Where should we hole up for Christmas?
October 29, 2019 7:28 AM   Subscribe

For the first time EVER, Mr. Dorinda and I will be doing Christmas with just the two of us (and our dogs). To stave off any homesickness that might afflict us (read: me) when we’re away from the hustle and bustle of Full Family Christmas, we’d like to help make our first Us-mas a little special by spending it somewhere cute, quaint, homey, Christmasy, and not too far of a drive from our house. Where should we go?!

We’re thinking of taking 3 or 4 nights over Christmas to snuggle up somewhere and enjoy our quiet, private holiday. We will be going the AirBnB/VRBO route since we’ll be bringing the dogs. Ideally, we’ll find some sort of cabin/farmhouse/guesthouse with a fenced yard where they can play (in the snow?!). But before we look for the perfect AirBnB, we need to decide on the perfect town/area! That’s where you come in!!

I’m picturing a very Hallmark movie-esque sort of vibe: think Stars Hollow, or cabin in the snowy woods, or Victorian carrollers, or things like that. Cheesy! Comforting! Cozy!
Here’s what we’d like our Christmas cave to have:
- driving distance (like, maybe 5 hours max? But could be persuaded to go farther) from Durham, NC
- snow potential would be nice!
- close to nice hiking opportunities
- close-ish to some sort of quaint, charming small-ish town where we can get groceries and maybe a good (and vegan-friendly) restaurant meal or two
- good Christmas/holiday/winter festival vibes (I don’t really know what I mean by this...so interpret as you like!)
- maybe a cute local/regional theatre in town where we can see a festive play

On our list of places we’re considering so far (chosen mostly at random!) are:
- Staunton, VA (only drawback here is we’ve been a lot, so it’s not new to us)
- Asheville, NC (same as above)
- Gatlinburg, TN
- Charleston, SC

Where else should we be looking? Tell us your favorite festive holiday place in the southeast US!!
posted by Dorinda to Travel & Transportation around United States (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Blue Ridge, Georgia is a lovely area. A lot of dog friendly cabin rentals. Check out Escape to Blue Ridge.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 7:30 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Boone area? Haven't been there since the mid 90s tho.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:57 AM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

(or really anywhere else on the eastern front of the Appalachians that you haven't been to a bunch -- Charlottesville, Luray, etc)
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:59 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you been to Williamsburg at the holidays? It's very well-decorated and pretty. I can't speak to much of the rest, though, because I haven't been during the holidays since maybe 1996.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 8:22 AM on October 29, 2019

My first thought was that you could stay at Nantahala Village with its panoply of quaint cottages, which is in Bryson City NC and appears to have some doings planned for Christmas.
posted by DrGail at 8:34 AM on October 29, 2019

I wanted to recommend somewhere that is probably already on your list, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is likely to be snow there, but many of the trails will still be passable. Stay in Asheville, as it's closer to you and Gatlinburg is more heavily touristified.

Charleston, SC is also lovely, interesting and quite historic, though I don't think you'll get snow. But the same distance away, in the opposite direction, is Washington, DC, where there are soooo many things to do, many of them free, and soooo many great restaurants.
posted by ubiquity at 9:14 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Boone is really lovely. You can drive out on the parkway, check out the Cone Mansion depending on their holiday hours, go eat some BBQ at the Peddlin Pig if y'all eat meat (get the chicharrones, trust me, they'll change your life) [oh, well, I just saw the vegan friendly, then no, but everyone else: go to Boone, get the chicharrones], look at the view from the Blowing Rock, go hiking (so much hiking), bump around Main Street with each other. Boone is like Asheville but smaller and nicer and less overrun with craft breweries (and I love me some Asheville).

Snow potential... well, you're in Durham, you know whether we get snow over the holidays, even in the mountains, is a crapshoot. :)
posted by joycehealy at 9:16 AM on October 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

You might consider West Virginia or the Western part of Virginia, say Blacksburg. Back when I was an undergrad winter quarter involved trudging through snow to get to classes. They're definitely more likely to have snow than Durham.
posted by research monkey at 10:29 AM on October 29, 2019

According to Google, my hometown of Shepherdstown, WV is almost exactly 5 hours from Durham. It's very small and quaint, and there's a lot of general Christmas excitement (lights on all the downtown storefronts, holiday markets every weekend in December, tree lighting event, etc). There aren't a ton of restaurants, but the ones that do exist are really good (and considering the town's general crunchy-hippie bent, I wouldn't expect it to be difficult to get some good vegan meals). The area has lots of great little hikes -- check out Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry for a beautiful view over the convergence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Snow on Christmas is unlikely, but I've definitely seen it happen! Absolutely no idea what the AirBnB market is like there.

Here is the town's event calendar. Gotta say, I did not realize we had carriage rides and whatever "Tuba Christmas" is.
posted by catoclock at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2019

Montreal? It's beautiful for Christmas with all the lights and the shopping mails and the snow. And ho, I have a Airbnb from about 30 minutes from the City :) I aslo made an article about the tourism in Montreal, take a look!
posted by NathalieBou at 6:54 AM on October 30, 2019

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