Holly Jolly Winter Break


Mary Gillon

The Reynolda House is one of many destinations to visit over winter break. If you do not want to pay admission, you may want to consider walking through the surrounding gardens


Winter break is quickly approaching, and you might be wondering what to do with this 12-day vacation. Activities, arts, tours and entertainment through this leave are offered around the Triad and western North Carolina, just quick drive away.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden (Belmont)– For six weeks, ending Dec. 31, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden transforms into a winter wonderland. Each night live music, bonfires, shopping and other activities are offered. On various days, horse-drawn carriage rides are offered and Santa Claus will make appearances (with pre-purchased packages and registration.)

Tanglewood Festival of Lights (Clemmons)– Through Jan. 1, enjoy the classic ride through the lights of Tanglewood. Although it may take a few hours to drive all the way through, the end of the lights will reward you with the Clauses and many warm drinks and delicious treats. To experience a more authentic ride to see the light displays, horse-drawn carriage rides are offered, as well as hayrides. If you enjoy running and want to start off your New Year running amongst the twinkling lights, you can sign up for the Running of the Lights on Dec. 31.

Old Salem (Winston-Salem)– Experience a blast from the past and visit the local Old Salem Village during the holiday season. On Dec. 22, you can take part in “A Christmas Evening in Salem,” with caroling, traditional Salem games, wagon rides and other various activities, after a self-guided tour through the candle-lit village. If you want to treat yo’ self, you can pay $50 for a Candlelight Tour “Putzing” Through Salem to investigate the recent discovery of a clay lamb and how and why it was made. The tour also includes making your own pottery, watching the wood joiners make holiday decorations in their workshop and enjoying fresh-baked treats by a fire. If you’re interested in learning more about the assorted activities offered at Old Salem, you can visit the website http://www.oldsalem.org/

Biltmore House & Gardens (Asheville)– Visit North Carolina’s largest home during winter break at Biltmore until Jan. 7 and tour the massive estate covered in fresh garland and assorted Christmas trees. Choose a meal from the holiday-themed menus at the ground’s restaurant while listening to live choirs. In the evenings, you can listen to live, traditional, holiday music before departing on your self-guided candlelight tour.

Korner’s Folly (Kernersville)– For traditional gifts to give to loved ones at the holiday season, visit Korner’s Folly, a massive Victorian home just a short drive away, until Jan. 8. The house is lined with garland and there are Christmas trees in almost every room. Various tours and experiences are offered through winter break and year-long.

Beech Mountain Ski Resort (Beech Mountain)- If you and your family are looking for a fun, chilly winter getaway, take a drive to Beech Mountain, located just on the outskirts of our state. Lodges, hotels and other lodging is available to stay after an active day of skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and many other winter festivities. There are other recreational activities offered, like golfing, biking, hiking and taking short drives to other surrounding areas like Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Centennial Christmas at Reynolda (Winston-Salem)– On Dec. 19, be guided on a tour through the decorated Reynolda House as the house and its staff celebrates its 100th Christmas, guided by butlers, nurses, party-goers, and a school teacher from 1917. The tours depart every 15 minutes from 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and is free with the admission to the house, $18 for general admission and free for members, students and veterans with valid IDs, children under 18 and Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center employees.

A Christmas Carol presented by: Triad Stage (Winston-Salem)– Until Dec. 24, enjoy the festive and classic Christmas play, directed by Sarah Hankins, about Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits of Christmas at the Hanes Brands Theater in downtown Winston.

Christmas Town USA (McAdenville)– Just a few miles outside of Charlotte, you can drive through the streets of Christmas Town USA (free of charge), which is in its 62nd year. The houses and surrounding areas are strung with lights and holiday decorations and are open to viewing from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday- Friday and 5:30- 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

NC Symphony/ A Candlelight Christmas (Raleigh)– On Dec. 23 at 7 p.m., the NC Symphony will perform with the Raleigh Children’s Christmas Chorus at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts.