ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Just days before Christmas at Biltmore begins, estate employees collaborated to welcome a 35-foot tall Fraser fir tree into Biltmore House where it will reside in the Banquet Hall as the estate’s grand holiday centerpiece.
The ceremonial arrival and raising of this Christmas tree is one of the most beloved Biltmore holiday traditions, attracting visitors to the home’s front lawn to see it make its way up to Biltmore House on a horse-drawn carriage. Because of COVID-19 and Biltmore’s commitment to the health and safety of its guests and employees, the tree-raising event took place without the usual onlookers and fanfare this year.
Christmas at Biltmore and Candlelight Christmas Evenings will be held from Nov. 6, 2020, through Jan. 10, 2021. Grand décor of more than 100 hand-decorated and styled Christmas trees, 25,000 ornaments, 100,000 holiday lights, nearly 6,000 feet of garland, 1,200 traditional poinsettias and additional favorite holiday plants will grace Biltmore House and the estate combined.
125th Anniversary of the opening of Biltmore House
It was Christmas Eve1895 when Biltmore’s founder George Vanderbilt first opened the doors of Biltmore House to family and friends. Just as the first guests slipped away from daily life to delight in the grandeur of the estate, those who visit 125 years later this holiday season are invited to find comfort, joy, and peace of mind in Biltmore’s Christmas traditions. Biltmore’s design team has interpreted the theme of “An 1895 Christmas” into this year’s holiday décor, taking inspiration from the estate’s archives with a focus on a traditional and classic Christmas.
Two experiences are available to enjoy Biltmore during the holiday season -- the Christmas at Biltmore daytime house tour experience, and the Candlelight Christmas Evenings nighttime house tour experience. The entire estate is open to guests as part of admission to either Christmas experience.
Christmas at Biltmore, Nov. 6, 2020 – Jan. 10, 2021
This beloved tradition includes a daytime tour of Biltmore House while the estate is adorned with holiday decorations that number in the thousands. daytime visit to Biltmore is a feast for the senses, featuring wreaths, garlands, and the sparkle of ornaments. From Biltmore House to the Winery and Antler Hill Village, guests will want to linger on the estate to experience all that Christmas at Biltmore has to offer.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings, Nov. 6, 2020 – Jan. 9, 2021
Biltmore House glows with candlelight and firelight during this nighttime tour, changing the daytime visit’s mood and experience. Candlelight Christmas Evenings in Biltmore House allows guests to step back in time with an experience reminiscent of the Vanderbilt’s first Christmas spent in Biltmore House in1895. Musicians stationed throughout the house perform seasonal favorites. Setting the scene is a 55-foot Norway spruce encircled by 36 illuminated evergreens and shrubs sparkling in the center of the front lawn. Hand-lit luminaries line the walkway to Biltmore House.
In addition to touring Biltmore House, holiday activities abound throughout the season. Guests can stroll through seasonal blooms and an array of tropical plants inside the Conservatory in the Walled Garden. Holiday plants and flowers will be on display including poinsettias, amaryllis, Christmas cactus, bromeliads, orchids, peace lilies, and more. The Conservatory will also feature Christmas tree-shaped planters with potted plants and natural materials. The estate’s winter gardens and miles of peaceful trails are also available for exploring.
Biltmore’s European-inspired village, Antler Hill Village, will have appearances from Santa for pictures and to hear wish lists from guests. An elaborate model train display featuring replicas of the country’s most unique train stations, Biltmore Gardens Railway, will be decorated for the holidays. As evening falls over Antler Hill Village, a constellation of holiday lights will illuminate trees, quaint buildings, the Winery tunnel and walking paths.
Estate restaurants will offer favorite seasonal dishes and craft cocktails. Bonfires will take place in Antler Hill Village with s’mores kits available for purchase at The Creamery as well as The Kitchen Café inside Village Hotel.
Adding to the estate’s many shopping options, new this year will be a Christmas pop-up shop, located in the Legacy at Biltmore building, stocked with everything needed to celebrate the season.
At the Winery, free tastings of wines will be offered as well as the opportunity to purchase wines, including the commemorative Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine and Christmas at Biltmore White Wine. The Winery will also feature a special 125th Anniversary Sparkling Wine which commemorates the opening of Biltmore House on Christmas Eve 1895. Wine bundles handpicked especially for gift-giving will also be available.
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