Monday, December 22, 2014

Where to see Christmas lights

North Carolina has long been known as the "Variety Vacationland." It could also be known as the "Christmas Lights Variety Land." No matter where you are in the state this time of year, there are noteworthy light displays for your enjoyment.

I am biased toward the Meadow Lights because I grew up not far from there and we tend to make an annual pilgrimage with the kids due to its close proximity to Raleigh.  

"Out west," McAdenville, N.C., is actually known as "Christmas Town, U.S.A."  And then there is Biltmore Estate in Asheville, which has established itself as a national draw when it comes to holiday decorating.

What are some other notable Christmas light displays we should all be aware of? offers some potential places to visit. Among the list are Chetola's Festival of Lights in Blowing Rock, Speedway Lights in Concord, Beary Merry Christmas in New Bern, and much more. 

Images courtesy of and

Thursday, December 04, 2014

No. 2 in Christmas tree sales, but No. 1 in your hearts

We like to pat ourselves on the back here in North Carolina this time of year -- and for good reason. From Thanksgiving through Christmas, Tar Heel State commodities do quite well, thank you very much. Turkeys. Sweet potatoes. And Christmas trees.

Our state is second in Christmas tree production, after Oregon. But when you compare the sales of trees to the number of acres needed to produce them, it is quite astonishing how we "make do."

According to this fact sheet, Oregon produces some 6.4 million trees to our 3.5 million -- but Oregon boasts 63,000 acres to our 32,000. In fact, an astonishing 20 percent of the nation's Christmas trees come from our state, with sales around $75 million.

Not too shabby, North Carolina. Happy holidays, indeed.

Photo from WUNC.