[caption id="attachment_1157" align="aligncenter" width="301"]imgresimgres Photo courtesy of
Exploreasheville.com[/caption]   Dec. 7 and 14, 2013 So, how do you get on USA Today’s list of “Ten Great Places to Catch up with Santa?” Having beautiful Asheville resort cabins in a picturesque setting is not the answer, though we can’t blame you for guessing that. Chimney Rock State Park landed on this interesting list by having Santa rappel off the face of a 315-foot cliff! [caption id="attachment_1156" align="aligncenter" width="226"]images photo courtesy of
Chimney Rock Park[/caption] This annual event will be held on Dec. 7 and 14 this year, and also features live holiday music, children’s activities and complimentary hot chocolate and cookies. Live animals will also be brought out from the park’s Grady Animal Discovery Den. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet everyone after he goes rappelling, of course.   [caption id="attachment_1155" align="aligncenter" width="207"]Photo courtesy of Chimney Rock Park Photo courtesy of
Chimney Rock Park[/caption]

Chimney Rock State Park is one of the area’s most popular attractions, with its namesake rock formation that offers unparalleled views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge.

Hiking is spectacular here, especially during the winter when the leaves have fallen from the trees, exposing more of the cliffs and rock formations. Trails range from easy to difficult. If you don’t think you can stand the hike to the top of Chimney Rock, with its 44 stairs, you can always ride the 26-story elevator. As an added bonus, Fox Mountain Guides will hold a drawing for free two-hour rock climbing lessons for one lucky winner on both days. If you work up an appetite, the Old Rock Café’s grass-fed beef burger made Zagat’s list of “Must-try Burgers” and the Sky Lounge offers a 75-mile view.