Experience the magic of Christmas at the Biltmore

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Experience the magic of Christmas at the Biltmore

By Scottie Davis
Special to The Sun City Packet
Published Monday, December 3, 2012   |  424 Words  |  

Visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., is always marvelous, but during the holiday season it is pure magic. There is so much to see and do, it takes spending a whole day on the grounds with a stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate to fully experience this magic.

The evening Candlelight Tour at The Biltmore House, America's largest private residence, invites visitors to see the home just as the first guests would have on Christmas Eve in 1895.

More than 1,000 poinsettias, miles of garlands and 100 decorated trees glow under the warmth of candlelight and fireplaces. Music fills the great halls; singers and dancers perform and elaborate decorations adorn every room.

You can spend hours exploring the rooms filled with 16th century tapestries, a library with 10,000 volumes and a banquet hall with a 70-foot ceiling and a pipe organ. It is hard to believe that at age 29, George W. Vanderbilt was responsible for building and decorating this 250-room mansion.

The Biltmore House, in all its holiday splendor, only accounts for 4 acres of the 8,000-acre estate. There is so much more. Visit The Winery, the new Antler Hill Village, stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, and take a "Legacy of the Land Tour" around the grounds where you will hear stories about the Vanderbilt family, the area and make stops at places along the way. It is all part of Biltmore's magic.

The Winery, Antler Hill Village and Inn on Biltmore Estate are located at one end of the grounds. The Winery offers tours and tasting of Biltmore wines bottled on the grounds and a popular restaurant, The Bistro, features local products. Antler Hill Village opens onto a village green with shops, exhibits, outdoor adventure center and Cedric's Tavern.

On the hill overlooking Antler Hill Village and The Winery is the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate. Built is 2001, the Inn reflects the ambiance of the Biltmore House and is filled with small replicas of light fixtures, ironwork and fireplaces found in the main house.

The lobby has a big fireplace, views of the mountains and a cozy area for tea and cocktails. Downstairs is the dining room. It is romantic, intimate and provides a great culinary experience.

One of the perks of being a guest at the Inn is the access to Estate shuttles. Whether going to Antler Hill Village and The Winery or to the main house, the Biltmore shuttle will take you there.