Last year, a group of girls and I started a book club … Reading Between the Wines. We get together once a month armed with bottles of wine and the latest Pinterest recipe concoctions and discuss the book of the month. It’s a lot of fun and I know that our husbands secretly wish they could attend for the food and drinks … because it’s always legit.
At our book club get together back in August, we got to talking about the Biltmore mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. Only one of the girls had ever been, so we decided, why not plan a girls weekend?!
The weekend of November 7 was the one we chose since it was the first weekend that the Biltmore would be decorated for Christmas and it was the only weekend the majority of us could go! After a little planning, we were ready to roll. The Smoky Mountains were in their peak of fall colors, which made the drive incredibly beautiful. We decided to stay in a little cottage I found on VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner). It came with a hot tub, fireplace, and a little creek by the house. It was perfect!
After dropping our bags off at the cottage, we headed to the Biltmore for the Christmas Candlelight Tour. We arrived a little early and were able to watch an amazing sunset over the mountains.
Can you imagine living here?!?!! It is tucked away and is so beautiful and serene. The sweeping balconies and verandas make me want to wear long, period-piece dresses while sipping on wine with a couple corgis in tow.
I will say I was a little put off that no one actually lives here. George Vanderbilt was the one to build the Biltmore back in 1889. The house is a French Renaissance chateau, took 6 years to build, and has 250 rooms (!!). It was opened to the public in the 1930’s to help raise money for the family during the war. George Vanderbilt’s descendants still own the house and some live on its property, but no one lives in the house. It’s so sad. It’s gorgeous on the inside. I would at least have family Christmas there or hang out on a balcony in the evenings with a bottle of Merlot!!
No photos were allowed to be taken of the inside, but it’s truly immaculate. During the Christmas season they have chamber and handbell choirs performing in the winter conservatory as you walk in. As you make your way to the other floors of the house they had a classical guitarist and someone playing a hammered dulcimer. It definitely put me in the mood for Christmas!
If you would like to see the main 40 foot tall Christmas tree in the main dining hall being raised, check out this link. You can also see their pipe organ in this video. It’s amazing how they get the tree in the house and decorate it! Some of the ornaments on the tree are HUGE! Like the size of basketballs and much bigger. And this is only one of 40+ trees throughout the house.
It took us about an hour and a half to tour the house and by the time we were finished it was dark outside and all the Christmas lights were on.
That evening we ate at Nine Mile and it was ahhhhmazing! Asheville doesn’t disappoint with their restaurant options!
Our tickets allowed us to return to the Biltmore the next day to walk the grounds and more importantly, visit their winery at Antler Hill.
The inside of the conservatory is like a jungle … and it smells incredible with all the flowers that are blooming.
After we had our fill, we headed over to one of Asheville’s MANY breweries – Highland Brewing Company.
Most breweries I’ve been to have a “cool” atmosphere that makes you want to hang out there all day. At Highland, they have a big grassy lawn where kids were playing soccer and running around while the adults were mingling. There was a pizza food truck and of course, plenty of beer on tap at their outdoor tasting station.
Of course we opted to take the free tour of their facilities. Highland is a smaller brewery that is on the verge of growing significantly. It was cool to see how intimate it still is before it doubles its size.
Overall it was a great trip. If you are ever in need of a weekend vacation, Asheville and the Biltmore are perfect. There is soooo much to do there. I wish we were able to spend another day or two checking out the city and the other breweries, but alas, all good things must come to an end.
I’d really like to go back to the Biltmore in spring/summer to see all the gardens in full bloom. Just another excuse for another weekend getaway … but next time I’ll bring the husband. 🙂
Thanks for stopping in!
More fun facts about the Biltmore:
- During the holiday season, the staff estimates that they use at least 15,000 strings of lights during their decorating process. They also utilize 100 evergreen trees. They only use burlap and ball Holly trees and inside, there are 41 Christmas trees to decorate.
- There is 175,000 square feet (or 4 acres) of floor space in Biltmore House.
- There are more than 11 million bricks.
- It has 250 rooms, 65 fireplaces, 43 bathrooms, 34 bedrooms, and three kitchens.
- A massive stone spiral staircase has 102 steps.
- This is also the house featured in the movie Richie Rich!