Winter inns

North Carolina has many fine inns, and for the holidays these award-winners offer elegance, tradition, tranquility and, perhaps, a chance of flurries.

Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Highlands

Appeal: The traditional European look dates to its inception in the late 1800s, on several acres in the heart of town. Accommodations range from historic inn rooms to multi-room suites and rustic lodges. There are several on-site restaurants, highlighted by Madison’s Restaurant (upscale sustainable farm-to-table cuisine).

Holiday tweaks: There are free wine tastings2:30-4 p.m. every Saturday, Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas, with the sommelier dressed a la Charles Dickens.

Nearby: Shopping in Highlands’ many boutiques and galleries; hiking and waterfalls.

Snow? Highlands usually get its share.


Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock

Appeal: Chetola began as a way station before the Civil War and evolved into an upscale summer resort by the early 1900s. The picturesque Blue Ridge property was purchased in 1926 by Charlotte bottler Luther Snyder (“The Coca-Cola King of the Carolinas”) whose family owned it until the 1970s. The original 1846 manor holds Timberlake’s Restaurant and overlooks Chetola Lake.

Holiday tweaks: The annual drive-through Festival of Lights, Nov. 28 through January, features about 25 illuminations arranged between the driveway and the lake. (It’s free-to-see for nonguests; get a brochure at the gatehouse and drive the route.)

Nearby: Upscale shopping in downtown Blowing Rock; Grandfather Mountain is 13 miles away.

Snow? It’s usually on the ground in Watauga County.


Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville

Appeal: The resort overlooks Asheville’s skyline and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The original section was constructed in 1912-1913 (the inn is on the National Register of Historic Places) on the slope of Sunset Mountain. The original Arts and Crafts look of the interior remains strong. Besides the spa, amenities include fine dining, retail shops, nightly entertainment and children’s programs.

Holiday tweaks: National Gingerbread House competition/display is on view throughout the resort Nov. 19 through Jan. 1. The inn also displays close to 100 trees, including 18-footers. Holiday buffets, staff-sung carols and daily live musical entertainment in the Great Hall.

Nearby: Shopping in Asheville, with various holiday events.

Snow? High likelihood.


Fearrington House Country Inn, Pittsboro

Appeal: The inn may date to only 1986, but it was designed to complement the Fearrington House restaurant next door, which was built as a homestead in the 1920s. Enjoy the rural-esque, wood-construction charm. The restaurant is a major draw on its own and a magnet for foodies.

Holiday tweaks: Decorated Fearrington Village center, with cut trees decorated with traditional white lights for a romantic, European feel.

Nearby: Fearrington Village has an array of shops ( Hill is 8 miles north.

Snow? Not likely.


John Bordsen