While Robbinsville offers the tranquil, low-key vibe we all love, there’s not a long list of holiday festivities in town. The good news? Holiday and winter fun are just a short drive away or right out your window.
One of the best pleasures of Lake Santeetlah living is simply pausing and taking in the beauty of the lake, the unspoiled forest and the majestic mountains in spectacular view. A winter day here is sometimes best spent nestled by a fire with a good book – and when the snow rolls in and whitens the mountains across the lake, you’ll feel like you’re in a Winter Wonderland.
Because the weather here is never too extreme, most days are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. The winter months offer the best lake fishing when the colder water temperatures bring bass and walleyes closer to the surface – the fish are sure to bite. Horseback riding this time of year is often the best time, with the quiet serenity of the season. With the trees bare of their leaves, you can experience sweeping and expansive views of the mountains and the beautiful landscape as it rests until spring reemerges.
On days when you’re ready to venture out, hop in the car and enjoy a scenic drive to nearby wintertime joy! A winter drive is a great way soak up the awe-inspiring splendor of the different landscapes and vistas around Lake Santeetlah and throughout Graham County.
For those who love tradition, Robbinsville offers an old-fashion Christmas parade complete with floats, decked out cars, local fire trucks and, the star of the show, Santa Claus. Gather with family and friends – safely distanced, of course – to enjoy the festivities scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Robbinsville High School. Click here for the parade route.
Just 10 minutes away from Santeetlah Lakeside, Tapoco Tavern offers a delicious and festive Christmas Brunch along the Cheoah River. With its cheerful holiday décor, the setting is the perfect backdrop for an impromptu family picture. The Christmas Brunch closes for the season on December 20.
Bryson City (45 minutes away)
A short drive will take you to one of the most popular holiday traditions for kids of all ages – the Polar Express™. Running now through December 31, this famous train ride along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad packs in a lot of jolly with carols, warm cocoa, story time featuring Polar Express (of course!) and the chance to meet Old Saint Nick. Make sure the kids wear the PJs! Purchase your tickets here and get ready to climb aboard!
While you’re in town to catch the train, check out the local shops and galleries for heartfelt gifts, ranging from books and clothes to antiques, and handmade items. With a 50-foot Christmas tree in the center of town square, Downtown Bryson City transforms into an Americana Winter Wonderland that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
If you’d like to venture out a little farther from Santeetlah Lakeside, you can take in some of these holiday traditions and winter destinations:
Maggie Valley (1 hour away)
While it may technically be the “off-season” for this area, it’s a perfect time to visit when things are a bit less crowded and it turns into a winter wonderland. During December, there’s a Santa Workshop for your little elves to enjoy.
And for the outdoor adventurists, Maggie Valley and the surrounding mountains offer great trails for winter hiking and slopes for skiing and snow tubing. Maggie Valley has one of the most popular ski resorts in the Blue Ridge Mountains with slopes for beginners up to experts, as well as a dedicated slope for snowboarders. Check out the Cataloochee Ski Area for more information about skiing and tubing.
Dillsboro & Sylva (about a 1-hour drive)
This artsy town turns into a beautiful holiday setting with Dillsboro’s Lights & Luminaries when more than 2,500 luminaries line the streets. It’s a throwback event to the good ol’ days with storefronts decorated in traditional white lights, live music and socially-distanced visits with Santa. You can catch these cheery events during the first two weekends of December – Dec. 4 & 5 and 11 & 12 from 5 to 9 p.m.
While you’re in Dillsboro, travel just three miles away to visit the nearby downtown of Sylva. It’s one of the top Christmas towns in Western, NC, with its festive décor and holiday spirit.
Asheville (2 hours away)
Christmas at Biltmore is always a spectacular event with the sparkling holiday décor adorning every inch of this splendid home and surrounding grounds. Although a bit different this year due to COVID, you can still enjoy the twinkling lights. Learn more and purchase tickets here.
Although the gingerbread houses will not be on public display at the historically famous Omni Grove Park Inn, the 28th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition is offering alternative ways to experience this popular event. Learn more here.
Touted as Asheville’s brightest holiday tradition, the Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum runs nightly from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. This year it’s a drive-thru event offering spectacular views of gardens, landscapes and nature-inspired exhibits adorned in thousands of lights all from the safety of your car. Purchase tickets here.
Winter offers as much fun as the other seasons at Lake Santeetlah. Enjoy the beauty of this area during this magical time of year. To learn more about Santeetlah Lakeside or to schedule a tour of our private waterfront community, contact a sales representative today.