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  • Brandy Kemp

Celebrating Christmas with a Twist: Our North Carolina Adventure

Updated: Apr 27

Every year, our family tradition involves celebrating Christmas outside our home state, often in Florida. But this year, we decided to shake things up a bit. With my eldest, Rachel, having moved to South Carolina, and my husband Corey, enamored with the idea of a secluded cabin retreat, we set our sights on North Carolina.

North Carolina emerged as the perfect middle ground. It was a manageable 6-hour drive for us and just 2 hours for Rachel. I stumbled upon an exciting bike rail trail there, which seemed like an ideal family activity. Plus, I had plans for us to ride the train and indulge in some trout fishing. Everything was meticulously planned: a cozy cabin in the woods, and activities scheduled according to the weather forecast. However, upon reaching Bryson City, we discovered, to our dismay, that the bike rail was closed for the season.

Undeterred, we embarked on the train ride, which turned out to be a delightful experience. A shopping spree in Cherokee brought back childhood memories for me, and it was fascinating to see how much it had changed over the years. Instead of splitting up for fishing, I discovered GTR Adventures and rented a 4-seater ATV. As a family that thrives in the outdoors, we were excited, especially recalling our previous adventures on the trails at Natchez Trace.

Booking with GTR Adventures was a breeze, and Tom, our contact there, was incredibly helpful. He kept us updated on the weather and even recommended a local spot for enormous apple fritters and superb coffee. Upon arrival, we were welcomed with extra blankets, new face masks, and even heated blankets – Tom truly went above and beyond to ensure our comfort and enjoyment.

Tom kept in touch throughout the day, sending us pins of various exciting locations. We ventured to mountain tops, waterfalls, and markets, each moment more thrilling than the last. The highlight was meeting a camper who was braving the winter atop a snowy mountain. His resilience and adventurous spirit were truly inspiring.

Tom's involvement didn't end with the trails; he even recommended an excellent place for dinner afterward. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to contact GTR Adventures in Bryson City if you're looking for an unforgettable family experience. Although our photos are beautiful, they hardly do justice to the wonders we witnessed and the memories we created.

This trip was a reminder that sometimes, the best adventures are those that aren't planned. It brought our family closer, allowed us to experience new thrills, and left us with stories we'll cherish forever. Next time, we plan to spend more days exploring the numerous trails we missed. For anyone seeking a unique and memorable family adventure, I can't recommend GTR Adventures enough. It's not just about the destinations; it's about the journey and the unexpected joys you find along the way.

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