A Carolina Christmas: Biltmore welcomes you to stay and play

CR Rae
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Christmas lights on the front lawn of Biltmore.

The Vanderbilt family probably never realized how much joy their home, Biltmore, would bring to families from near and far at Christmas.

The former home of George and Edith Vanderbilt is magic any time of the year. However, Christmas in this more-than-130-year-old home is magnificent.

The home was built in 1889 and is a French Renaissance chateau with 250 rooms. It took 1,000 craftsmen working together six days a week to complete the home over six years.

The home consists of four acres of floor space and includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces — that takes a lot of decorating. The house first opened for visitors in 1930 with the purpose to help increase tourism during the Great Depression.

Biltmore is the largest home built in America and sits on 8,000 acres of beautiful hills in Asheville, North Carolina.

Visitors to Biltmore will find thousands of sparkling ornaments, warm glowing candles and crackling fireplaces. At Antler Hill Village on the property, the lights, ornaments and displays continue to amaze even the most seasoned Christmas lover.

Christmas at Biltmore is a tradition and runs through Jan. 10. During daylight hours explore the wreaths, garlands and thousands of ornaments throughout the house and Antler Hill Village. From now through Jan. 9, the Candlelight Christmas evenings are spectacular.

There are options for visiting Christmas at Biltmore that allow decoration seekers to enjoy the house and gardens, take a self-guided tour, visit Antler Hill Village and Winery, or enjoy the Antler Hill Village Illumination. Visitors also have the option for an audio guided house tour that take them back to the days when the Vanderbilt family lived at Biltmore through stories about the family. The option for a two-hour guided tour and some sneak peeks at areas off the main tour is available.

An evening tour adds soft candlelight to the house tour, with a visit to the Antler Hill Village and Winery.

Visitors will find more than 100 decorated trees. 10,000 ornaments, 100,000 twinkling lights and Christmas displays. Take your time and enjoy all the festiveness of Biltmore and surrounding grounds.

Make reservations and purchase tickets at biltmore.com. Health and safety policies are in effect. Face coverings are required for guests older than 2. See guidelines on the website.

A great way to complete your visit is the Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting. The chocolate is produced locally and you will learn about the wines produced at Biltmore, the process of farming specific cacao and how it affects the chocolate.

You can spend the night at the Village Hotel, The Inn or Cottage on the Biltmore Estate. Take time to explore the Blue Ridge Mountain and grounds and all it has to offer.

Spending a night or two allows shoppers in the family time at the Shops at Biltmore, or to enjoy a meal at one of the dining options in Antler Hill Village. Cedric’s Tavern offers pub fare, craft beer and Biltmore wines. The Dining Room has four-star dining with the finest of china, crystal and beautiful views of the estate. Stable Café has Appalachian comfort food, Carolina barbecue and burgers and is in the historic horse stable. Bistro has estate-raised and regional ingredients, in a casual setting that allows you to watch the chefs prepare your meal.

Contact CR at crraetravel@gmail.com.

The 35-foot Frasier Fir in the Banquet Hall is the holiday centerpiece of Christmas at Biltmore.