Weekend Get-Aways // Biltmore at Christmas

The Magic of Biltmore at Christmas

The Magic of Biltmore at Christmas-Spending Twenty Four Hours on Estate Grounds

By Scottie Davis

Visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC during the holiday season is pure magic. There is so much to see and do it takes spending 24 hours on the Estate grounds with an overnight stay at the elegant Inn on Biltmore Estate to experience this magic.

A “must do” is the Candlelight Christmas Tour of the Biltmore House, America’s largest private residence, to see the French chateau just as it would have been for the first guests on Christmas Eve 1895. Music fills the great halls and elaborate decorations adorn every room.

Over a thousand poinsettias, miles of evergreen garlands and a 100 decorated trees glow under the warmth of candlelight and fireplaces. You can spend a couple of hours going through rooms filled with 16th century tapestries, a Library with 10,000 volumes and Banquet Hall with a 70 ft ceiling and its own pipe organ. It is hard to believe that at age 29, George W. Vanderbilt was responsible for both building and decorating this 250 room castle. And he was a bachelor, to boot!

The Biltmore House, in all its holiday splendor, only accounts for four acres of the 8,000 acre estate. There is so much more. Visit The Winery, the new Antler Hill Village, stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, and take a “Legacy of the Land Tour” around Estate grounds, hearing stories about the Vanderbilt family, the area and making stops at interesting places along the way. It is all part of Biltmore’s magic. The Winery, Antler Hill Village and Inn on Biltmore Estate are located far from the Biltmore House at one end of the Estate grounds. The Winery offers tours and tasting of Biltmore wines bottled on Estate grounds and a popular restaurant, The Bistro, featuring local products.

Antler Hill Village, adjacent to The Winery, opens onto a village green with shops, exhibits, outdoor adventure center, and Cedric’s Tavern serving Biltmore ale and dishes ranging from fish and chips to chicken.

On the hill overlooking Antler Hill Village & The Winery is the four star Inn on Biltmore Estate, Built is 2001, the Inn reflects the ambiance of the Biltmore House and is filled with small replicas of light fixtures, ironwork and fireplaces found in the Biltmore House.

Elegance is everywhere from the lobby with a huge fireplace, views of the mountains and a cozy area for high tea and cocktails to a grand spa and gourmet dining room. Travel + Leisure readers voted The Inn on Biltmore Estate one of The Top 50 Resorts in the U.S. and Canada and AAA gives it Four Diamonds.

One of the perks of being a guest at the Inn is access to the Estate shuttles. Whether going from the Inn to Antler Hill Village & The Winery or to the Biltmore House and shops, the Biltmore shuttle will take you there.

To fully embrace the magic and grandeur of Christmas at Biltmore and leave feeling you really know something about the Vanderbilt family and their legacy means spending 24 hours on Biltmore Estate grounds. It is an extraordinary and memorable experience.

(Christmas at Biltmore tickets, Inn packages and dining reservations can be booked online www.biltmore.com; or call 1-800- 411-3812)

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