By Melissa Moyles
Happy 2023! The holidays just blew by amiright?! Over New Years we wanted to find Winter so headed to North Carolina to do all the things.
You may remember we visited the North Carolina mountains back in February. That time we visited Beech mountain and you can see all our fun in this post.
This time, we decided to stay 40 minutes east in Blowing Rock. We had never visited before but wanted to ski and nearby Appalachian Mountain took reservations for rentals and kid camp well in advance.
We have used Airbnb for years and it is definitely hit or miss. This time was a huge hit! The home was 3 bedrooms and could easily fit a family of 6. There were frame TVs in every room and the foosball table in the basement was a highlight for my 3 daughters. Here is the link for your next stay.
Appalachian Mountain – Skiing and Ice Skating
Appalachian Mountain is located 10 minutes from downtown blowing rock and has a beginner friendly ski mountain and ice skating ring. My 3 Florida girls have ski’d a few times before so we skipped kid camp in favor for an hour long private lesson. They loved the instruction and mom and dad loved a free hour to hit the blues and blacks.
After their lesson, we joined the girls on the ski lifts for another day and a half of green and blue runs. I was shocked the mountain wasn’t busy for New Years Weekend. Such a difference from Beech and Sugar!
Rentals were hassle free and we rented a 2 day locker for only $10 so didn’t have to schlep our gear back to our Airbnb.
On our 3rd day we had some time to kill so decided to check out the Ice Skating Rink. It was a little pricy and overcrowded IMO and my Florida girls only lasted 30 minutes on the ice. We still had fun and I hit up the gift shop for my obligatory travel sweater souvenir.
Downtown Blowing Rock
The highlight of any of our trips is always food. I only have 1 rule while traveling: we don’t eat on vacation what we can eat at home.
For our first ski day, we stopped at Town Tavern for Apres Ski. It was upgraded bar food and my kids devoured the loaded tater tots. After lunch, we grabbed Ice Cream and Fudge at Kilwin’s. Although it is a chain, we don’t have one in my town so it still follows my only vacation rule.
On ski day two, a friend had recommended we stop in at Sixpence Irish Pub. My girls love Reubens and Shepherd’s Pie so it was an easy family win. My husband and I enjoyed the North Carolina local beers on tap.
Our last night in North Carolina also happened to be New Years Day. We wanted something a little fancier and on another friend’s recommendation, I thankfully made a reservation a couple days before at Speckled Trout. The espresso martini was amazing! I may have had two… My kid’s favorite was the pimento cheese and biscuits and my husband and I both had the trout. I highly recommend a visit!
Boone, North Carolina
Nearby Appalachian Mountain is Boone. Boone is most known as the home of Appalachian State University. It’s also the closest major town to Appalachian Mountain so a good place to stop if you need a Walmart.
For our 3rd full day in NC, we skipped skiing and instead went for a tourist favorite; Gem Mining. There are a bunch to choose from but as it was a cold day, indoor mining at Foggy Mountain Gem Mine was a good fit for us. We splurged on the Motherlode 11 gallon pail for the girls. My husband used a shovel to dump dirt in each of the girls pans which they ran through the water to find gems of all kinds. They loved the activity and had tons of souvenirs to come home with.
The employees at Foggy Mountain were so helpful! After my girls were finished mining, they took their treasures to the counter where a helpful woman spent 20 minutes sorting and explaining all the different stones they found. They also each chose one of their findings to have tumbled and smoothed. It will be shipped to our home next month.
We worked up quite an appetite gem mining and decide to check out downtown Boone, right next to App State. We were craving sandwiches and the woman at Foggy Mountain recommended Macado’s. I did not plan on eating Cinnamon rolls but the smell of fresh baked pastries smacks you in the face as soon as you walk in. Just try to resist! They haver over 50 sandwiches on their menu and my chicken salad choice, Custer’s Last Stand, was beyond delicious!
I love North Carolina. I love the way the mountains smell. I love the friendly people with quaint accents. I love how my kids run around and get off their screens.
I do however hate driving and will probably not repeat the 11 hour road trip. Charlotte is under 2 hours away and an easy direct flight from my local hometown airport. If you can swing the flights, I highly recommend it.
Would you visit the North Carolina Mountains? What else would you do with the kids?
Happy 2023! Melissa and Girls