Free Youth Sledding Hill is Snow Much Fun!
One of Beech Mountain’s favorite traditions is back!
The free youth sledding hill in the middle of our little town is covered with snow and children zipping down on their sleds. Beech Mountain is the only place in the entire Southeast that has a free sledding hill run by the town, which we think is really cool (no pun intended).
The hill is right beside our Visitors Center, where you can step inside, warm up, say “hi” to the friendly staff and learn about all the great activities on the mountain. The Visitors Center also has restrooms and super duper Wi-Fi.
My good friend Kate Gavenus, Beech Mountain’s tourism director, watches the kids sled from her window.
“About half of the kids who come to the sledding hill haven’t experienced snow before,” Kate says. “It’s a great, relaxed way to play in the snow, and it’s cheap. It’s also a good introduction to all the fun winter sports offered on Beech Mountain.”
One upgrade this year is the addition of big foam pads, which provide a safe way to stop at the bottom of the hill.
The sledding hill is exclusively for kids age 12 and younger, although parents can accompany younger children on the sled. Kids can bring their own sleds (plastic only) or purchase them from nearby businesses. Beech Meadows Ski Shop and White Wolf Lodge also rent sleds for only $5 a day.
The sledding hill usually stays in good shape through mid-March thanks to the 90 inches of snow we get each winter and the snow gun that blows fresh powder. But you can double-check the conditions by calling (800) 468-5506. Sledding hill hours are Monday-Friday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
And don’t miss the special Cosmic Sledding session from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24. It’s part of our four-day Totally 80s Retro Ski Weekend, Feb. 23-26. The whole mountain turns back the clock with hair bands and cassette tapes and retro apparel. That reminds me, I need to dig out those leg warmers and start teasing my tail!
Boomer the Squirrel
Beech Mountain Makes Ski Getaways Easy on Mom!
Hey moms: Beech Mountain is a family-friendly place. From lodging to activities to restaurants, this little town is designed for families to spend quality time together.
Squirrels like me are minimalists; we can pack our bags in no time. But I know traveling is a chore for moms (and dads), especially with little ones in tow. With that in mind, the good folks on Beech Mountain make it easy for traveling families. Consider these perks:
- Plenty of rental options for families of all sizes. Choose from houses, chalets and condos with as many bedrooms/bathrooms as you need. Many have kitchens, too
- Great restaurants with kid-friendly options. Famous Fast Eddie’s kids’ menu has hot dogs, grilled cheese and chicken nuggets. Or for family pizza night, try Bullwinkels or the Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria. Don’t forget breakfast at Fred’s
- Rental apparel for the slopes! When it’s time to bundle up, Beech Mountain Resort ensures the whole family will be warm. The resort rents ski pants and coats, so moms don’t have to buy and pack all those bulky clothes
- Learning to ski is easy breezy for families with experienced instructors offering private & group lessons at the ski resort. There are also two ski schools: Snow Kamp for ages 3-5 and Traxx for ages 6-14.
- A nursery so Moms can have fun, too! If you have a little whippersnapper, the ski resort cares for infants and toddlers ages 6 months to 3 years.
While you’re at the resort, make sure to check out the ice skating rink and snow tubing park. Then pop in the souvenir shop for some sweet merchandise to take home. The View Haus Cafeteria serves quick bites and drinks to keep you going all day long.
Believe me, if you’re considering a trip up to Beech Mountain this winter, the folks on Beech Mountain make it as easy as possible. So get the family in the car, head this way and leave the worry to us.
Boomer the Squirrel
Enjoy Fall’s Late-Arriving Colors Via Hike & Wine Packages
In fall, humans have an advantage over us squirrels. While we have to scurry around gathering the final harvest of acorns before winter, you get to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Since there was not an early frost this year, the fall colors are arriving later, which means you still have plenty of time to come to Beech Mountain to see the trees dressed in yellow, orange and red.
Beech Mountain always offers great packages to visitors. And it has a doozy of a deal this fall called the Hike and Wine Package.
For only $169, you (and another lucky human you chose to bring with you) can stay for two nights. When you arrive, you’ll get maps for the Town of Beech Mountain’s hiking trails and trails in the Emerald Outback, which crisscross the mountaintop. That’s almost 30 miles of trails! You’ll also receive two passes to Buckeye Recreation Center, where you can play tennis, go for a run or do all sorts of fun exercises.
The package also includes two tastings at Banner Elk Winery, the first winery built in the High Country. The cabernet sauvignon, rosé and red blend all won gold medals this month at the North Carolina State Fair.
Fall colors, hiking and wine — it doesn’t get much better than that. So head to Eastern America’s highest town to make the most of this fall weather. And if you see any acorns on your way up the mountain, save them for me!
Boomer the Squirrel
Two Cougar Cubs Now Call Grandfather Mountain Home
Have you heard about the newest High Country residents? As a High Country VIP, I received an invitation to meet the cougar cubs at Grandfather Mountain in nearby Linville. I scampered over there the other day, and let me tell you, those cats are as excited about their new home as a squirrel with an armload of acorns.
Their names are Trinity and Logan after their original homeland in Idaho. Logan is the town where the team from Grandfather flew in to pick them up. And Trinity is the name of a mountain peak out there.
The cubs aren’t on display yet. The folks at Grandfather are improving their habitat with a new cougar house. Up here in the High Country, we always show the finest hospitality to our guests and new residents. Construction on the new habitat is under way, though.
Trinity and Logan are also shy. They were right at home with me, but they’re uneasy around too many humans. Have you ever seen how many folks visit Grandfather on a summer day? People love that place! The cougars’ keepers will ease them into public display, so crowds don’t overwhelm them.
The cougars have been through a rough time. They lost their mom out in Idaho and needed help because they’re so young – only about 11 months old. Grandfather Mountain just happened to be looking for a couple of cougars to join its lone feline, Aspen. So they flew out there, put the cubs on a plane and brought them to North Carolina. I was a little jealous. I’ve always wanted to fly on a plane.
Christie Tipton, chief habitat curator at Grandfather, says Trinity and Logan are making good progress. When they arrived on the mountain in early March, Trinity, the girl, weighed 32 pounds and Logan, the boy, weighed 48 pounds. Trinity is now more than 55 pounds, and Logan weighs in at more than 75 pounds.
Keep a check on www.Grandfather.com to see when Trinity and Logan venture out onto display. And when you meet them, tell them Boomer sent you.
Boomer the Squirrel
Mile High Fourth of July: Four Sizzling Cool Days of Fun
This year, Independence Day weekend on Beech Mountain is bigger than ever. We’ve teamed up with our buddies in Banner Elk for a Mile High Fourth of July celebration, July 1-4, that’s going to be DOUBLE the fun!
If you’ve never spent July Fourth in Eastern America’s highest town, you’re missing out. One of my favorite events is the annual Beech Mountain Hog Roast on Saturday, July 2.
My great-grand-squirrel told me how it all started years ago. It’s a family tradition for locals and visitors with super juicy pork barbecue, music, dancing, games and face painting for the kids.
Scenic chairlift rides give visitors a squirrel’s-eye view of the mountain. And, after the sun sets, fireworks light up the sky.
I’m excited about a new event this year at Buckeye Recreation Center. The first NatuRally Beech Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, July 2-3. It includes educational programs, hikes and workshops about our local environment. You can learn about heirloom apples, native plants, bear safety (which I’ve found very helpful), salamanders, snakes and other animals that call our mountain home. My friends and I are official greeters along the trails, so make sure to say hi.
On Monday, July 4, everyone heads to Banner Elk for the Fourth of July Parade. The all-American celebration runs right down Main Street and ends with the Party in the Park at Tate-Evans Town Park. Food vendors serve lunch. Traditional lawn games, such as the egg toss and sack race, offer fun for all ages.
My legs aren’t long enough for a sack race, but I’ll cheer you on. Banner Elk’s Duck Race sends hundreds of rubber ducks floating down the creek, which is a sight to see.
Put on your red, white and blue and meet me on the mountain July 1-4! More details at MileHighFourth.com
Boomer the Squirrel