I am somewhat of a Christmas fanatic, and I always look forward to the big day for months! I always thought that there was nothing better than popping a fresh batch of sugar cookies in the oven and blasting Mariah Carey’s legendary “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on repeat. However, I can honestly say now that I have discovered something much better: the Biltmore Estate during the Christmas season.
Opening on Christmas Eve in 1895, the Biltmore House was the brain child of George Vanderbilt and was home to him, his wife Edith, their daughter Cornelia, and a plethora of servants. At any one time, there might have been more than eighty servants at Biltmore to care for the three family members. Can you say “high maintenance”?? There was quite a lot to clean though so maybe the servants weren’t just lounging around all day. The house has over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. During the Christmas season there are also 60 Christmas trees and more than 1,000 poinsettias. It’s truly a majestic (and very festive) sight to see.
I toured the Biltmore House during the day, but you can also tour it at night for the Candlelight Christmas Evenings. On select evenings, you can tour Biltmore by candlelight, listen to the choirs sing traditional Christmas songs throughout the house, and view the beautiful lights in all of their glory. There is even a huge 55 foot tree outside in front of the house that is adorned with more than 40,000 lights. The evening tour is a separate cost from the daytime tour.
While I didn’t take part in the candlelight tour, I did thoroughly enjoy my day visit. Biltmore House is wheelchair accessible to an extent and there is even an elevator that actually still uses the same battery that it did when the house was built. Wheelchair users can easily access the first and second floors, but not the third floor or the basement, as they require stairs. There is a room on the second floor however, where you can watch a video that shows what all is on the third floor and basement and wheelchair users can get a reduced admission rate to the house since everything isn’t accessible. Honestly though, I did not feel like I was missing out at all because there is so much to see on the first and second floors. The Banquet Hall was my favorite room (pictured above) and there was even a 35 foot Christmas tree in this room. My self guided tour of the Biltmore lasted about two hours and I was trying to figure out how I could raise enough money to recreate or buy this magical house the entire time.
My visit to the Biltmore House at Christmas was truly an experience that I will never forget. The whole vibe at the estate will put you in the Christmas spirit faster than you can say “gingerbread”. If you are anywhere near the Asheville, North Carolina area be sure to visit around Christmas and then again in the Spring or Summer, as both times are beautiful and very different. Also, if you would like to stay on the Biltmore property and live like a Vanderbilt for a few days, consider staying at the magnificent Inn on Biltmore Estate. I consider it my best stay ever and the Christmas spirit is alive at the Inn as well.
Have you visited the Biltmore Estate at Christmas before? Where do you usually go to get in the Christmas spirit?
*Thank you to the Biltmore for complimentary admission and hosting my stay. All opinions expressed are my own.