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The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games & Gathering of the Scottish Clans is held at MacRae Meadows at the base of the mountain on the second weekend in July from Thursday to Sunday.
The Highland Games begin on Thursday afternoon with a border collie doing a sheep herding demonstration and Celtic entertainment. This is followed by hundreds of people running a 3 mile toot race called “The Bear.” that goes up to the summit of Grandfather Mountain.
The setting at the base of Grandfather Mountain is very reminiscent of Scotland with the peak of the mountain towering above MacRae Meadow. Perhaps that’s why these Highland Games are the most popular in the U.S., drawing crowds of 30,000+.
Over the next days, you’ll see thousands of tartan plaids, competitions in heavyweight Scottish athletic events, parades, bagpipe bands, highland dancing, piping, drumming and harp competitions and concerts.
There’s an open air market with merchants selling Gaelic and tartan gift items. Concession stands sell Scottish food for a taste of the highlands.
Are you thinking about going to the Highland Games and wondering where to stay. You should consider the following hotels named as the best hotels near the Highland Games by the users of TripAdvisor. These hotels have had good reviews and you can use TripAdvisor to get the best price for your stay.
- Best Western Mountain Lodge at Banner Elk
- Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins
- Meadowbrook Inn
- Hidden Valley Motel
- Little Main Street Inn
- Holiday Inn Express Blowing Rock South, an IHG Hotel
- Blowing Rock Inn & Villas
- Westglow Resort & Spa
- Esseola Lodge at Linville Golf Club
- Huskins Court & Cottages
- Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages
- The Village Inns Of Blowing Rock: The Ridgeway Inn
- Chetola Resort
- Sugar Ski & Country Club
- The Village Inns Of Blowing Rock: Village Inn
- Roxwood Lodge
- Sugartop Resort
- Green Park Inn
- Yonahlossee Resort Accommodations
- Cedar Village
- The Village Inns of Blowing Rock: Hillwinds Inn
- Smoketree Lodge
- Gideon Ridge Inn
- Hound Ears Clubhouse Inn
- Cliff Dwellers Inn
And, while you’re in western North Carolina, you need to try some of that delicious North Carolina barbecue. Try one of the following restaurants that were named the best barbecue restaurants near the Highland Games.
- Old Hampton Store & Grist Mill
- The Pedalin Pig – Banner Elk
- Carolina Barbeque