6 Reasons to Visit the Biltmore This Holiday Season

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Biltmore Christmas

The Christmas tree on Biltmore’s lawn stands 60 feet tall. Photo credit: Lynne Harty

In a world that’s been turned upside down by a pandemic, there’s something to be said about the comfort of tradition. And during the holiday season, no place exudes Christmas cheer quite like the Biltmore in Asheville, which has celebrated the holidays each year for more than a century. This year marks the 125th anniversary of when George Vanderbilt first opened Biltmore House to his friends and family.

“He built the house, moved in in October 1895 and December was the first time people came to visit,” explains LeeAnn Donnelly, Biltmore’s senior public relations manager. “You could think of it as a housewarming party.”

The modern-day celebration, which began in 1976, typically attracts some 400,000 guests between November and January. Despite many changes to keep visitors and staff safe this year due to COVID-19 (including mask requirements indoors), the Biltmore still plans to glorify the festive season this year with a theme of an 1895 Christmas.

“Biltmore and the holidays are a match made in heaven – it’s so lovely and beautiful and peaceful here, and I think that people who visit would agree that it’s just a wonderful tradition,” Donnelly says.

See more: Behind the Biltmore Estate: 7 Things You Didn’t Know About America’s Largest Home

– Kelsey Ogletree

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Snap Photos by the Christmas Trees

Biltmore Christmas

The Banquet Hall tree is true to history with 500 lights and 500 ornaments. Photo credit: Lynne Harty

The design team behind Biltmore’s famous Christmas trees looked to the archives to gain inspiration for the 1895 Christmas theme. In the Banquet Hall, a real tree stands 35 feet tall, mimicking the tree the Vanderbilts had that year; it’s decorated with 500 lights and 500 ornaments, too, true to history. Another item the Vanderbilts had requested was “barrelfuls of holly,” so lots of this pretty flowering plant has been incorporated into plentiful cheery garlands. All told, there are 55 hand-decorated trees throughout the home and 52 around the grounds, including a 60-foot tree with 55,000 lights standing tall on the front lawn. “It’s so gorgeous when you first walk up. It’s a beautiful, shimmering oasis,” Donnelly says.

See more: 4 North Carolina Choose-and-Cut Christmas Tree Farms

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