Seven Ways to Help Kids Beat the Mid-Winter Blues in Buncombe County, NC
Within this list, we will encourage several outdoor options. Even though it is cold, with the proper preparation, you can enjoy nature in western North Carolina throughout the season. There is something special about getting out in our beautiful area this time of year.
1) Go for a Winter Hike
Winter may not appear to be the best season for hiking, but there are some unexpected benefits to hiking in the winter. Because the leaves have fallen off the trees, formerly obscured sights have become spectacularly clear.
What would typically be a trek through the forest can produce scenery you would not realize is available during spring and summer.
The following are a few of the top winter hikes near Buncombe County:
- Catawba Falls Trail: 2.3-mile out-and-back with a waterfall.
- Craggy Gardens and Pinnacle: These one-mile loop trails feature stunning panoramic views. Check to make sure the Blue Ridge Parkway is open before making the trip.
- Bailey Mountain Loop: 4.8-mile loop trail with spectacular views.
- Mount Mitchell: An easy half-mile paved out-and-back at the top of the world (at least for the East Coast). On a particularly clear winter day, you might be able to see the Charlotte skyline and a total of five states.
- Mount Pisgah: 3-mile out-and-back with a 270-degree view and a TV tower.
- Dupont State Forest: Miles of trails from which to choose.
2) Visit an Icy Waterfall
It may seem counterintuitive to visit a waterfall during the mid-winter, and of course, it is important to take precautions and make sure your kids do not get in the water. Nevertheless, winter is a magical time to visit waterfalls.
By mid-winter, ice will form on rocks and the edges of waterfalls and creeks, creating a chilly, picturesque winter scene. Some waterfalls to visit during winter include:
- Looking Glass Falls
- Douglas Falls
- Skinny Dip Falls
- Turtleback and Rainbow Falls
- Sliding Rock
- Crabtree Falls
- Linville Falls
3) Find a Sledding Hill
While snow is common in our area, it is not consistent enough in the French Broad River Valley to schedule your sledding day. You just have to wait for winter weather to happen unless you know where to go.
Beech Mountain: The highest town east of the Mississippi River, Beech Mountain maintains a sledding hill throughout the winter season. It is free to visit.
Blowing Rock: There is a prime sledding hill near the town of Blowing Rock, at the intersection of Highway 221, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Shulls Mill Road. This hill provides fun sledding for several days, even weeks after it snows.
4) Hit the Ski Slopes
Although snow may not stick around in the valley, there is enough in the higher elevations to support a few ski resorts and tubing spots:
- Wolf Laurel Ski Resort - Madison County
- Cataloochee Ski Area - Maggie Valley
- Zip N Slip Snow Tubing Park - Mars Hill
- Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park - Newland
- Hawksnest - Seven Devils
5) Bundle Up for a Bike Ride
It is never too cold to ride a bike. However, it is important to make sure you dress in plenty of layers. Many of our mountain biking areas remain open throughout the winter, but it is important to check on local conditions and for closures before hitting the trails.
The greenway trails near the River Arts District and the French Broad River park are perfect for a winter bike ride.
6) Visit the Museums
We are fortunate to have several museums in our city, including:
- Asheville Art Museum
- Asheville Museum of Science
- Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
- Southern Highland Craft Guild, Folk Art Center
- Asheville Pinball Museum
7) Choose Reading Over Screens
When the weather outside is frightful, it can be tempting to turn on the screens for kids and let them watch or play video games. We understand that having all the kids indoors can be hectic.
It may be challenging at first, but if you can, encourage your kids to dive into books. Some books and series your kids will enjoy reading during winter include:
- The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
- The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkein
- The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner
- How to Train Your Dragon - Cressida Cowell
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney
- Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket
- Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingles Wilder
One of the ways Emmanuel Lutheran School helps our students beat the mid-winter blues is through our STEAM-based curriculum. STEAM combines all that is fun and exciting about STEM with the arts to help facilitate a fascinating and creative learning environment.
ELS is the only Chrisitan parochial school in western North Carolina offering a STEAM-based curriculum. Contact us for more information about our school and how your student can be part of Emmanuel Lutheran School.