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Christmas on a Victorian Estate

The black marble fireplace surround and walnut overmantle in George Vanderbilt’s impressive library are decorated with garlands made by the Biltmore floral staff during the holiday season.  [Copyright The Biltmore Company, all rights reserved.]

Known as one of the Southeast’s most beloved and storied holiday travel destinations, Christmas at Biltmore is set to begin on Nov. 5, 2010, and will run through Jan. 2, 2011. Candlelight Christmas Evenings, offering evening candlelight tours of Biltmore House, take place Nov. 12 through Jan. 1.

Vanderbilt Family Christmas:

An emphasis on Vanderbilt family history plays a large part in this year’s celebration. On Christmas Eve 1895, George Washington Vanderbilt opened Biltmore House for the first time to his friends and family. In subsequent years, Mr. Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith, welcomed family, friends and the estate’s employees into the home’s Banquet Hall for the annual Christmas Party. Each child who lived on the estate at that time received a gift from the Vanderbilts.

When George Vanderbilt first welcomed guests to Biltmore House on Christmas Eve in 1895 his guests were treated to lavish and festive holiday decor. Today that tradition is kept alive each year as Biltmore House is filled with hundreds of trees and garlands from the area.  [Copyright The Biltmore Company, all rights reserved]

Biltmore’s modern-day Christmas celebration is modeled from that first Christmas. This year, the seven-story high Banquet Hall will appear as if the Vanderbilt family has prepared for the employee Christmas festivities. Tricycles, dolls, toy furniture, books, horns, trains, hoops and tops will hang from the massive, 34-foot Fraser Fir tree, with garlands of evergreens, mistletoe and shining holly dressing the Banquet Hall dining table.

Christmas at Biltmore during the daytime includes tours of Biltmore House, the Gardens and Antler Hill Village. The village links to the Winery, where visitors may take a guided tour. The tour includes a complimentary wine tasting. Special seasonal seminars, such as “Red Wine & Chocolate,” are also available.

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Filled with greenery and soft lights, George Vanderbilt’s Library takes on
a warm glow during the Christmas season in Biltmore House.
[Copyright The Biltmore Company, all rights reserved]

Candlelight Christmas Evenings

Biltmore House takes on a warm glow during Candlelight Christmas Evenings, even an air of mystery, creating a unique holiday experience for guests. Ballroom dancers dressed in vintage costumes glide across the floor of the Winter Garden, and choirs perform traditional music of the season. Guests may also visit Antler Hill Village when they attend Candlelight Christmas Evenings. The front lawn of Biltmore House will glow with a lighted 55-foot Norway spruce, surrounded by “islands” of smaller lighted trees and nursery shrubs. Candlelight Christmas Evenings will be held Nov. 12 through Jan. 1 and require a separate ticket for entry from daytime admission.

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A 35-foot live Fraser fir is placed in the Banquet Hall of Biltmore House every holiday season. The tradition of having a tree in this room goes back to 1895 when George Vanderbilt first opened the home to his family and friends.  [Copyright The Biltmore Company, all rights reserved]

Holiday dining and lodging on the estate

Holiday hospitality extends throughout the entire estate. Guests may enjoy a festive meal at Bistro, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Café, Cedric’s Tavern or The Dining Room at Inn on Biltmore Estate. For guests looking to extend their stay at Biltmore, the four-star Inn offers several packages for holidays, including special New Year’s Eve packages. Biltmore boasts retail shops, all perfect for holiday gift shopping. Other activities include taking a cozy horse and carriage ride (blankets provided) and exploring acres of landscaped gardens.

Holiday decorating seminars

Guests can learn how to infuse Biltmore into their own holiday décor by attending seminars at A Gardener’s Place. Biltmore’s talented Floral Displays team members will show how to create Christmas Wreaths (daily, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and Oasis Candle Rings (daily, 1 and 3 p.m.).

For more information about Christmas at Biltmore, please visit www.biltmore.com.

Celebrate a Victorian Christmas