Banner Elk Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Packages

Banner Elk Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Packages

Create a new tradition this holiday season with the Banner Elk Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Packages. These packages take advantage of Banner Elk’s location in the NC High Country. The High Country is considered the Christmas Tree Capital for its abundance of tree farms growing high-quality Fraser fir trees. And, it is common for one of the farms in our region to provide the White House Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.

For one price, starting at $144 weekdays and $164 weekends (plus tax), our choose & cut packages include: one night’s lodging at your choice of accommodations, breakfast, 15% off dining at Banner Elk Cafe, and a voucher for one 7-foot tall choose & cut Christmas tree at Elk River Evergreens.

Elk River Evergreens is a perennial favorite in the NC mountains with lots of on-site activities and a great variety of trees.

The packages are available Nov. 14-Dec. 6, 2020. Booking them is easy. Just contact you choice of lodging options below to ask for the choose & cut package and book your stay. Upon check-in, you will receive a voucher good for one 7-foot Christmas tree at Elk River Evergreens.You will also receive a coupon for 15% off dining at Banner Elk Cafe, a popular restaurant in Banner Elk with a wide-ranging menu.

Lodging Options – Packages are available at the lodging partners below. Please contact them directly and mention the Banner Elk Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Packages:

> Best Western Mountain Lodge
Click here or call 828-898-4571
> Perry House Bed & Breakfast Click here or call 828-898-3535
> Banner Elk Mountain Cabins** – $25-$50 off per night on cabins that sleep 4-8. Click here or call 828-387-1209
**- Breakfast not included at Banner Elk Mountain Cabins

 

Banner Elk North Carolina ski resort town

Fall for Banner Elk this Autumn

Fall for Banner Elk this Autumn

Late day light enhances the fall color and a christmas tree farm in the rural North Carolina mountains.

Few places in the North Carolina mountains have the variety of leaf-viewing options that Banner Elk offers. Nestled at 3,701 feet above sea level, Banner Elk normally reaches peak color around the third or fourth weekend of October. Leaves typically begin changing in late September or early October, followed by a vivid progression that now often stretches into early November.

Fall color in NC mountains Banner Elk leaf lookingBanner Elk is surrounded by scenic peaks and native hardwoods, with many vantage points to view autumn’s splendor. One of the best vantage points is the famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge atop Grandfather Mountain. People from all over the East Coast visit in fall to take in the panoramic view from Grandfather.

There are many different ways to view fall color in Banner Elk. Some prefer to take in the splendor from kayaks and canoes on Wildcat Lake, while others take to the hiking trails in and around the town limits. The Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park offers great views and has its trail head on the outskirts of Banner Elk. Another popular place is the high-altitude Emerald Outback trail park.

Banner Elk’s famous Woolly Worm Festival conducts woolly bear caterpillar races the third weekend of October to determine which woolly worm receives the honor of forecasting the upcoming winter weather in the NC High Country. Learn more about this unique festival by clicking here.

Adventure seekers hit the local rivers for whitewater rafting from Edge of the World Outfitters or High Mountain Expeditions. Or, let the vehicle do the work with a meandering drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even a simple stroll along the Banner Elk Greenway yields spectacular viewing options.

Another nice thing about a fall visit to Banner Elk is the close proximity to peak fall color from early October to early November. A quick 15-minute drive in early October up to Beech Mountain puts you at peak color because of its 5,506-foot elevation. Or, you can drive about 30 minutes in early November down to the Linville Caverns area and view peak colors there.

When the autumnal day is done, settle into comfortable lodging and indulge in a delicious cuisine from a number of eateries. A bountiful food selection gives Banner Elk its nickname of “the Culinary Hot Spot of the NC High Country.”

For a list of lodging options, click here.

Four Best Places for Snow Tubing in the North Carolina Mountains

Four Best Places for Snow Tubing in the North Carolina Mountains

There’s no tubing like snow tubing, and the Banner Elk area is home to four of the best places to snow tube in the North Carolina mountains.

Snow tubing is among the easiest — and most fun — winter sports because it requires little preparation, equipment or skill. Just hop on a tube and whoosh your way down the hill.

Visitors to Banner Elk have a quartet of options. Within a few minutes of downtown are snow tubing parks at Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort. About 25 minutes from town is Hawksnest Snow Tubing at the former Hawksnest ski resort. And, 30 minutes from Banner Elk is Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing.

All of these tubing parks provide 100% snowmaking to help with snow conditions when Mother Nature is taking a break, and they are considered the cream of the crop for snow tubing in North Carolina. But as far as which one is the best depends on what you’re looking for.

Hawksnest Snow Tubing is the biggest. It converted from a ski resort to snow tubing in 2008, giving it plenty of space. There are more than 30 runs in four sections, all connected by conveyor carpet lifts. The runs range in length from 400 to 1,000 feet.

Hawksnest also offers a winter zipline tour that soars above the tubing lanes. Because its elevation is not as high as Sugar Mountain or Beech Mountain, it occasionally encounters slightly warmer temperatures that create challenges in snowmaking.

The snow tubing park at Beech Mountain Resort is the newest. This state-of-the-art facility opened in winter of 2015-16 in the Alpine Village at the base of the ski slopes. The eight runs are extra-long and punctuated by small moguls known as rollers. It is lighted and surrounded by high-tech snow guns and a sound system. A Magic Carpet conveyor whisks tubers quickly back to the top.

Customers can buy tickets right there in the Beech Mountain ski village and enjoy other activities in the village, including ice skating and shopping, when finished with snowtubing.

Sugar Mountain Resort has the closest snow tubing park to Banner Elk. Sugar Mountain is known for strong snowmaking capabilities on the ski slopes and that goes the same for its snow tubing runs. Six runs are served by a conveyor carpet lift and Sugar probably stays open the most days each winter. The tubing runs are adjacent to the skating rink and both are easy to access because they have their own parking lot before you get further up the mountain to the ski resort.

Jonas Ridge is a smaller operation that has been in business since 2004. It has five lanes and recently replaced its rope tow with a conveyor carpet lift. Photographers take pictures as you tube and the photos are available for purchase on the spot, or later online. There is a small, cozy lodge with a fireplace and an observation deck.

Although snow tubing is easy and no lessons are needed, there are a few things you can do to maximize your adventure:

  • First, wear warm socks and waterproof or water-resistant winter boots. Otherwise, your shoes will get soggy, wet and/or ruined, and your feet will be cold the entire time.
  • Second, wear a winter jacket that is either waterproof or water-resistant for all those same reasons. You will be on ground level and encountering snow and slush.
  • Third, pay attention to your pants. If you don’t have waterproof/water-resistant pants, make sure to wear thermal underwear or some other layer underneath your pants (jeans are okay, but they are 100% cotton and absorb a lot of water).
  • Fourth, wear a ski cap (or beanie, tobaggon, whatever you call it) and an old pair of sunglasses. Your head and face will encounter wind as you whoosh down the tubing runs!

Finally, when the day of fun is done, head to your choice of lodging in Banner Elk and then check out the amazing culinary scene. Better yet, stay a couple nights and visit all four tubing parks in one trip!

Winter is Better Here

Winter is Better Here

Winter_Is_Better_In_Banner_ElkNorth Carolina’s High Country is a welcome escape any time of year, but winter is especially magical. And when it comes to choosing a winter destination in the NC mountains, Banner Elk just might be the ideal spot.

Banner Elk, located near Boone, is known for cozy lodging, romantic getaways, family fun and great restaurants. It’s place that has both small town charm and big city amenities.

The two largest winter sports venues in the South – Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort – are located within 10 minutes of Banner Elk’s lone stoplight. Both resorts offers skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snowtubing. There’s even a free youth sledding hill in the town of Beech Mountain.

About 30 minutes away are more snow sports options at Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Appalachian Ski Mtn. And for travelers who like the mountains but not the snow, there’s always winter hiking and the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge at nearby Grandfather Mountain.

When the sun goes down, Banner Elk’s reputation as a culinary hotspot takes center stage. There are more than a dozen popular restaurants within this town of just 1,067 residents. Culinary choices range from contemporary to traditional, with everything from white tablecloth fine dining to tasty Southern comfort food. Ethnic cuisine runs the gamut from Italian to Cajun to Mexican to Vietnamese.

For a romantic day of exploring, visit the local wineries. Banner Elk Winery has several award-winning dry wines, and is also known for its unusual ice wine. At Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, every bottle comes with a view of its namesake mountain. As you sip a glass by the tasting room fireplace, it’s easy to see why winter is better here.

There are two craft breweries in and around Banner Elk. Kettell Beerworks is located on Main Street East and always features a winter brew. Just up the mountain from Banner Elk is Beech Mountain Brewing Co., nestled in the alpine village at the base of the Beech Mountain ski slopes.

Sometimes, the best thing about a winter getaway is spending quality time in your lodging of choice, and Banner Elk has a banner selection. Cozy cabins. Upscale condos. Friendly bed-and-breakfast inns. Comfortable hotels. Spacious vacation homes.

Many of Banner Elk’s lodging options feature a mountain motif and most have a fireplace for making warm memories on cold winter nights in the NC mountains.

Did you know Banner Elk is North Carolina’s top ski town? Click here to learn more about ski vacations in Banner Elk or call us at 828-898-5398.

Grandfather Mountain Reopens; Sets New Guidelines for Visits

Grandfather Mountain Reopens; Sets New Guidelines for Visits

Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge near Banner ElkFollowing a two-month closure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Grandfather Mountain, which is 15 minutes from Banner Elk, reopened on May 22, 2020, with all ticket sales taking place online.

In accordance with Gov. Roy Cooper’s three-phased “reopening” of North Carolina, the nature park will strictly limit visitor numbers to follow social gathering guidelines, while implementing enhanced health and safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and federal, state and local authorities.

Guests will still be able to enjoy Grandfather Mountain’s many wonders, including the Mile High Swinging Bridge, wildlife habitats and hiking trails. However, the park will operate under a limited capacity to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

Rather than purchasing tickets at the park’s entrance gate, visitors must purchase tickets online for a set date and time of entry. This measure limits the number of guests in the park at one time, in accordance with NC’s social gathering guidelines. As such, tickets will not be sold or available at the gate, thus visitors must book online in advance.

Another way to ensure entrance is through Banner Elk’s Grandfather Mountain lodging packages. Your lodging host secures a reservation for admittance at a specific date/time.

Grandfather Mountain hiking“The safety of our guests and staff comes first and foremost,” said Jesse Pope, president and executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit that owns and operates the famed nature preserve. “We will continue to follow the situation closely, while implementing a phased reopening plan closely correlated with Gov. Cooper’s.”

Park officials have enacted operational measures to discourage crowds and encourage social distancing. Main buildings, such as the Nature Museum and Fudge Shop, are operating under reduced capacity.

The Top Shop welcomes a limited number of guests at a time, while the park’s on-site restaurant, Mildred’s Grill, has reopened with limited capacity and tables spaced six feet apart. Mildred’s Grill continues to offer takeout service, allowing guests to dine in their vehicles or at one of the park’s 100-plus picnic sites.

High-traffic pedestrian areas, such as the Mile High Swinging Bridge and wildlife habitats, operate under a one-way directional system to ensure that guests do not come within six feet of each other — the minimum safe distance recommended by the CDC and other health officials.

The number of guests allowed to visit such areas at one time is limited, based on state social gathering recommendations, while a time limit ensures that others can participate in turn. However, guests are welcome revisit such areas during the same trip.

Time limits are not enforced for the park’s less crowded, lower-traffic areas.

The park has enhanced its already stringent cleaning procedures and placed additional sanitization stations in key areas, while boosting staff presence to direct traffic flow and encourage safe social distancing.

Guests who hold season passes through Grandfather’s Bridge Club annual membership program continue to receive free admission, although reservations must still be placed online. Current Bridge Club members whose passes were purchased prior to the closure will have their subscriptions extended by the length of the closure.

Please note that dates and guidelines are subject to change, based on current conditions and federal, state and local regulations. As such, those planning a trip are encouraged to visit www.grandfather.com for updates.

To learn more about Banner Elk’s Grandfather Mountain lodging packages, in which your host arranges park admission for you, click here.

The High Country’s Top Culinary Destination

The High Country’s Top Culinary Destination

Banner_Elk_RestaurantsFor a town with less than 1,500 residents, Banner Elk has an amazing culinary scene. So amazing, in fact, that Banner Elk is known as the culinary hot spot of the NC High Country.

An impressive array of locally-owned independent restaurants has made this resort town a dining destination. Whether you’re in search of a fine-dining white tablecloth experience, an upscale bistro, ethnic cuisine or a satisfying sandwich from a tasty deli, this town’s thriving food scene covers the spectrum.

Artisanal restaurant is the pinnacle of Banner Elk’s culinary offerings, a fine dining restaurant twice named among the Top 100 Restaurants in America by Open Table. Meanwhile, a new name on the Banner Elk dining scene is Chef’s Table, a farm-to-table eatery serving the freshest local ingredients in the High Country.

Speaking of the High Country, if you want a taste of the mountains, don’t leave without ordering fresh trout. Have it for dinner at long-time favorite Banner Elk Cafe & Lodge. Banner Elk Cafe is unique because its two kitchens offer a wide selection of lunches and dinners from two menus.

After a morning or afternoon cruising the slopes of the nearby ski resorts on Sugar and Beech mountains, stop into Dunn’s Deli to refuel. This New York-style deli serves mile-high clubs, tuna melts and cheese-steak sandwiches. Wash it all down with a cold draft.

Sample authentic Cajun cuisine at Louisiana Purchase Food & Spirits or Bayou Smokehouse and Grill. Warm up with gumbo, jambalaya or blackened mountain trout. Bayou has a variety of craft beers on tap, and Louisiana Purchase has received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine.

Since 1985, Stonewalls Restaurant has been a destination for locals and visitors. Now under new ownership, the restaurant has upgraded to a chef-driven menu with plenty of culinary creations. Of course, Stonewalls remains the place for juicy steaks, slow-roasted prime rib and its well-known salad bar.

For international fare, be sure to stop by Puerto Nuevo (Mexican), Sorrento’s Bistro (Italian) and Cam Ranh Bay (Vietnamese).

And don’t skip breakfast while you’re here. Bella’s serves Belgian waffles, stuffed crepes and scratch-made biscuits.

Still hungry? Click here for a full list of Banner Elk restaurants.

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