Gilded Age Christmas Vanderbilt Style Outshines
On Christmas Eve 1895, Vanderbilt opened Biltmore House for the first time to his friends and family. In subsequent years, the couple welcomed family, friends and the estate’s employees into the Banquet Hall for the annual Christmas party. A holiday tradition born more than a century ago, Christmas at Biltmore will enchant those who visit George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House during the estate’s annual holiday celebration, set for Nov. 6, 2015, through Jan. 10, 2016.
Entry Hall at Biltmore House decked out in holiday greenery. [Photo: The Biltmore Company]
Every year, Biltmore transforms into an unforgettable yuletide vacation destination like few others. Biltmore’s design team will weave this year’s theme – “A Gilded Age Christmas” – throughout every element created for the season, incorporating grand and elegant details that are rooted in authentic Vanderbilt Christmas stories.
Fireplaces in the Banquet Hall at Biltmore House for Gilded Age Christmas. [Photo: The Biltmore Company]
Inside the 250-room Biltmore House, which bears a striking resemblance to Highclere Castle on the PBS Masterpiece series “Downton Abbey,” guests will see more than two dozen elaborate hand-decorated Christmas trees. A towering 34-foot-tall Fraser Fir tree laden with toddler-high ornaments and wrapped packages tucked into its branches serves as the seasonal centerpiece in the home’s immense Banquet Hall.
The majestic 35-foot Fraser fir tree takes center stage in the Biltmore House Banquet Hall. [Photo: The Biltmore Company]
Candlelight Christmas Evenings
The holiday spirit lives within the hallways and rooms of Biltmore House even more so under cover of nighttime. During Candlelight Christmas Evenings, thousands of ornaments and over-the-top wreaths and garlands sparkle with the reflections of candlelight and cozy fires in the home’s fireplaces. Despite the home’s enormous size, sounds of choirs and musicians create an intimate atmosphere. Outside, a 55-foot Norway spruce tree, lit by 45,000 tiny white lights and surrounded by hundreds of hand-lit luminaries, welcomes guests for evening tours. Offered Nov. 6 through Jan. 2, Candlelight Christmas Evenings are the only time of year when the home is open for evening tours.
Tapestry Gallery at the Biltmore House displays holiday decorations. [Photo: The Biltmore Company]
Christmas at Biltmore 2015 Events
Christmas at Biltmore features the following holiday activities and events:
• Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: Christmas at Biltmore daytime experience
• Nov. 6 through Jan. 2: Candlelight Christmas Evenings
• Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: A Gardener’s Place Holiday Seminars. “Decorate with Christmas Wreaths” is offered at noon and “Create Holiday Tablescapes” is offered at 1 p.m.
• Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: The Conservatory’s annual poinsettia and tropical plant display.
• Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: Complimentary wine tasting at the Winery. The “Red Wine and Chocolate” seminar is offered, as well as the “Biltmore Bubbles” tour. Additional price and reservations required.
• Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, evenings: Live music in Cedric’s Tavern in Antler Hill Village.
• Nov. 7 through Dec. 20, Saturdays and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m., and on Friday, Nov. 27: Visits with Santa in Antler Hill Village.
• Nov. 7 through Jan. 10, Saturdays and Sundays, 3 p.m., and on Friday, Nov. 27: Roving Holiday Carolers in Antler Hill Village.
• Dec. 17, 18 and 19: Inn on Biltmore Estate’s Annual Gingerbread House Tea. Guests assemble gingerbread homes with the help of a pastry chef while enjoying afternoon tea. Additional price and reservations required.
• Ongoing: Festive holiday meals prepared by award-winning chefs will be served in all of the estate’s restaurants.
Lodging options at Biltmore increase in 2015
Guests looking to extend their holiday stay at Biltmore will have several options. Those seeking a retreat with personalized service, Inn on Biltmore Estate offers four-star accommodations with sweeping views in a private hilltop setting. Special holiday packages starting with Thanksgiving will be available during Christmas at Biltmore.
Biltmore’s newest lodging offering, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, opens in December 2015. Designed for the guest looking for a casual overnight stay, Village Hotel is located in the lively setting of Antler Hill Village. It offers a convenient home base steps away from shopping, dining, the Winery, live music and outdoor activities. Special holiday packages will be available during Christmas at Biltmore.
For ticket and more information about Biltmore, visit Biltmore.com/visit.
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