Where to spend Christmas?
November 25, 2019 9:28 AM   Subscribe

My sister and I plan to spend Christmas together avoiding messy family stuff. It needs to be 6 hours or fewer drive time from Columbus, Ohio -or- quite near central N Carolina. Wild Card: near or en route to Fairfield, IA is possible. I don't want to be spendy, sister prefers amenities, will adapt to more basic options, not tenting, heat (fireplace) & hot water req'd. Many State and possibly National Parks have nice cabins. I'm good with cooking our meals or a restaurant for Christmas dinner. Limit per night is 125. Map We both like walking, nature, arts, books, bookstores, good food/ restaurants, avoiding immediate family.
posted by Mom to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about western North Carolina, like near Asheville? A tiny bit further from Columbus, but close, and certainly accessible from central NC and an easy trip from Charlotte. I'd say to get a cabin or nice rental house near Asheville. It's the off-season, and while there might be a bump around Christmas, it isn't a super popular destination that time of year. And Asheville itself is a charming city. You could spend a day or two walking around downtown and go for a hike in the woods other days.

My other suggestion is Charlottesville, VA. Have you been? It'll be quiet without students in town for the holidays, and it's got a very charming downtown area where you can stroll around and poke in little shops. Plus it's easy enough to explore lots of interestingnatural attactions all along the Blue Ridge.

National park lodging can be quite pricey and pretty remote from books and stores and restaurants except what's available in the park itself.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:47 AM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding Asheville. Meets all your criteria, is due south (warmer), and is awesome. Such an awesome town and in the middle of lots of state and fed parkland (Pisgah!). Not an expensive town at all, particularly in the winter.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 10:50 AM on November 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Berkeley Springs, WV is off the beaten path and just under 5 hours from Columbus. It has great cabins/B&B options, a downtown area for walking, shopping (antiques, books, clothing boutiques, etc) and a significant artist scene; it's also known for its natural hot springs and has a couple spas. Very affordable compared to similar better known places. If you need a housing recommendation let me know, I have a contact there who rents out some really beautiful secluded cabins at a few different price points.
posted by nightrecordings at 11:18 AM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Athens, OH and the Hocking Hills, as long as you don't mind the possibility of driving in snow. A lot like Asheville, but much closer to Columbus. I have stayed at Bear Run Cabins a bunch of times; their smaller cabin is $149/night but other cabins in the area might be cheaper. Athens is awesome, eat at Casa Nueva and you can also cook in the cabins.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:26 AM on November 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

We spent a great New Years in Athens, Ohio. We rented a vacation home for a big group so I don't have specific recommendations for small rentals but just want to +1 ChuraChua's answer.
posted by muddgirl at 3:02 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Some good suggestions above. You might also consider Yellow Springs, OH, and Cincinnati (which I hear has gotten really hip lately?).
posted by slidell at 3:54 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Lots of good recs so far (and if it were me I'd be all for staying warmer somewhere further south), but as a Cincinnatian I'll throw another vote out for Cinci. Events/activities would really depend on the dates, but I know the Krohn Conservatory is open on Christmas day. If you find yourself interested and want any help researching feel free to send me a message.

Red River Gorge is also a great scenic area in the Daniel Boone National Forest if you're looking for something a little quieter.
posted by enigmango at 5:15 PM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, Red River Gorge! That's a good idea.
posted by slidell at 3:18 PM on November 26, 2019

That said, with Red River Gorge, do you get restaurants? Maybe so, I'm not sure about that. But that's why I was thinking that Yellow Springs could be good, because you'll get that restaurant / Main Street thing in a small town setting with hiking right there. Also, you could drive to Clifton Mill to see a massive Christmas lights display. Then again, Yellow Springs might be too close to Columbus to really feel special, IDK.
posted by slidell at 3:37 PM on November 26, 2019

Response by poster: Slidell, I love Yellow Springs, but there's family there, and personal history in Cincy.
posted by Mom at 9:26 AM on November 27, 2019

Response by poster: Sister decided to stay in Cols after all. I used it to start a road trip to Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia. And visited YS, because, Hippies!
posted by Mom at 9:21 AM on January 3, 2020

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