Travel Outside 30A

Biltmore Estate: Remembering a Family Christmas at the Estate in North Carolina

It was Christmas 2023, and we visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. It has been a “to-do” on my bucket list! We wanted our kids to remember it, so we waited until they were older. Yet, we never found that perfect segment of time, so forward to 12 and 15, we finally stepped into the Biltmore Estate, North Carolina’s fantastic castle-like home surrounded by beautiful nature.

It’s like entering a magical storybook where every corner has something spectacular to show.

Before entering the estate at our designated time by the hand-held “timed” ticket of 7:30 pm, we walked through vast gardens that didn’t look like a fairy tale. I was a bit disappointed due to the winter weather. The flowers weren’t in bloom, and the trees surrounding the home and lands were not full of beautiful greenery. Still, the Estate’s Conservatory didn’t disappoint!

The conservatory at the Biltmore was bursting with unique plants, flowers, and tourists! People were everywhere, but we got a few shots of the plants. The gardens are not in full bloom in the winter, but the Conservatory didn’t disappoint!

We walked throughout the conservatory and visited a few restaurants in the Biltmore Antler Village for a fabulous luncheon; ice cream and a cappuccino were the perfect snacks while we waited for our entry time.

Upon 7:30 pm, we were allowed in, and the candlelight Biltmore Estate, with over 50 Christmas Trees decked out in their holiday glamour, was finally able to be seen. As we walked through the vast estate on our individually voiced, self-guided tour, we explored every nook and cranny (well, the ones they allowed us to explore). You could almost hear parties from a gazillion years ago and imagine the fancy guests wandering around. It was a treat for mom!! I’m not so sure my boys and dad enjoyed it, though.

The beauty of the Biltmore Estate is not easily forgotten. The Biltmore Estate’s beauty leaves an enduring impression that’s hard to forget. Picture a breathtaking castle set amidst stunning gardens—a place that captivates your imagination long after you’ve visited. Its grandeur isn’t easily erased from memory; it’s an experience that stays with you. The magnificence of the estate, with its striking architecture and lush landscapes, creates a lasting impact.

We jumped back onto the bus around 9 pm at the end of the evening and hurried to a very late dinner with the kids!

I leave you with a few facts about the Biltmore Estate and put this on your bucket list!

The estate house sits on a massive 8,000-acre piece of land. Imagine handling that much land! We used to live on just 1 acre, and it was already too much for us to take care of. Drive along this beautiful road that cuts through a beautiful forest to get to the main house.

Building the home took about six years, and more than 1,000 workers helped. They finished building it between 1889 and 1895. This massive 250-room “castle” was supposed to be a home for just one person, George Washington Vanderbilt II. But instead, it became a family house for him, his wife, and their daughter.

George’s daughter, Cornelia, opened the house for people to visit in 1930, and during World War II in 1942, the family helped keep art safe.

This house is enormous—about 170,000 square feet and covers 4 acres of land! Can you believe it has 33 bedrooms, 65 fireplaces, and 43 bathrooms? It’s built on top of a special kind of rock called limestone, which you can see in the big basement hallways. Consequently, it’s still the most prominent house owned by a private person in the United States.

George got the idea for the house from all his trips to France. An architect named Richard Morris Hunt designed it to look like those fantastic grand castles all over France. Frederick Law Olmsted made the stunning gardens around the house. Oh, and his portrait is hanging in the guest living room on the second floor!