Biltmore Estate: Christmas Decorations - with video tours
Have you visited the Biltmore Estate? Who says there are no American castles? Okay, granted…we don’t have ancient stone fortresses with turrets and moats like Europe, but the Biltmore House is pretty darn close! In fact, it’s the largest privately owned home in the United States. It’s a sprawling 175,000-square-foot mansion with 250 rooms. Wouldn’t you hate to have to vacuum it? Biltmore House is located just outside of Asheville, NC and is surrounded by the beautiful blue mountains of the lower Appalachians. The house was constructed between 1888 and 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt, II and is still owned by the Vanderbilt family. The architectural style is French Renaissance, and the edifice is one of the last existing examples of the Gilded Age. Today, Biltmore House is open to the public, and if you’re visiting the Great Smoky Mountains or are anywhere in the area, you really should do yourself and your family a treat and pay a visit to Biltmore Estate.
This breathtakingly beautiful mansion is fascinating to visit any time, but a Biltmore Christmas is a magical wonderland! The house is filled with 100 Christmas trees, all gloriously decked out with Christmas decorations like heirloom ornaments and priceless treasures. The crowning glory is the majestic Fraser fir that graces the Banquet Hall. At over 34 feet tall, this regal beauty is really something to see!
Fresh greenery is everywhere, and thousands of twinkling lights – 30,000 in all - sparkle throughout the house. Hundreds of poinsettias in red, pink, and white, along with other floral arrangements, are strategically placed, and tables are draped in fine linens and set with beautiful china and stemware. Festive garlands grace the banisters, and wreaths and ribbons deck the halls and fireplaces. Little touches of the season are everywhere! No nook or cranny has been overlooked.
The Christmas decorations extend to outdoors, too. Outside, on the front lawn, the shrubs are covered in tiny white lights. Numerous Christmas trees adorn the area, the largest one a towering 55-foot-tall Norway spruce. In all, 150,000 lights are used around the Biltmore Estate during the Christmas season.
Your hosts will offer numerous Christmas activities. Guests can attend classes in making holiday wreaths, floral arrangements, and centerpieces, too. There are also free wine tastings featuring vintages produced at the Biltmore House wineries. And fine chocolates are served with the red wines – a scrumptious taste sensation.
As beautiful as Biltmore House is during the day, it’s even more glorious at night. During the holiday season, guests can enjoy candlelight tours, where the warm glow of candles lights the way. The numerous fireplaces are all alight with cheery crackling fires, spreading their warmth on all.
The atmosphere is all gaiety and good tidings as music fills the air. Carolers sing old European Christmas carols in perfect harmony, and stringed quartets play a number of seasonal tunes. Ancient tunes are played on the antique organ Storytellers spin their yarns, much to the delight of guests of every age. Ballroom dancers in period costume perform in the Winter Garden.
The entire estate joins in the celebration. Special holiday meals are served at Biltmore’s Bistro, Dining Room, Stable Café, and Deerpark Restaurant. Tuck yourself into a snugly blanket and enjoy a tour of the gardens in a horse-drawn carriage, or spend time doing some Christmas shopping in one of Biltmore Estate retail stores. Browse books, music, games, old fashioned toys, garden items, apparel, jewelry, wines, gourmet goodies, collectibles, home décor, and locally made arts and crafts.
On the weekends of November and December, take the kids to see Santa at Biltmore House Antler Hill Village. This is the “working arm” of the Biltmore Estate, and it’s a favorite with youngsters. Visitors can experience what life was like here in the 1890s, through live demonstrations, gardens, farm animals, and antique farm equipment. You’ll see blacksmiths, farmers, and woodworkers. There’s also a general store from yesteryear, along with a smokehouse that serves delicious pork barbecue.
There’s plenty more to do at Biltmore, too. The surrounding countryside is stunning, and you can take full advantage of it with a horseback ride through the mountains. Or, if you prefer, spend some time learning to fly fish for trout, go hiking or biking, or get in some skeet shooting. For the more adventurous, take s watery trip in a kayak or raft down a pristine river. You can even learn to drive a land rover over an obstacle course!
Inn On Biltmore Estate
Lodging at Biltmore Estate is found at the Biltmore House Inn, a four-star hotel with 201 beautifully appointed rooms and world-class service. It’s received numerous awards, including prestigious recognition by Conde Nast and Forbes Travel Guide. Get totally pampered at the spa, with a relaxing massage, an aromatherapy session, a hand treatment, a peel, a collagen masque, a revitalizing facial, or a pedicure. If you’ve been very good all year, you might want to treat yourself to all these.
When your tummy gets rumbly, enjoy a meal in the dining room or in the Library Lounge. The dining room is open for breakfast and dinner, and on special occasions, a fabulous brunch is served. prices for dinner entrees range from $27 to $38 and include such choices as black angus filet, duck breast, rack of lamb, salmon, tuna, and sea scallops. Be sure to save room for a decadent dessert with a southern twist. Choose from among chocolate soufflé, southern apple tart, pumpkin-pecan bread pudding, caramel cheesecake, or sweet potato crème brulee.
For lunch, you might want to check out the Library Lounge, which is a little more casual than the main dining room. Have a bowl of soup, a delicious and hearty sandwich, a pasta dish, or an entrée salad. For something really unique, enjoy traditional afternoon tea in the lounge, complete with finger sandwiches, pastries, scones, and fruit. Of course, you might prefer to enjoy an intimate meal in the privacy of your own room. Room service is available any time, with lots of food choices to match your appetite.
Special Christmas vacation packages are offered by the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Take advantage of the special holiday deals to make some great memories with your loved ones! To enjoy all the Christmas decorations, music, holiday foods, and festivities, check out the Enchanted Christmas Package. It includes accommodations for three nights, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day dinner, a breakfast buffet for all three days, admission to the estate for all three days, valet parking, and gratuities. Free shuttle service to Biltmore Estate is also included in the package deal.