There’s a lot of holiday magic happening in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and no better place to experience it all than the delightful small town of Bryson City. This peaceful mountain town bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and neighbor to the Cherokee Indian Reservation, is filled with the spirit of the holidays. There will be ice skating, cookies, hot cocoa and a main street decked out with garland and twinkling lights with at 50 foot Christmas tree in the town square.
Here, we’ll be close to nature and can escape to the solitude of the forest as we walk an easy trail leading to three cascading waterfalls, have the opportunity to view majestic elk grazing in open meadows, and relax on a scenic train excursion. We’ll step into grandeur at The Biltmore, a spectacular sight to see and explore the estate’s past at Antler Hill Village. Small town charm meets big Christmastime fun throughout the region, with each town having a special way to celebrate the holidays, from luminaries to festive hayrides and horse drawn carriage rides to gingerbread houses. So grab your Santa hat and join us on our Smoky Mountain Christmas adventure!
Day One: Bryson City
Welcome to Bryson City, small town America filled with a variety of shops showcasing area artisans, friendly restaurants and two breweries.
Let’s check into the Historic Calhoun House where you can relax and unpack and take in the charms of the town and join us for an included dinner later in the evening.
Day Two: Deep Creek Waterfalls
Let’s get out and explore the wondrous nature of the Great Smoky Mountains! Today you’ll have the option to join us on a waterfall adventure at Deep Creek, part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy the solitude as you walk along the wooded loop path past three sparkling waterfalls, taking in the beauty of nature.
Walk the entire loop of 2.5 miles or take an easy ¼ mile stroll to Tom Branch Falls where you can sit in the peaceful surroundings.
It’s only another 1/3 mile along the rushing Deep Creek to Indian Creek Falls or wander directly to the short, 1/3-mile uphill trail to sit atop the bridge across the 90-foot Juney Whank Waterfall.
Darnell Farms Christmas:
Once back in town, enjoy lunch and the afternoon on your own before our evening outing to experience Christmas at Darnell Farms.
Enjoy the Christmas wonderland atmosphere and a hayride through the lights while enjoying a delicious cup of cocoa.
The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy in Bryson City with dinner on your own wherever you please.
Day Three: Biltmore Christmas
Today we step into extravagance at George Vanderbilt’s wondrous Biltmore Estate, an enchanting place that’s even more magical when adorned for the holidays.
Take your time on a self-guided tour of the impressive 250 room chateau, Biltmore House, that’s a feast for the senses featuring fragrant wreaths, miles of glittering garland and the sparkle of thousands of ornaments.
Antler Hill Village:
Spend the day at your leisure exploring the gardens and Antler Hill Village filled with unique shops, restaurants for lunch on your own and lots of Christmas cheer.
Pop into the Antler Hill Winery for an included tasting!
Gingerbread House Competition:
As we make our way back to Bryson City, we can’t miss the National Gingerbread House Competition at the beautifully historic Grove Park Omni. Gaze in amazement at the whimsical, elaborate handmade gingerbread houses of every shape, size, complexity, and theme.
Tonight we’ll enjoy an included dinner together at the marvelous Omni.
Day Four: Great Smoky Mountain Railway
All aboard the Great Smoky Mountain Railway for a relaxing ride through the quiet countryside along the Tuckasegee River.
Enjoy the scenery passing by your vintage car window while snacking on an included boxed lunch.
We’ll have a stopover in the tiny Christmas village of Dillsboro, with its charming Main Street filled with delightfully rustic galleries brimming with handmade crafts, pottery, and all kinds of wonderful artisan creations.
Wander this festive wonderland as you please and don’t miss the delicious chocolate factory!
Elk Viewing, Hopefully!:
As dusk approaches, we’ll take our chances to spot some elk grazing in the grasses and open meadows surrounding the Onconaluftee Visitor Center & Mountain Farm Museum.
Once back in town, feel free to enjoy the evening on your own.
Day Five: Flight Home
Depending on our flight time, we will either enjoy a leisurely morning before making our way to the airport or spend one last afternoon in another small town for more Christmastime fun.
Pricing & Departures:
Air transportation is provided by United Airlines. A surcharge will apply if United Airlines increases the price of its airfare. One piece of luggage per person (baggage fee by United is not included) and one small carry-on are permitted. A valid, government-issued picture ID is required to board the plane.
Tuesday, December 5: Flight #3503 departs Newark at 9:29 AM and arrives in Ashville at 11:47 PM
Saturday, December 9: Flight #3418 departs Ashville at 12:51 PM and arrives in Newark at 3:08 PM
Price per person is $2,195 Twin & $2,345 Single. No reservations accepted without a deposit of $350 per person. Make checks payable to Group Tours & Travel and mail to the above address. Final payment is due October 5, 2023. Deposits are fully refundable if cancellation occurs on or before October 5, 2023. There are no refunds if cancellation occurs after October 5, 2023. Travel protection/cancellation coverage is available and highly recommended (cost is approximately 10% of the total cost of the tour) but not included. One piece of luggage per person and one small carry-on is permitted. Group Tours is not responsible for any delays, cancellations, injuries or circumstances beyond its control and reserves the right to change this itinerary. All trip components are subject to change in accordance with Government, State and Local guidelines and/or mandates. This tour will run rain or shine.
*Due to the changes in airline booking policies, airfare will need to be booked before the cancellation date, Once flights are booked, we cannot refund that portion of the tour unless you’d like to pay an additional cost for refundable tickets.
Upon submitting final payment you are agreeing to our new policy.
Wet Blanket Policy:
– a person who makes it difficult for other people to enjoy themselves by complaining, acting negatively, creating drama, etc.
– one that quenches or dampens enthusiasm or pleasure
- Our philosophy of travel involves getting out of the ordinary to experience other cultures and places with an open minded attitude and flexibility. Since as in daily life, anything can and will happen, let’s embrace these situations with acceptance and understanding because they will either lead to an unexpected, amazing experience or positive learning experience.
- If anyone brings along excess baggage such as incessant complaining, under the breath rude comments, outward negativity or other such behaviors that infect the entire group or individuals, we have the exclusive right to remove them from the tour at their own cost with no refunds. (yes, this means you)
- If any major concerns arise during a tour, please just come talk to us and we’ll work it out!
The Educated Wanderer
Group Tours & Travel
PO Box 632 Berwyn, PA 19312