Tweetsie Railroad Announces Early Season Pricing for Season Passes

It’s almost time to listen for the train whistle through the woods. It’s neat to have Tweetsie Railroad close by and we enjoy telling others about this beloved theme park.


A Golden Rail Season Pass is the best and most economical way to enjoy a season full of Wild West fun and adventure at Tweetsie Railroad. Between now and April 10, adults can purchase a 2016 Season Pass to North Carolina’s first theme park for the discounted price of $95, and children ages 3 through 12 for $65. After April 10, rates increase to $105 for adults and $75 for children. Children 2 and under are always admitted for free. Guests can purchase Season Passes or renew last year’s Season Passes online at

Tweetsie Railroad will open for its 2016 season on April 8 and will remain open through October 30. Returning guests can expect a season filled with everything they have come to know and love about Tweetsie Railroad, and new guests can look forward to discovering why generations of families eagerly return to Tweetsie Railroad year after year.

The centerpiece of Tweetsie Railroad is its trains: guests are treated to a Wild West adventure while on board a train pulled by one of Tweetsie Railroad’s two historic steam locomotives. Visitors can also explore an authentic Western town, enjoy amusement rides, take in live shows and entertainment, pan for gold, and visit the animals at the Deer Park Zoo.

Tweetsie Railroad has a busy lineup of special events planned for the 2016 season. Popular annual events like:

  • Day Out With Thomas™
  • July Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza
  • K-9s in Flight Frisbee® Dogs
  • Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train® Halloween Festival
  • Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego – stars of Nickelodeon’s hit animated preschool series

Golden Rail Season Pass holders receive a full season of adventure at Tweetsie Railroad, along with other great benefits:

  • General park admission to Tweetsie Railroad throughout the 2016 season, including admission to all special events
  • Free parking for Tweetsie Railroad’s July Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza, the High Country’s most popular Independence Day celebration
  • One ride with Thomas the Tank Engine™ at no additional charge
  • One admission to Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train® Halloween Festival on the night of your choice

To order or renew a Golden Rail Season Pass, visit or call 1-877-TWEETSIE.

Tweetsie Railroad will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting April 8, and seven days a week fromMay 27 through August 21. The park returns to the weekend schedule from August 22 through October 30, including Labor Day Monday. The 2016 season ends Sunday, October 30. The park’s regular hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but will be open until 9:00 p.m. on July 4th for the Fireworks Extravaganza and July 9, 16, 23 and 30 for Cool Summer Nights. Daily admission to Tweetsie Railroad is $44 for adults and $28 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. The Ghost Train® Halloween Festival will take placeFriday and Saturday nights September 23 through October 29 from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., with an admission price of $36 for adults and children. Tickets and Golden Rail Season Passes are available at

Tweetsie Railroad is located on U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. For more information about the 2016 season at Tweetsie Railroad, visit or call 877.TWEETSIE(877.893.3874). Find Tweetsie Railroad on Facebook at

‘Frozen’ Playing on the Big Screen at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Fans who haven’t made it out to Charlotte Motor Speedway to see the all-new light display at Speedway Christmas have even more reason this week to make room on their calendar for the biggest and brightest light show around.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Christmas Lights

All week leading up to Christmas, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than a trip through the 3 million lights and bustling Christmas village that make Speedway Christmas a can’t-miss family tradition. Here are a few of the highlights fans will enjoy this week:

Frozen Playing on the Big Screen Every Night

The hit Disney film “Frozen” will be playing on the enormous, 16,000-square-foot big screen HDTV in the infield every night this week (excluding Christmas Day). There’s no better way to watch the already-classic story than at Speedway Christmas, drive-in style. Families can enjoy the movie from the warmth of their cars by tuning their car radios to 101.5 FM to hear the film’s audio.

Pictures With Santa, Ice Princess

In addition to snapping a photo with Santa (through Dec. 24), fans will also have the opportunity to interact with an ice princess every night this week, except Christmas Day. Fans can find the princess in the Christmas village. Don’t miss out on a special chance to take a photo with the royal guest.

Christmas Village Open All Week

The lively Christmas village will extend its holiday hours and be open every night throughout Christmas week, except Christmas Day. Fans can experience the real-life feeling of ancient Bethlehem, visit friendly animals at the petting zoo, make their own commemorative crafts in the Elves’ Workshop, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, roast marshmallows and so much more.

Last Chance to Visit Santa Claus

Christmas is getting closer, but it’s still not too late for fans to make sure Santa knows what’s on their wish list. Speedway Christmas visitors can meet Santa every night through Christmas Eve to make sure they’ve made the nice list. Fans will even have the chance to snap a photo with the jolly ol’ elf before his big night!

Speedway Christmas is open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 30, excluding Christmas Day. Tickets are available online or at the gate. Admission at the gate is $25 per car through Christmas Eve. Group rates are available.

Need details? Call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit the website.

Top Ten Family Christmas Events in North Carolina

It’s my favorite time of the year. Christmas in the Carolinas can bring forth great joy for your family. North Carolina is an amazing state as we have the beautiful blue ridge mountains on the western side and the great Atlantic Ocean beaches on the eastern side. In no particular order, here are our top ten Christmas events you will enjoy with your family this holiday season!

1. Christmas at the Billy Graham LibraryFrom December 1, 2015 until December 23, 2015,  you and your family can enjoy this event by taking a short drive down Highway 321! Beginning at 5:00 pm each day (except Sunday), you will see the beautiful Billy Graham Library all decorated for Christmas. Your family can enjoy the live nativity scene that offers a glimpse into the first Christmas. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides ($7 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under) through beautiful light displays. (Begins at 5 p.m.) Listen to heartwarming sounds of joyful carolers and festive Christmas music and a delightful story time with the kids.


2. The 23rd National Gingerbread House Competition, the largest of its kind in the U.S. and hosted by The Omni Grove Park Inn, is taking place Monday, November 16! To celebrate the annual event, the edible gingerbread masterpieces will be on display at the property from Nov. 18, 2015, through Jan. 3, 2016. This holiday season, The Omni Grove Park Inn will also be dressing up, displaying 80-themed Christmas trees, thousands of twinkling lights and multiple roaring fireplaces throughout the property — with the sweet scent of gingerbread in the air. Since launching the contest in 1992, the competition remains a beloved celebration at the historic Inn, with resort guests and visitors eagerly anticipating the hundreds of intricate and stunning holiday designs on display.

Grove Park Inn Gingerbread Competition

2014 Grand Prize Winner in Teen Category

3. Speedway Christmas – (November 21 – December 30) Speedway Christmas is returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway and is even bigger and better in its sixth year. Speedway Christmas will have over 3,000,000 lights with a new and greatly improved lights-to-music drive-thru section!

Christmas Village will be open Thursday-Sunday and will include a petting zoo, Bethlehem village, horse-drawn wagon rides, photos with Santa, and more.

Movie nights have been expanded to every village night – Thursday through Sunday! Come see your favorite Christmas movies like Frozen, Elf, and more on a giant 16,000-square-foot high-definition TV!


4. Chetola Resort Festival of Lights – Chetola has a beautiful array of Christmas lights that your family can take a stroll or drive thru for free. They also have Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday Packages that your family can take part in and create wonderful Christmas memories.

Chetola Festival of Lights

5. McAdenville Christmas Town – I have been visiting McAdenville since I was a little girl. This will be the 60th year that this little town has turned into a Christmas Town. There is no charge to go see these lights and your will create new Christmas memories each time you go. The lights are turned on December 1st through December 26th. Monday through Friday the lights are on from 5:30 to 9:30pm and on Saturday and Sunday nights, the lights are lit from 5:30 – 11:00pm.



6. Beary Merry Christmas officially begins with “Light Up the Season,” an annual family event that welcomes Santa and illuminates Bear Plaza with hundreds of lights Nov. 27. During the following days during this festive holiday celebration, you can enjoy a Mistletoe March, sledding, shopping and other activities.


Photo Credit:

7. Meadow Lights – Located in Benson, NC. Their website says: “The largest and oldest Christmas attraction in Eastern North Carolina!” Meadow Lights began more than 40 years ago and they keep growing larger with lights every year. Some of the displays include an authentic manger scene, carousel scenes, and much more. The Meadow Lights also offers three trains that travel through a colorful area of lights that children and adults can enjoy.

Meadow Lights

8. Tanglewood Festival of Lights – Tanglewood is another fun festival of lights that has been a long tradition of my family’s Christmas! My girls enjoy this so much. We ride through with our windows rolled down and just ohhh and ahhh over all the lights. Each year Tanglewood will add more additions so it is fun to see the new traditions. Also, halfway through the lights, you can park and go through a Christmas shop from local crafters. When you finish shopping, you can go go the the fire pit and stand around and roast marshmallows. The Festival of Lights is open nightly from November 21 through January 3, 2016 from 6:00 – 11:00 pm, including holidays. Suggestion: Attend Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to avoid long lines.Tanglewood festival_of_lights

Rates are the same throughout the week.
– Family: cars, vans and trucks: $15
– Commercial: vans, limos and mini-buses: $35
– Motorcoaches and buses: $100

Save money by coming on a Discount Night:
On the following nights ONLY, receive reduced pricing!
– Monday, November 23rd
– Tuesday, November 24th
– Monday, November 30th
– Tuesday, December 1st

– Family: cars, vans and trucks: $5
– Commercial: vans, limos and mini-buses: $15
– Motorcoaches and buses: $65

9. Lights on the Neuse – Clayton, NC is the place for a fun family Christmas hayride. Their site says: “The hayride whisks you and your loved ones away to a transformed world of Christmas spirit. Pause to reflect on the true reason for the season, celebrate the joy of the birth of Jesus and feel the merriness of Christmas cheer and magic invade you and your family members with an outstanding Christmas Lights Extravaganza at Lights on the Neuse.” Ticket prices are Adults (12 and over) – $10 and Children (3-11) – $7.


10. Christmas at the Barnyard – (Newport, NC) Celebrate the Christmas season Barnyard-style! Enjoy an evening farm tour petting the animals under hundreds of Christmas lights and decorations. Let the kids visit with Santa in his big red sleigh while sipping on hot chocolate. Hang out with your family by our bonfire as you listened to Christmas music and watch the lights on the farm twinkle. All activities are included in the gate fee except hot chocolate. Decorated live Christmas wreaths for sale.

Admission: Gate fee is $6 per person, 2-years-old and older; under 2 is free

Deal Alert: FREE Child Admission to the Carolina Renaissance Festival!

Carolina Renaissance Festival

Can you believe this will be the 22nd year for the family fun Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, NC? Go ahead and mark the dates on your calendar so you can plan a trip with the family. The festival will open October 3rd and be open each weekend through November 22nd.

The family can time travel to the Carolina Renaissance Festival where history comes alive with non-stop day-long entertainments, arts and crafts, games and rides, jousting knights on horseback, feasting and so much more! Each day inside the 25 acre Village of Fairhaven is filled with an abundance of attractions and entertainments for all ages.

Carolina Renaissance Festival Huntersville NC

feast-fit-for-a-king Carolina Renaissance Festival

Guess what? I have great news. My readers get to save with your visit – FREE Child Admission! – Receive one FREE child admission for children age 5 – 12 with purchase of one full price adult ticket at Festival gate. Children under 5 are always free. Coupon is valid at the Festival ticket booth! Click here for your coupon.

When is peak season for fall color in North Carolina?

As I walk across campus at Appalachian State University, I see the leaves beginning to change. The color started out subtle but now is increasing as each day passes.

fall colors in NC mountains

fall foliage NC mountains

Isn’t it amazing how the leaves change into different colors? Fall and Winter are my two favorite seasons. I just cannot quit smiling when I see the color changes and the temperatures start to dip.

When will peak season be? Michael Denslow of the Department of Biology at Appalachian State University created this map to show the timing of the fall colors in the North Carolina mountains.


The two gentleman explain in full detail on their Biology website how assumption is made for the peak dates of fall colors. Hope you will schedule a trip to see our beautiful mountains this fall. You will not be disappointed. I will post pictures over the next few weeks to update you with the beautiful colors across the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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