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Forest City Lights

Holiday Lights and Wine Tour!

As the holiday season approaches and you’re looking for fun festive things to do with your family and friends, why not consider a chauffeured holiday light tour?  For some, viewing the extravagant light displays put on by small towns has become an annual tradition. There are so many great locations to choose from!  You could load up the family car as usual or this year, try something different, hire a transportation service, the Van in Black, to drive your group to and through any number of these great locations.  A few of our favorites include:


McAdenville, North Carolina

Christmas LightsAffectionately known as “Christmas Town USA” the lights at this small town on the outskirts of Charlotte, NC are a sight to be seen!  This town has been putting on their display of holiday lights continuously since 1956 and every year it seems to get bigger and better. It is open to the public and has always been free of charge. It can get exceptionally crowded on the weekends but it is open seven days a week from December 2nd – December 26th.

For more information visit: https://www.mcadenville-christmastown.com/


Forest City, North Carolina

Forest City North CarolinaForest City’s slogan is “small town friendly” and while that friendly spirit is on display all year round, it’s made even more special by over one million lights that provide a warm welcoming glow to Main Street.  This picturesque small town in rural North Carolina is a little-known gem which is very impressive to see especially at this time of year when Forest City is transformed into a Winter Wonderland.  The season begins on Thanksgiving night with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and the lights stay on until New Year’s Day!  The holiday events continue through the season with the Christmas Parade on December 1st, then holiday movies each Friday at the new amphitheater, POPS, Pavilion on Park Square. Each Saturday brings carriage rides, ice-skating and Santa himself to the small town with deep roots!  Why not take the family on an excursion to see the lights of Forest City, Spindale, Ruth and Rutherfordton from the comfort of one of our chauffeured vans or SUV’s?

For more information visit:  https://www.townofforestcity.com/forest-city-christmas


Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

A holiday lights extravaganza that is setup and run at various locations in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Pennsylvania.  Tryon International Equestrian Center is now host to Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland!  There is a fee to view the lights but the cost is well worth it as this is a large production! It is over two miles of custom-made displays of lights that are coordinated to music as you drive through and experience each scene.  The two locations in North Carolina; Tryon and Charlotte, are both within our service area and we would be happy to have you experience them from the comfort of one of our vans or SUV’s.  The large windows are perfect for enjoying the lights from within the comfort of a Van in Black vehicle where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday and leave the driving to us!  The Tryon International Equestrian Center location is also hosting their Winterfest Village with additional holiday activities that can be enjoyed either before or after experiencing Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland.  There are also some great local wineries that are just a few miles from the equestrian center.  You could make it a full day by visiting a vineyard for a wine tasting and then enjoy the night lights and holiday activities at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.  If you book a tour with the Van in Black, you can legally enjoy some wine in the van while we drive you through the holiday lights at Shadrack’s.  The possibilities are endless for just an evening out or entire day of holiday fun!

For more information visit:  https://shadrackchristmas.com/tryon-nc

Contact the Van in Black today and leave the transportation to us so you can just enjoy this holiday season!

Piccione Vineyards

Yadkin Valley Overview Trail

The winery industry in North Carolina is large and still growing!  There are so many high quality wineries and vineyards in the state that as a transportation company that provides winery tours as a service, it can make it very difficult to come up with suggestions when asked by clients – “What do you recommend?”.  When faced with this question the first thing that needs to be determined is the region that the customer would like to visit.  Sometimes this decision can make the job in answering this question easy as there may be a limited number of wineries in that specific region.  That is NOT the case with the Yadkin Valley.  There are a ton a wineries!  And they are all great places!  Furthermore, one gets to know a lot of the owners and people that work at each of the wineries.  The Van In Black would like to visit all of them with every tour but unfortunately one has to choose and unfortunately some get left off the list.  The list, however, does change with each tour and we try to mix it up a bit.  If people have already visited one area or some of the wineries suggested, we can easily recommend others.  So, with all of that being said, this list is by no means the definitive “Yadkin Valley Trail”.  It is just one of the many options and varieties of trails that can be put together for a custom tour of the area.  There are so many other great winery trails that we will also be describing in future posts.  For now, though, we will go with what we are calling the “Yadkin Valley Overview Trail”.

Hendersonville Winery Tours

Another great wine trail that is primarily associated with the Asheville and Greenville/Spartanburg areas is located in Hendersonville, North Carolina.  This “Hendersonville Wine Trail” is host to three quality wineries along with with a companion cidery.  Cider is just apple wine….right?  This region is conveniently located less then an hour from Asheville, North Carolina and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina making it a great option for anyone looking for a winery tours departing from these regions.  The wineries are relatively close to one another as they are all located in Hendersonville East of Interstate 26.  Once you arrive in the area the commute time between wineries isn’t too long which makes for a fun day.  This is an important benefit of a winery tour that many people don’t think about, but having a short commute between wineries makes for a fun day!  So, which vineyards make up the Hendersonville Wine Trail?

Hendersonville Breweries

A Hendersonville Pub Crawl

The town of Hendersonville, North Carolina is a great place to visit.  It is one of those places that is neither too small nor too large; it is just right.  It is large enough to offer great restaurants, shopping, and culture but not so large that it loses its small-town charm.  The downtown area is absolutely beautiful and is a great place to visit just about any time of the year.  Walking up and down Main Street is always a wonderful experience and Main Street is a great place to start for the first time visitor.  Despite the small-town charm, Hendersonville is large enough to boast a number of breweries within the city.  Great breweries that are all making great beer that can go head-to-head against any beer from the “big city” breweries.  This is not to put down the big city breweries but more to build up these smaller breweries.  Their beers are good!  If you want to visit Hendersonville and check-out some of these small pubs, here are four that we think make for a great pub crawl:

Tryon Wineries

Tryon Winery Tours

One of our favorite regions for a winery tour is the Tryon Foothills of North Carolina.  The reason for this is twofold; one is that these are our local wineries and the second is that they are producing really great wine; close to home and great wine, you can’t beat that! The North Carolina winery industry as a whole is amazing and there are many great wineries within the state.  We will definitely be highlighting more of our favorites in future blog posts but for now we are starting with some of the wineries in our neighborhood.

NC Wine Bloggers

2019 NC Wine Bloggers Summit

The Van in Black recently had the privilege of sponsoring and providing transportation services for the 2019 NC Wine Bloggers Summit that was held in the Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina.  This was the second annual summit. The forum of the event was created to provide an opportunity for bloggers, digital influencers and those in the wine industry to meet face to face to primarily discuss ways to improve the North Carolina wine industry through blogging and digital media.   There were some other ancillary topics that were discussed but the most important by-product of this summit, in our opinion, was the fact that bloggers and wineries got together and discussed how they can help each other.

The view from Craggy Pinnacle

Five Reasons to Book a Guided Scenic Tour

As a new year gets underway and people start making their vacation plans for the Summer many families are going to choose the Carolinas as a destination.  For good reason too!  Find any “Top 10” list online for popular travel destinations and both North and South Carolina will likely be represented on the list.  Both of these great states are beautiful, have an excellent tourism infrastructure, and are fairly easy and inexpensive to travel to.   You would be hard pressed to find a better spot to vacation than the Carolinas!

Pruned Vines

Its Pruning Season at the Vineyards

While the wines are aging away in the barrel room and the vines are dormant, you might think that the winemaker gets to enjoy some downtime and relaxing during this period but that is simply not the case.  The work at a vineyard is a year round effort and continues throughout the winter.   You might even say that some of the most important work is done during this period as it sets everything up for the coming growing period and harvest.   With any discipline, it is common knowledge that it is much easier to end right if you start right.  Wine making is no different.

Dormant Vines

Vines Go Dormant in the Winter, Vineyards Don’t…

As the holiday season arrives, and the official start of Winter is just around the corner, you may be thinking that the 200+ wineries in the Carolinas are seasonal and take a break during the cooler months.  The vines certainly do:

Dormant Vines

Sunset at the Vineyard

So You Booked a Winery Tour. Now What?

As Autumn approaches in the Carolinas, a lot of people will go out on winery tours as either self guided excursions or with a transportation service like the Van in Black.  Wineries are beautiful anytime of year but there is something special about them as the Fall blankets the area in beautiful colors.  The weather is also perfect as it isn’t too warm during the day and the evenings have just the right nip in the air.  It is a very nice time to enjoy the 200+ North and South Carolina wineries available to visit!  So once you plan a date or book a tour with a company, now what?  It is going to be the perfect day, etc. but there are 200+ wineries to choose from.  How do you even begin to plan something like that?  Furthermore, what should I expect the day of the event?  We have a few suggestions that, hopefully, will help: