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Thursday, December 1

Christmas at The Biltmore House


Two things I have to admit: 
1. I love Christmas & 2. I love Christmas at the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina.  I've only been to the Estate twice during the Christmas Season, but trust me - once you've gone, you never really leave.  It's a magical place year-round but once the Christmas Decorations are up and the Carolers and Quartets begin to perform, there is no way to brush away any of the memories.  I cry when I'm there, yes, literally cry with emotion - it's that beautiful.

Do you know about the Biltmore?
Even after six years of construction, the 250-room Biltmore House was not complete when George Vanderbilt opened it in December 1895; work would continue for years. Vanderbilt's diverse and cultured tastes influenced his travels with architect Hunt while Biltmore House was being constructed. The two men traveled throughout Europe and the Orient, purchasing paintings, porcelains, bronzes, carpets and furniture.



Here is a glimpse of the grandeur inside the Biltmore House. All of these photos were taken (with special permission) on the first floor - just a small portion of the tour! *Photography/video is not allowed inside during tours.



Winter Garden: A glass roof illuminates the center fountain sculpture Boy Stealing Geese by Karl Bitter. This area is located at the beginning of the House tour and there are musical performers there to welcome you with a Christmas Carol or two.



Billiard Room: The Vanderbilts and their guests enjoyed playing billiards on the custom oak tables made in 1895. Once you walk into this room, you have no difficulty imagining the men standing around the table with their cigars and cordials discussing the politics and finances of the day.



Banquet Hall: This impressive room with a seven-story high ceiling was the scene of dinner parties, holiday celebrations, and intimate family meals enjoyed in front of the triple fireplace. The Flemish tapestries are from the 1500s. The Organ Loft houses a 1916 Skinner pipe organ. I can't even imagine sitting here being waited on hand and foot for an evening meal.



The massive stone spiral staircase rises four floors with 102 steps. Through its center hangs an iron chandelier suspended from a single point with 72 lights. This site is just breathtaking, walking up and down the stairs is an experience that just can't be explained.



Library: Showcases Vanderbilt’s favorite passion, books. There are more than 10,000 volumes in eight languages here, attesting to the 1900 quote from a New York journalist that Vanderbilt was “the best read man in the country.” This room is so beautiful that it's been used as movie sets and to see it in real life is just spectacular.


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I hope you enjoyed your personal tour of Christmas at The Biltmore House. 

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