Grove Park Inn offers amazing gingerbread houses, new holiday traditions

WSBTV.com's Nelson Hicks checks out the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville for the holidays.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Looking for a new holiday tradition, one that involves hot chocolate by the fire, mountain views and gingerbread houses? Head north to Asheville and the Omni Grove Park Inn.

"We have a great opportunity for families to come up, enjoy themselves, sit around the fireplaces, see the gingerbread houses," Tracey Johnston-Crum, from the Omni Grove Park Inn, told WSBTV.com's Nelson Hicks. "We have well over 80 trees, individually themed and lit throughout the entire property. This is the place you want to be for the holidays."

PHOTOS: See National Gingerbread House Competition winner at Grove Park Inn

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The National Gingerbread House Competition steals the spotlight this time of year. These gingerbread house creations and entrants come from across the country and Canada, too. It's a far cry from its beginnings.

"We started in 1992 with a group of individuals from the community, and we invited them to make gingerbread houses and we put them on display," Johnston-Crum said. "Toward the end of the display, someone said, 'Oh, which one is the winner?' It wasn't a competition, so we didn't have a winner. So, we actually had to call in some judges, have the ones that were on display judged and we declared a winner, and thus, the National Gingerbread House Competition was born."

More than 25 years later, the competition routinely features well over 200 gingerbread house creations. The rules state the entries have to be 75% gingerbread and 100% edible.

Gayle Oliver, from Tennessee, was named the 2019 winner for her creation called the "Water Hole." See the video above for more on her entry.

Many of the competition's entries are on display at the hotel now through Jan. 4.

Whether with friends, with the kids or with that special someone, a trip to the North Carolina mountains and the Omni Grove Park Inn is a great escape in the middle of this crazy time.

“It’s a really great way to step out of the city, come up to the mountains and just breath deep and re-center,” Johnston-Crum said.