As the winter months approach us, thoughts turn to celebration with family and friends. What better place to honor the spirit of the season than the iconic Biltmore Estate in Asheville. America’s largest home is known around the world as one of the most cherished and storied holiday travel destinations and fortunately for those based in the Queen City it is only a short three-hour drive away. From November 3rd – January 1st, you will discover the estate gleaming with festive décor and special events. No matter what your religious preference is, it is impossible to not be moved by the infectious cheer that is found throughout the property.
In 1895, George Vanderbilt chose to open Biltmore Estate’s doors for the first time on Christmas Eve, marking the occasion with a regal ball. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau filled with priceless treasures and antique furniture took over 6 years and 1,000 laborers to create and consists of 8,000 acres. This National Historic Landmark is open to the public year-round, however it is particularly magical to experience during the holidays. The main attraction is the largest of the 50 Christmas trees: the 34-foot tall Fraser Fir decorated with hundreds of ornaments and gift boxes and found inside of the Banquet Hall. The tree is carefully carried inside of the estate by 40 Biltmore staff members and is a longstanding tradition that is inspired from more than a century ago and allows guests the extraordinary opportunity to see how the Vanderbilt family celebrated Christmas themselves.
Holidays arrive at the Biltmore Estate in style and 2012 is no exception. This year’s “Christmas at Biltmore” promises yet another elaborate extravaganza saturated with garlands, wreaths, and poinsettias — a true feast for the eyes! Another way guests can take in the wonderment is by attending “Candlelight Christmas Evenings”, where the estate is aglow in warm candlelight creating a breathtaking scenery. Inside of the intimate Winter Garden, choirs and musical ensembles perform carols and other songs of the season. It is important to note that to attend these evenings a separate ticket is required aside from daytime admission and can be purchased through reservation only.
Walking distance from the Biltmore Estate is the grand Inn on Biltmore Estate where you can vacation in a truly luxurious setting that is also thoughtfully decorated for the holidays. The hotel proudly boasts five-star accommodations with picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains amidst a relaxed and elegant atmosphere. It also offers state-of-the-art spa services and gourmet dining. It has been awarded Four Stars by Forbes Travel Guide, Four Diamonds by AAA, and has been featured on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List for 7 years in a row. Depending on your length of stay and what you would like to see and do, the Inn on Biltmore Estate has several affordable holiday packages available.
Also, just a short walk away, is the brand new Antler Hill Village, where the Winery is located as well. Santa can be found there on the weekends waiting to hear your children’s wish lists and pose for pictures. You will find that the village is a relaxing place filled with casual dining, unique shopping, and historical exhibits. It is Southern hospitality at its finest. During the holidays, the Winery hosts tasty programs, such as “Red Wine & Chocolate” and “Biltmore Bubbles”, which simply cannot be missed. Biltmore wines have a reputation for being exquisite and most guests depart with a few of their favorites as mementos.
Experiencing the Biltmore Estate in all of its Christmas glory is something that must be experienced once in this lifetime. However, there is a lot to explore during your visit, so you might not be able to accomplish everything in one trip. This gives you the perfect excuse to return to the grandeur of this mountain estate sooner rather than later.