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Charlotte Holiday Sparkle for You! Lights and More… November 28, 2010

Maureen’s tip of the day –

Thanksgiving is over, and it’s time to set our sites on some holiday sparkle!  There are several opportunities, in and around Charlotte, to spend time (and, on occasion, a few dollars as well) checking out beautiful Christmas lights displays.

A relative newcomer to the Christmas lights and holiday fun is the display around the track and on the infield at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.  Known as Carolina Christmas, for $20 per passenger vehicle you’ll enjoy a trail of sparkling LED lights in clever configurations, a live nativity scene, ice skating opportunity, carriage rides, snacks, music, and more!  Open 6-10 pm nightly until Jan. 2, 2011.  Check out the details (and pre-purchase tickets!) at

For a wonderful and “free” south Charlotte interactive lights and music display, check out the Cook Family adventure at 10732 Honeynut Dr. in the Allyson Park subdivision – over 80,000 lights rockin’ to the beat of some of your favorite Christmas tunes!  Running from 6-10 pm nightly from Dec. 4 – Jan. 1, just drive up, dim your lights, and tune your car radio to 100.3 FM!!  Donation bucket on site with all proceeds donated to A Child’s Place – well worth it!  Thanks once again, Cook Family!  For details and directions,

A Charlotte area standard, the McAdenville “Christmas Town” lights display is available nightly from Nov. 30 – Dec. 26 – 5:30 – 9:30 pm M-F and 5:30 – 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  An old-timey mill town all lit up for the holidays just for you!!  From south Charlotte, the easiest route is going to be 485 (inner loop!) to Wilkinson Blvd./Exit 9, left at the bottom of the exit ramp and head west through Gastonia – follow the traffic onto Main Street as you’ll still have plenty, but not as much as if you head into town via 85 south.  See more info at

Also free and a fun experience is a trip out to the Billy Graham Library (on the Billy Graham Parkway, of course!) for another spectacular display of holiday lights, live nativity scene, carriage rides, caroling, and a tour of the library (with shopping and snacking opps!) and the original Graham home on site.  It’s open during the day for some activities, but the lights are on from 5 – 10 pm nightly from Dec. 1 – Dec. 23.  For directions and details, see

Ok, this is a secret for south Charlotte people in-the-know!  sssshhhhh…. but if you want to take a peaceful drive through a charming south Charlotte neighborhood on the night they are all decked out with luminary magic, check out Thornhill, off Elm Lane on Saturday, Dec. 18th!  (And if you see a house for sale that you’d like to see – call me at 704.541.2500 and I’ll give you the details!).  Great neighborhood, beautiful event.

The fun continues at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont (about 40 -45 minute drive from south Charlotte).  A definite treat with the incredible gardens all alight with over 600,000 lights, trains, carriage rides, Santa, baked goodies, and more!  $12 adults, $11 seniors over 60, and $6 children under 12.  Runs now until Dec. 3. For directions and more info, check out the website at and enjoy!

FINALLY, one special treat for you and the kids – a must on your own holiday events calendar.  How about a ride on The Polar Express!!  Head west to Bryson City, NC (about 3 hours from Charlotte) and “All Aboard” The Polar Express train sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.  On board the train (jump on in your jammies of course!), there’ll be a reading of the famous Christmas story by the same name, caroling, hot cocoa, a ride to the “North Pole” complete with a chance to meet Santa and a special surprise memento (can you guess?).  I never knew about this when my children were little, but I don’t think it’s ever too late!  The memories will be worth every penny at $38 for adults and $26 per child 12 and under.  See you there!  Call 800.872.4631 for all you need to know…

Hope these ideas help to get your holiday plans in gear!  And remember…  if your holiday plans include buying or selling a home, contact us at – we’re here for you!