Home for the Holidays: Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Darren and I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to live in a community that feels like Biltmore Estatehome. We want to be surrounded by friends that eventually feel like family in an environment that celebrates values, traditions, and life. We decided on a community in Hunstersville and our house is in the process of being built. This Christmas will be spent in our apartment and as much as we decorate and try to give it a “home” feeling, it is still lacking. The grandeur of a real Christmas tree freshly cut from a field or stockings hung from a mantel that is illuminated by the fireplace flames is not possible just yet. Rather than missing out on the glory of elaborate Christmas decorations this year, we drove to Asheville to experience it all at Biltmore Estate.

Biltmore

George Vanderbilt’s extraordinary home, beautiful gardens, and Antler Hill Village & Winery are nestled on 8,000 acres in the mountains of Asheville, NC. In America’s largest home, we were able to witness a 35-foot Christmas tree and miles of festive decor that filled us with holiday cheer.

The most inspirational rooms include the Banquet Hall and the Library. With a seven-storyChristmas Tree Biltmore high ceiling and Flemish tapestries from the mid-1500s, the Banquet Hall is an impressive room. It was the scene of dinner parties and celebrations, like the annual Christmas party for Biltmore workers and their families. The table setting gave us an idea of these elegant affairs, with fine linens, family silver, china, and as many as five crystal wine glasses per person. Ringing throughout the room was the sound of the organ playing Christmas music. Its impressive stature includes over 700 pipes grouped into 15 “ranks” or colors of sounds. Biltmore House’s yuletide piece de resistance is a 34-foot Fraser fir adorned with hundreds of lights and ornaments and surrounded by gifts.

Although the Library Christmas tree was less impressive and the decorations didn’t fill every corner of the room, the real inspiration came from the best gift of all – books, shelves and shelves of books. It was my version of a Christmas miracle. I was standing in a two-story room surrounded by pages and pages of history, romance, fiction, biography… an endless amount of knowledge and culture at my finger tips. Oh the beauty; colors of red, blue, green, and yellow all with crisp pages and leather bindings. They were the best decorations of all.

Biltmore LibraryOutside was equally beautiful. Even in the daylight with the unlit tree, the towering mansion  reached into the sky and blended the lines between fantasy and reality.

Biltmore Estate

Our home isn’t built and we don’t have room for a massive tree or tons of Christmas decorations, but as we toured the grounds at Biltmore none of that mattered to Athena. She was happy, smiling her beautiful smile and enjoying the time spent with her Mommy and Daddy. Being surrounded by the Christmas spirit at Biltmore brought out the spark in us and that was transferred to Athena.
Biltmore EstateOur holidays are filled with happiness and joy regardless of the size of our tree. Thanks for bringing out the holiday cheer Biltmore! Now all we need is a little bit of snow. Well, on second thought, maybe we’ll just watch a movie with snow since we don’t even own a shovel.

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120 thoughts on “Home for the Holidays: Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

  1. We’ve recently been watching a documentary on the BBC about the famous London hotel Claridge’s. You might enjoy it – you’re bound to marvel at the splendour and luxury in these times of crisis, but also wowed by its dedication to, well, beauty.

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    • Thank you! Well, she’s the spitting image of her father so I guess he should be thanking you. She is such a joy in our lives that every moment is better with her around :)

      Happy Holidays,

      Lesley

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  2. Been to Biltmore several times but have never made it during Christmas time. It is a truly magical place – as your lovely images attest. I also like that they are very attuned to sustainability and serve much of what they produce on the property in their restaurants, among other things. Great post:)

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  3. What a lovely Christmas experience to share! Your smiling faces say it all. I remembere being very impressed by Biltmore when I visited. It felt classic rather than tacky. Heart-warming read. Thank you.

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    • That was exactly how we felt. It was beautiful without being over done. Our house, however, will be way over done every year while Athena is young. We love Christmas decorations and now I’ll have a partner in tacky crime ;)

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  4. Vanderbilt Mansion is beautiful this time of year. We went one year on Christmas Eve. Back then, the lion statues at the entrance had wreaths around their necks. . .I think they also had a Christmas tree in every room. . .on the tables and in the stairwells. It was really beautiful. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Liz

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  5. That look simply beautiful. The Biltmore has always been on my list of places to visit. My grandparents went several years ago and couldn’t stop talking about its size and beauty. Now I know to going during Christmas. It looked magical. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. This is a great place! I was there back in the 1990’s – Biltmore. The history is wonderful and the area awesome. I have family in Huntersville now. Have to come that way – sometime. Happy Holidays:)

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  7. Just visited Asheville and Biltmore for the first time this last summer. Neat to revisit via your holiday experience! (one quibble, i remember it being a little pricey to visit the house, but then i can only imagine the upkeep!)

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  8. I saw the Biltmore Estate as a child. It was in the summer and the gardens were beautiful (I also liked the koi pond & gargoyles). What a difference during the holidays! It’s still as beautiful as I remember it.

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  9. Only been to the Biltmore once, and loved it. They were just starting to decorate for Christmas, so I didn’t get the full effect of all the decorations. Thanks for posting the photos. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. Hope the house is done soon.

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  10. I absolutely adore North Carolina. I’ve considered moving there, myself, once I get on my feet and established in Nashville for a few years. The Biltmore is stunning! I haven’t seen it at Christmas but holy cow!

    Athena has the same reaction as me – whoa! She’s so cute. :)

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  11. I love the Biltmore! If you stay at their Inn, the rooms each have a few old first edition books from the Vanderbilt collection that really complete the trip if you pick one up and do a little reading in the veranda in a rocking chair…you can imagine being a guest at the house back in its heyday!

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  12. The Biltmore is one of my favorite places to visit, anytime, but especially at Christmas. You may also want to take a drive through Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, NC to admire the lights. It is a spectacular display. We took our kids there every year when we lived in NC.
    Every photo you share of Athena is just beautiful.

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  13. My Mom and sister (& her family) live in Charlotte, and we have really been meaning to take a road trip to the Biltmore during one of our visits. How magical at Christmas time!

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  14. What a great place. I live in Charlotte as well and we try to make a trip there every couple of years. However, I have never been at Christmas time. It looks wonderful.

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