mineral springs with temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That makes them a perfect way to escape the cold. Treat yourself, take a romantic partner, or share a group tub with the gals this season. The mineral-rich water is said to increase circulation and oxygen flow throughout the body. So before you know it, any tight muscles you have from the winter cold (or from the stressors of the holidays) will fade away. While you’re in town, enjoy the many art galleries, souvenir shops, and restaurants in town.
Get Your Color Back at a Greenhouse
After the vibrant season of fiery fall colors in the mountains, it can be tough to wade through the gray days of winter until the first spring greens of March and April. Reinvigorate your color receptors at a local greenhouse or botanical garden. Biltmore Estate guests and passholders can enjoy the elaborate greenhouse where pineapples and orchids bloom year round.
Or fill the car with friends and family and head over to the NC Arboretum in Bent Creek. In addition to miles of walking trails and outdoor gardens, the arboretum offers regular exhibits, events, and educational opportunities for nature lovers of all ages. Through the end of the year, you can also attend the Winter Lights event, featuring more than 500,000 holiday lights, a model train exhibit, a nature-themed animatronic children’s program, interactive games, and more.
Stay Warm at Home this Winter, too!
The chill of the season has a way of creeping into your bones—and into the corners of your home. If you haven’t already, it’s officially time to winterize your home. It may seem like a lot of work. But winterizing your home is well worth it if it saves you from catching a cold and saves you on heating costs.
We’ve made it easy to protect your home this winter. Here’s a comprehensive list of everything you need to do: