Candlelight Christmas Evenings at the Biltmore House


Published:

To spend the holidays at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is to step back in time. The sights, the sounds, the smells all are reminiscent of the Gilded Age at the turn of the century.

Each year, the Biltmore House is richly decorated in the holiday traditions set by George W. Vanderbilt, who first welcomed friends and family to his country retreat on Christmas Eve 1895. The bright tapestry of Christmas colors complement the rich oak paneling and European furnishings of the home. Although it looks effortless, it’s not easy to decorate the largest private residence in America.

With four acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms and 8,000 acres of grounds, it takes a lot more than merely a tree with some lights on it — in fact it requires nearly 100 trees. And 750 poinsettias, 450 wreaths, 9,000 feet of fresh garlands and thousands of lights and ornaments.

In the Banquet Hall, where the Vanderbilts hosted the majority of their Christmas parties, stands the home’s centerpiece tree — a mighty 35-foot Fraser Fir, adorned with lights, ornaments and even 500 presents hung within the stately branches. Touring the Biltmore House during the day is captivating, but the magic of Christmas and the extraordinary decor of the home blend during Candlelight Christmas Evenings, an enchanting holiday tradition.

As night falls, the house comes alive. Luminarias light the grand driveway; smoke billows in the cool mountain air from many of the 65 fireplaces. Softly lit candles warmly beckon you inside as Christmas carols sung by a visiting children’s choir greet you from the atrium-like, glass-roofed Winter Garden. Hundreds of red, white and marbled poinsettias line every hallway and staircase, including the 102-step Grand Staircase that stretches to the fourth floor.

As you begin your tour, you’ll be awestruck by the sheer size of the house, but as you wander from room to room listening to the audio CD, you’ll begin to imagine the house as it was occupied by the Vanderbilts and their guests. Perhaps the men are in the library discussing the events of the day, the women gather in the second floor sitting room planning for the next day’s Christmas party and the children, in the third floor wing of connecting bedrooms, are running from room to room — too excited to sleep.

Evening tours are by reservation only from Nov. 3-Dec. 31. Your ticket also includes daytime access to Biltmore’s gardens, winery and River Bend Farm, which features craft demonstrations, farmyard animals, antique farm equipment, a kitchen garden and more. Don’t forget to leave time for shopping!

During the holiday season, the Biltmore Estate will host numerous complimentary seminars and events to help you prepare for the holidays. Decorate a Christmas wreath, learn the recipe for the Gingerbread Biltmore House and discover which wines to pair with chocolate this season. On weekends now through Dec. 16, bring the kids over to the estate’s River Bend Barn to visit with St. Nick.

If you’d like to make it an overnight getaway, the estate offers two choices of accommodation. The beautiful Inn on Biltmore Estate, offering warm and gracious hospitality and the Cottage on Biltmore Estate, your own private 2-bedroom oasis complete with butler and chef. Be sure to ask about special package rates when combined with the Candlelight Christmas Evenings tour.

This year, start a new tradition and make a visit to the Biltmore House a holiday event with your family.

The Biltmore Estate
1 Approach Road Asheville, NC 28803
www.biltmore.com
800-411-3812
Candlelight Evening tours range from $55-$65 per person; children 10-16: $27.50-$32.50; 9 years and under is free.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Kid-Friendly Music Festivals in the Carolinas

Regional music festivals offer fun for the whole family.

Must-See Holiday Light Shows Across North Carolina

’Tis the season for dazzling light displays. Here are our top picks of holiday light show extravaganzas across the state.

Applying to NC Colleges? Take an Inside Look at 16 NC Public Schools

These profiles detail everything from student-to-faculty ratios to acceptance rates and the percentage of students who successfully graduate in four years.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for kids and families in the Triad by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!

Subscribe

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The all-new 2015-2016 Education Guide is packed with everything parents need to know to navigate more than 500 education options and resources in the Triad, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

GPS [Go. Play. See]

It's your complete family guide to Triad living. Parents are busy and on the go. Use this guide to help you explore all this great area offers for families in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and surrounding communities.

Exceptional Child

For parents of kids with special needs, finding help and support can be challenging. We've compiled valuable resources for Triad parents in our latest annual publication, Exceptional Child, which is also available as a digital guide.