October 18, 2013 12:00 AM

Boone & Blowing Rock

The Watauga County area is known nationwide for some of the country’s best Christmas trees – and it’s a short drive away. There’s great fun (and savings, too) in choosing a tree from a wintry mountain meadow, with hot chocolate steaming nearby. Pair that with an uncrowded early-season day on the slopes, a Christmas parade, or a shopping stroll through one-of-a-kind shops in a brightly lit mountain downtown like Boone, Blowing Rock or Banner Elk, and the ambiance of a pre-Christmas trip to the mountains is hard to beat.

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