Christmas is a special time at Biltmore, in Asheville, NC, and has been ever since George Vanderbilt welcomed his first guests to his new home, Biltmore House, in 1895. It was that year that started a tradition that Biltmore’s guests enjoy today. The estate’s annual holiday celebration – Christmas at Biltmore – began November 3rd, and runs through January 7th, 2024.
Each year, the holiday centerpiece in Biltmore House is a 35-foot tall Fraser fir Christmas tree in the Banquet Hall, the same room as Mr. Vanderbilt’s first holiday party. The enormity of the tree is a requirement since the room itself is seven stories tall! As tradition dictates, this tree will be adorned with 500 ornaments and 500 lights. Inspired by the yuletide tale “The Night Before Christmas,” Biltmore floral team designer Don Holloway has chosen to dress the tree and the room in shades of red, emerald, and gold.
Biltmore’s in-house floral design team works year-round behind the scenes to make sure every detail of Christmas décor is just right. The team is made up of 17 floral designers. Guests will see their work across the estate, but in Biltmore House, their artistry and talent truly shine. From the 67 hand-decorated Christmas trees, to the handmade garlands and swags, each designer has incorporated his or her own unique flair to capture the season.
At night, Biltmore offers Candlelight Christmas Evenings inside the house, with the fireplaces and candles aglow, and live seasonal music by soloists, duos, and choirs. Outside, on the front lawn, a 60-foot tall Christmas tree glimmers with thousands of tiny lights. Antler Hill Village, where Biltmore’s Winery is located, will be illuminated for the season, with a mix of more modern light displays, and visits with Santa on the weekends.
The Christmas trees in the Banquet Hall and on the front lawn are sourced from Andrews Nursery, a family-operated tree farm in Avery County, N.C. Biltmore has enjoyed a long friendship with the Andrews family as they have supplied these trees for more than 40 years!
In addition to Biltmore House, the Conservatory will be dressed for the holidays. Completed in 1895, the Conservatory embodies the late 19th century passion for horticulture. It was a collaboration between George Vanderbilt, Frederick Law Olmsted – the estate’s landscape architect – and Richard Morris Hunt, who designed Biltmore House. Beneath its soaring ceiling, the Conservatory shelters exotic and tropical plants from around the world.
The traditional Christmas poinsettia takes center stage in the Conservatory during the season. Guests will encounter hundreds of poinsettias in a variety of colors ranging from classic Christmas red to magenta, mauve, pink, white and cream. The Conservatory team arranges potted poinsettias on Christmas tree-shaped towers for a unique look.
The Blue Ridge Mountains provide Biltmore’s gardens and spacious grounds the perfect backdrop for stepping back into another time, and slowing down to reflect and regroup. A variety of experiences are available – from horseback riding, rooftop tours of Biltmore House, visits to the Winery and wine tasting – to staying on property at one of Biltmore’s beautiful hotels or cottages. More about Christmas at Biltmore and how to visit can be found at www.biltmore.com.
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