Cold air in the mountains carries with it the scents of wood smoke, baked apples and cinnamon, pine, and Christmas. Pretty soon there will also be the tingle of snow flakes on the bridge of your nose. Temporary masterpieces in frost will appear overnight on the windows, and previously unsightly patches of mud will magically be transformed into miniature crystal castles. Everywhere there is the feeling of anticipation…….
Maggie Valley before Thanksgiving is a town waiting for snow. The summer attractions are closed for the winter and the winter attractions are waiting for temperatures to drop enough to start blowing snow. Tube World had just started making snow the day before I was there, and enough was left on the ground to get my hopes up for the season. I have been told that we will have a lot of snow this winter because “the corn shucks are really thick this year.” Actually I think the wooly worms are more reliable. And of course the blue berries on the hedge bushes have been extra bountiful this fall. Cataloochee Ski Area should begin the ski and snowboarding season in the beginning of December. You may want to consider ski lessons for the family if winter is really going to be long and cold this year. Check their website for group specials and slope conditions.
After you ski, you can warm up in one of the shops or restaurants in Maggie Valley. The Cabbage Rose is locally famous for its Christmas tree displays. As you enter the Christmas room this year, a white tree hangs upside down with mermaids and fish ornaments. A “flurry” machine projects white dots of light for the bubble effect. It is designed for use outside on your house to create an illusion of falling snow. Another section has huge silver and white ornaments that would easily grace a corporate office. The owners have now designed their own line of ornaments called “December Diamonds” that will be available nationally. The Dept.56 village displays remind me of the store windows in New York Citywhen I was a child.
I like to collect items from each place I visit with its town name on it: magnets, thimbles, wood boxes. One place to find these and other fun things is the Maggie Mountaineer Crafts. Like most creative people, I have a well-developed sense of the ridiculous. My mother lives alone and complains that her house is too quiet, so I bought her a smiley face on a stick that makes a noise when you shake it. The postage will be worth the laugh she will get out of it! Many of the stores in Maggie Valley are within walking distance of each other. Take the skiers up the mountain and let the less adventurous browse the shops. Check out the antique car lot and the vintage motorcycle museum.
Directions: 441n 18 miles to Dillsboro; right on 23 to 2nd exit for hwy 276; 2 miles to red light for hwy 19; left to Maggie Valley