Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Take plunge if you dare: Winterfest in Blowing Rock

Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake
            It’s fricking cold out there. I’m sitting here writing this blog with a cup of hot coffee and thick slippers on my feet. But if you’re like many people who embrace winter and all that it entails, check out Winterfest Jan. 23-26 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. (Even the name makes me shiver!)
            The town voted one of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns by Travel and Leisure Magazine (and I can second that accolade) offers a Chilly Chili Cook-Off, WinterFeast, bonfires, WinterPaws Dog Show, Winter Fashion Show, ice carving demonstrations, The King Bees in Concert and so much more. There’s even a Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake, which is just plum insane!
            Here’s some winter trivia for you — North Carolina owns the highest ski areas and the largest snow tubing on the East Coast, plenty of fun winter activities such as Winterfest and the French-Swiss Ski College at Appalachian Ski Mountain. There are several ski options around the Blowing Rock area, surrounded by a range of accommodations, from hotels to rustic cabins.
Chetola Lake in winter
            We’d suggest the quaint Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock with its hiking trails, pond (where insane people plunge into its icy waters), spa, heated indoor pool (for the more reasonable) and fine dining at Timberlake’s Restaurant in the Manor House Estate (named for North Carolina artist Bob Timberlake not Justin). Charming Blowing Rock with its quaint shops and restaurants is within walking distance.
            For more information on Winterfest and its list of fun activities, visit http://www.blowingrockwinterfest.com/. For more information on North Carolina skiing, visit the North Carolina Ski Areas Association at http://goskinc.com.

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