The Biltmore Estate near Asheville, NC is one of the most well-known attractions in the south east. Built by the Vanderbilt family from 1889 to 1895, it is the largest privately owned home in the United States at an impressive 178,926 square feet. The house is surrounded by 75 acres of carefully maintained gardens and walking trails, and it even has its own winery. The estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and opened to the public; since then, it has become one of the premiere tourist destinations in the country. The house itself is ornately designed in the style of French Renaissance Chateaus, featuring intricately carved stone facades, towers, and gargoyles, to name just a few of the stylistic touches. The inside of the house is equally stunning, offering hundreds of rooms to tour. As large as the house and grounds are, it is hard to see everything in one day. Fortunately, the estate offers three different accommodations for families wanting to spend the weekend exploring Biltmore. The Village Hotel is the more casual option, located next to the winery, three different restaurants, and a variety of shopping options. For guests that want a more formal taste of the Gilded Age, the Inn on Biltmore Estate boasts a four-star experience with personalized service for all patrons. Finally, the Cottage on Biltmore Estate offers the most private, spacious experience for families looking to truly get away for a weekend.
The Biltmore Estate hosts a variety of events year round, from concerts to wine tastings. However, they especially embrace the Christmas season. The tradition goes back to the grand opening of the estate on Christmas Eve in 1895. The first Christmas at Biltmore was only opened to George Vanderbilt’s family and friends, but now everyone has a chance to enjoy the holidays at the estate from November 4 to January 8. The daily festivities are two-fold: a Daytime Celebration and a Candlelight Christmas Evening. During the day, guests can enjoy a clear view of elaborate decorations on nearly every tree, nook, and cranny. The fireplace in the dining hall looks even more inviting next to a fully-trimmed tree surrounded with gifts, and the with the grounds draped in Christmas cheer, it is even more fun to go exploring. While the holiday display is certainly brilliant in the light of day, the evening lights truly bring out the Christmas spirit. The already-impressive house looks even grander covered in lights, but the real star of the show is the evergreen tree on the front lawn. It is nearly as tall as the four story house and is completely encrusted with lights and ornaments, making it impossible to ignore.
For more information on the Biltmore Estate, you can visit them at their website here, and be sure to tune in every Thursday for more Acadian Discoveries.