Our Guide to Chimney Rock & Lake Lure Holiday Festivities

Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are the perfect places to enjoy the beauty of the North Carolina foothills at any season, but the holidays make them even more spectacular. From holiday lights and decorations bathed in crisp mountain air, to traditional caroling and Christmas shopping, Santa Claus and fundraising galas; this is the place to be to experience true holiday magic.

Chimney Rock
Every year at the beginning of December Chimney Rock Village morphs into a quaint holiday wonderland. Originally settled by the Scotch-Irish in the 1600s, the town’s annual Old Fashioned Christmas in Chimney Rock Village celebration is true to its roots featuring live music, wonderful holiday shopping opportunities, and incredible decorations including a huge town Christmas tree.

Where to Stay
Chimney Rock Village boasts a number of charming bed and breakfast style inns that exude holiday spirit. We recommend the Broad River Inn. Located on the banks of the Rocky Broad River in the heart of the village, this lovely accomodation offers riverfront suites with private balconies that overlook incredible mountain views. If you’re looking for more of a hotel experience, you’ll love The Esmeralda Inn. Also located in the heart of Chimney Rock, this award winning inn, restaurant, and spa is the epitome of picturesque, old-fashioned foothills charm; and offers both guest rooms and cabins with equally spectacular views.

Local Dining
The Esmeralda is high on our list. Known as one of the best restaurants in Chimney Rock, its carefully crafted menu, use of local ingredients, and incredible wine list paired with its phenomenal views, make it a not to be missed dining experience. For nibbles and beverages you can’t go wrong with Burntshirt Vineyards Tasting Room and Bistro. Featuring a menu of small plates and well-crafted entree options all perfect for wine pairings, add in the incredible views and it’s inevitably a perfect low-key holiday noshing location.

Festive Activities
The holidays aren’t the holidays without Santa, and where better to hang with Santa and Mrs. Claus than Chimney Rock State Park? Enjoy live music, hot cocoa and cookies, and the ultimate elf himself rappelling down a rock face. Now that’s a serious ring in the holiday feeling! If you happen to be in the area in the first half of December, be sure to experience Chimney Rock’s Breakfast with the Elves. Hosted at The Old Rock Cafe, this magical morning features Christmas crafts and stories, as well as the opportunity to share your holiday wish list with Mrs. Claus. If getting dressed up to give back puts you squarely in the holiday spirit, don’t miss Hickory Nut Gorge’s Annual Chamber Christmas Gala. Held at the beginning of December, it’s a delicious evening of dinner, dancing, and a gala auction, all supporting a wonderful cause.

Lake Lure
The town of Lake Lure exudes southern charm year-round, and the holiday season is no exception. From holiday crafts and dinner parties, to the annual Christmas play and the foothills’ most beautiful holiday gardens, Lake Lure is truly full of holiday cheer.

Where to Stay
There’s nothing quite like the experience of staying at a bed and breakfast to get you in a serene state of mind going into the holiday season, and the Grafton Lodge Bed & Breakfast fits the bill perfectly. This small, private property is beautifully located just 6/10ths of a mile from the lake. Each room has a private entrance, balcony access for incredible views, and they even offer packages if you’re looking to make your stay extra special. For those who prefer a picturesque hotel experience to boost your holiday spirit, check out the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Irongate Spa. This charmingly historic hotel sits lakeside, offers an award-winning spa onsite, and has two different dining options each with panoramic mountain views.

Local Dining
The Veranda Restaurant pairs spectacular views with elegant dining to create a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere that’s sure to get you in a holiday state of mind. Legends on the Lake at Rumbling Bald Resort offers a variety of casual dining options, complete with a sports bar and game room for getting into the spirit with a bit of active fun. For an award-winning meal at a great price, try La Strada at Lake Lure. This family-owned restaurant is known for its wonderful Italian dishes, as well as steaks, burgers, and seafood; so it’s sure to please everyone’s taste buds and appetite.

Festive Activities
There’s nothing like holiday lights and greenery to usher in holiday cheer, and The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is one of the best places to find it. Be sure to stop and smell the Christmas roses as you take a relaxing stroll through their fairy garden winter wonderland. Theatrics more your holiday style? Don’t miss the Annual Christmas Play & Christmas Feast. Held at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, it’s a wonderful way to banish your inner grinch and get in the holiday spirit. Holiday shopping has never been easier at the Lake Lure Arts & Crafts Festival Christmas Craft Show. This renowned artisan event features everything from expert woodcrafting and metalwork, to artistic holiday decor. Honestly, it will be harder to decide which gift is more perfect than it will be to find just one!

Happy Holidays!
There's nothing more magical than experiencing the beauty of the holidays in North Carolina foothills fashion, and there is no better place to do it than Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. With small town festivities nestled in the majesty of some of nature's most panoramic scenery, it's an experience that's guaranteed to ensnare the senses like no other. Make plans to join us this season. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Image credit @davidrobbinsnc