ASHEVILLE NC – Known as one of the Southeast’s most beloved and storied holiday vacation destinations, Christmas at Biltmore daytime tours begin on Nov. 7, 2014, and will run through Jan. 11, 2015. Candlelight Christmas Evenings, offering evening candlelight tours of Biltmore House, take place Nov. 7, 2014 through Jan. 3, 2015.
This year’s Christmas displays throughout the estate will draw inspiration from the theme “A Vanderbilt Christmas Celebration.” Décor will trend toward the opulent to create a sense of the Gilded Age, while incorporating elements that nod to George Vanderbilt’s legacy in Western North Carolina.
Having made an impression on the locals upon his arrival to the area in the 1880s, Vanderbilt hosted his first family Christmas celebration in Biltmore House in 1895. The event attracted media attention. According to the Asheville News and Hotel Reporter, “Tastefully draped garlands of evergreen and mistletoe, interspersed with the shining leaves and red berries of holly, created a scene beautiful to look upon.”
Biltmore’s modern-day Christmas celebration is modeled on that first Christmas – and this year, that newspaper description influenced the design scheme. The Banquet Hall’s look will mix vintage and opulent accents with burgundy, red, gold and blue ornaments tucked into the centerpiece 34-foot tall Fraser fir Christmas tree. Two 14-foot trees will flank the triple fireplace, each bestowing the same colors for uniform effect. A deep red velvet runner edged with holly and red berries will accent the Hall’s dining table, with potted poinsettias and fresh cut flower arrangements completing the look.
Guests will see 60 trees throughout Biltmore House, each intricately designed and decorated by members of Biltmore’s floral team. Miles of fresh garland and wreaths draped throughout the house yield a nostalgic yuletide scent.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings, Nov. 7 through Jan. 3, 2015
A 55-foot Norway spruce tree, lit by 45,000 tiny white lights, displayed on Biltmore’s front lawn welcomes guests who visit Biltmore House for Candlelight Christmas Evenings. This unique holiday experience features local choirs and small musical ensembles stationed in the Winter Garden and throughout the house, performing music of the season. Candlelight Christmas Evenings includes an evening reservation to tour Biltmore House as well as daytime admission to Biltmore’s gardens, Antler Hill Village and Winery.
Around the estate
In Antler Hill Village, Santa will visit with children and families from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 8 through Dec. 21, and also on Friday, Nov. 29. Cedric’s Tavern will host live music nightly. The village links to the Winery where visitors may take guided tours, enjoy free wine tastings and purchase wines from Biltmore’s diverse portfolio, including the limited release Christmas at Biltmore blend. Special wine seminars are available by reservation.
Biltmore’s floral arranging and gardening experts will conduct free, daily seminars at A Gardener’s Place retail gift shop from Oct. 17 through Jan. 11. Seminars are “Winter Wreaths” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and “Front Door Swags” at 1 and 3 p.m.
Holiday dining and lodging on the estate
Guests may enjoy a festive holiday meal at the estate prepared by award-winning chefs. Select from the Bistro, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Café, Cedric’s Tavern or The Dining Room at Inn on Biltmore Estate. The Inn will offer its annual Gingerbread House Tea on Dec. 18, 19, and 20. Guests can assemble a gingerbread house with the help of a pastry chef while enjoying afternoon tea.
For guests looking to extend their stay at Biltmore, the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate offers several packages for holidays, including special Thanksgiving, Candlelight Christmas Evenings, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve packages: Biltmore.com/stay/inn/packages-specials/holiday-packages.
Biltmore boasts retail shops, all perfect for holiday gift shopping. Other activities include taking a horse and carriage ride; exploring acres of walking and biking trails and more.
For more information about Christmas at Biltmore, visit Biltmore.com/visit.
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Today, Biltmore has grown to include Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning Winery and Antler Hill Farm; the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues; and Biltmore For Your Home, the company’s licensed products division. To learn more about Biltmore, go to www.biltmore.com or call 877-BILTMORE.