COMPLETE GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS AT BILTMORE

Hiya! My husband and I visited the Biltmore House for the first time on Sunday and we loved every minute! We have lived in Asheville for almost a year now, but haven’t had the chance to visit this beautiful monstrosity of a mansion yet. Since my husband is a sucker for all things Christmas, I bought tickets for the Candlelight tour at the Biltmore and it was nothing short of amazing! We also had friends from Charleston visit and were able to tour the house with them, which also made the experience really special for us!

In this blog, I will go over certain tips and tricks that made our trip to the Biltmore seamless and easy. Buying a ticket to the house does grant you two days entrance onto the property. If you are from out of town or plan to be in Asheville for the weekend, plan to go back both days. Believe me when I say that the Biltmore Estate is full of things to do. It is breathtaking in every way and should be something you be able to do without being rushed.

Antler Hill Village & Winery

Antler Hill Village sits on the north side of the property. It is approximately 1.2 mile from the Estate, so be sure to factor that into your travel time if you have a reservation for the house. They do have trolleys that drive from AHV to the house, but will take you 10-15 minutes. At Antler Hill Village, you have the Winery, lots of restaurants and plenty of shopping to keep you busy.

Due to limited number of people allowed in for each tasting, reserve a time slot to the Winery in advance to guarantee your spot, especially if you have a bigger group. They have a QR Code for you to scan to put in your information, which will then send you an email confirmation. Each tasting is complementary, so don’t miss out on the chance to taste five of the best wines from a long list of //. After your tour, buy bottles to take home from the wine shop to enjoy at your convenience or join the Vanderbilt Wine Club, in which you will receive three different wines each quarter by mail. You can choose from all red, all white, mixed or sweet. They also offer a pick-up option on site as well for those who live in the area.

Estate Tour

The Biltmore House was completed in 1895 and is currently still the largest home to date in the United States. There are sixty-five fireplaces, an indoor swimming pool and a bowling alley! The self-guided tour takes you through a one way route, but feel free to roam at your own pace. The typical time frame is anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half in the house.

Audio guides are available for $12.99pp. The 90-minute tour allows you to select the corresponding number to each room that then tells you more about he surrounding architecture, design and decor. It also tells you more about the lives of the Vanderbilts, their guests and servants alike.

The estate also offers a…
Rooftop Tour ($25pp) – Get an amazing view from rooftops and balconies of the Biltmore House.

Premium Biltmore House Tour ($175pp) – Get a personal guide, see the rooftops, and a behind-the-scenes look of the servant’s quarters.

Backstairs Tour ($25pp) – Offers access to rarely-seen servants’ areas and workplace stores.

Behind-the-Scenes Winery Tour & Tasting ($10pp) – See how the vineyards run and what it takes to make the wines of Biltmore.

Pro Tip: Make sure to walk up the hill across from the house to see the Diana & the Esplanade. This gives you one of the most iconic and most breathtaking views of the house from afar. As a preface, the Christmas is not there year round.

Bags no larger than a 12″ x 6″ x 12 plastic bag or 4.5″ x 6.5″ clear bag are allowed into the house, so make sure to come prepared.

Gardens and Conservatory

Chandler and I weren’t able to visit the gardens during our trip, but we plan to during the spring time now that we have annual passes. Yay for Christmas gifts! From what we have heard from friends and family who have been, we have heard nothing but great things!

There are 2.5 miles of paths that you can take through themed gardens around the house.
In the the winter, most of the gardens are empty. Any other time of year, you will find hundreds of variations of blooms.

Some highlights include:

+ 50,000 tulips in Wall Garden during the Spring
+ A mile long sunflower patch near Antler Hill Village in the late summer
+ Click here to find more details on blooms you can expect to see.

Walking Trails

There are over ten different walking trails on site at the Biltmore. They vary anywhere from a 1/4 mile to a 1/2 mile loop and there are 22 miles in all. During the Spring time, you can experience the blooming flowers at the gardens, go biking, fly-fishing hiking, horseback riding or even float down the river. The estate also offers Segway tours, sporting clays and falconry.

If you have smaller children and are planning to be on property for a majority of your day, there is the Pisgah Playground which is located near Antler Village. Plan for adequate time for the farm as well. Once home to the Biltmore Dairy, you can now stop by the farm to see the blacksmith, woodworking and craft demonstrations. Stop in to see the farm-friendly animals with your kids as well. They have sheep, chickens, goats and pigs.

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What can I expect at Biltmore Christmas?

A lot! If you’ve never been to the Biltmore before, the Estate at Christmas time is an even better first impression. There are stringed lights atop the walkways, Christmas trees at every turn and hot cocoa for //. For it being our first time touring the house, I am so glad we waited to do so at Christmas time. Every room of the house is decorated to the nines and was more than I expected.

Is the Biltmore Candlelight Tour worth it?

Starting at $114 per ticket, seeing the Biltmore during the Christmas holiday is like nothing else you’ll ever experience. We personally went with the self-guided tour, but there is also three different other tour options they offer throughout the year, which are all unique in their own way.

All in all, the Candlelight Tour was worth the “big” price tag. Seeing the estate’s fifty-five Christmas trees, lights, garland and hundreds of poinsettias were so magical to me. They also had all sixty-five fireplaces lit, live music playing on each floor and so many things to see and learn about in the house.

How long is Biltmore House decorated for Christmas?

The Biltmore house is decorated for Christmas from early November to into mid-January. Take advantage of the holiday festivities and make a trip during the Christmas season.

Where can I eat on site the Biltmore?

There are many different options to eat at the Biltmore! There are both fine dining and casual “light bites” for more on-the-go eats.

Antler Hill Village & Winery

  • The Bistro $$$ – causal spot serving farm to table foods
  • Cedric’s Tavern $$ – pub food, global cuisine and drink options
  • The Creamery $ – ice cream, sundaes, pastries and coffee
  • The Kitchen Cafe $$ – house-made soups, salads and sandwiches
  • The Smokehouse $$ – carolina bbq, sandwiches and southern favorites
  • Village Social $$$ – southern style food using sustainable seafood and regional ingredients
  • Wine Bar (Winery) $$ – sip of delicious wine and munch on a plate of cheese

Biltmore House & Gardens

  • Stable Cafe $$ – bbq, grilled foods and other southern favorites
  • The Bake Shop $ – fresh-baked pastries, coffee and tea
  • The Conservatory Cafe $ – small plates and wine
  • The Courtyard Market $ – gourmet hot dogs, salads, snacks and drinks
  • The Ice cream Parlor $ – hand-scooped ice cream, milkshakes and sundaes

Can I stay onsite during my visit?

You can! There are two different hotels on site where you can book reservations.

  • Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate $$
  • The Inn on Biltmore Estate $$

GENERAL INFORMATION

Address: One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803 (map)

  • Biltmore Estate Ticket Prices: $45-$85 (depending on day/season)
  • Flex Daytime Tickets
  • Annual Passes: $219 pp (you can also apply the price of your day pass to an annual pass)

Pro Tip: Save $10 by purchasing tickets online 7+ days before your visit.

Hours:

  • Admissions Gate: 8:30am-5pm (or last scheduled Candlelight tour)
  • Reception & Ticketing Sales Center: 8:30am-5pm (or last scheduled Candlelight tour)
  • Biltmore House: 9am-5pm
  • Winery in Antler Hill Village: Sun-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm
  • Gardens: 9am-6pm
  • Conservatory: 9am-5:30pm

Note: Always double check their site for hours in case they have special events going on.

Chandler and I absolutely loved our first visit to the Biltmore Estate. If you are planning a casual trip to Asheville for a weekend getaway or are coming to the area specifically for the Biltmore, make sure to factor in enough time to see this house in its fullest. Our trip did not disappoint by any stretch and we are excited to be able to make it a more common excursion.

Have you been to the Biltmore? What tips and/or tricks would you give first timers?

A WEEKEND IN ASHEVILLE, NC

Chandler and I have officially lived in “The Land of the Sky” for almost nine months now, y’all! We have loved every second of our time in Asheville and are constantly finding new hidden gems around our new home.

Now that the leaves are changing and the fall breeze is quickly approaching, it is making me fall more in love with this city.

I’ve listed some of our favorite spots below so you can check them out if you ever stop in the 828. There are hundreds more I could’ve listed, but these are just a few!

Coffee Shops

Farewell Coffee
If you are ever wondering where I am on my day off, there is 99% I am at Farewell Coffee working on my blog and sipping on an iced coffee. Farewell is located on the South Slope of Asheville and has the most eclectic and cheerful vibe. You get lots of natural light and are surrounded by lots of potted plants, all of which are for sale. There is outdoor seating available and a few tables inside. They also serve wine and have pastries available.

PennyCup Coffee Co.
I just discovered PennyCup a few weeks ago and wish it had been sooner. Their Merrimon location has plenty of seating and window seat that is absolutely dreamy. They have a wall-sized mural that runs along the back wall and the most breathtaking woodwork. Their bathroom floor is also epoxyed with actual pennies which brings in a nice touch to their namesake. Their white chocolate iced coffee and lox bagel sandwich are to die for.

Breweries
Lovingly named the “beer city capital,” Asheville has over thirty-three breweries and forty-eight in the greater AVL area as of 2019. We also have second highest number of breweries per capita in the country only after Portland, ME. Chandler and I have often gone on date nights to local breweries around town and not been to one we didn’t like.

Hillman Beer
Hillman is located on the outskirts of Biltmore Village. Hillman Beer is a small, family-owned business that was started by the Hillman brothers who came together to bring the pub style back to the brewery experience.

Catawba Brewing
Catawba Brewing is personally of my favorites! The roots for Catawba Brewing Company are strongly held in the mountains of western North Carolina, and more specifically, the Catawba River for which they are named. They have the best peanut butter & jelly beer that runs through the spring and summer time. Every Saturday, they have live music and local food trucks available on site. There are always lots of dogs running around, so it is a perfect place to bring your pet if you’re looking for a place to bring them.

Breakfast Spots

Green Sage Cafe
Green Sage is committed to serving food that promotes health and supports a vibrant community. Their food is nutrient-rich, chemical-free, organic, and thoughtfully-sourced. Luckily for me, Green Sage is only a five minute walk from apartment. I’ve been able to take friends when they’ve visited and it’s a fan favorite all around.

FOOD FAVORITE: Pura Vida Bowl

Biscuit Head
Biscuit Head is my favorite brunch place in all of the world. They pride themselves on their biscuits the size of cat’s heads and have the most delightful jam bar, all of which are made in house. They are huge portions, so expect to be full well into the afternoon.

FOOD FAVORITE: Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit

Dessert

French Broad Chocolate Lounge
The French Broad Chocolate Lounge sits on a downtown Asheville corner and specializes in using carefully sourced beans to create truffles, bars & other sweets. They offer homemade cakes, cookies and bon bons.

Restaurants

White Duck Taco Shop
White Duck also have three locations around the AVL area. We first tried WDTS before COVID and it was such a great find. You can’t go wrong with anything from this eclectic taco shop, but their Bangkok Shrimp Taco and Peanut Thai Chicken Taco are my personal favorites. They also serve local beer and an out-of-this-world queso dip. This is always a go-to for anytime we have any friends and/or first-time guests in town.

Hemmingway’s
If you consider yourself a foodie, Hemmingway’s is your restaurant! Located on the fourth floor of the Cambria Hotel, they have the best Cuban sandwich and Yucca Frita in the area. I first took Chandler here on the second stop of our Valentine’s Day progressive dinner and he instantly fell in love. They offer patio seating with a nice view that overlooks downtown’s streets and also offers a great daiquiri selection.

✩ Sunny Point Cafe
Years before we ever thought about moving to the Asheville area, my in-laws would rave about Sunny Point. At this cafe, they serve solid comfort food (perfect for a weekend brunch) and always have a VERY serious line out the door. If you’re planning a visit, go early to beat the crowds!

Sights and Sounds

Tubing the French Broad
I’ve tubed down the French Broad twice with friends and it is such a great time! It has a steady current, but is relaxing and makes for great conversations down the river. If you are considering factoring this into your trip, it takes roughly two hours from start to finish. We planned our trip through Zen Tubing but I know there are plenty of other companies to tube with.

Hiking Trails / Blue Ridge Parkway
North Carolina has hundreds of trails to choose from. On Labor Day weekend, my friends and I went to Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls and they were both so much fun! If you are ever needing a new place to hike, check out this list from the Asheville Trails page.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the National Park Service and is known as America’s favorite scenic drive. The 469-mile ribbon of road weaves around the peaks of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Great Smoky Mountains. National Park in North Carolina. You can drive, hike or bike the Parkway, all of which are great options. There are also many breathtaking lookouts that make a great spot for a picnic or to just sit and reflect.

Asheville Tourists Game
We weren’t able to experience a Tourist game this season due to COVID, but I am excited to see what the 2021 season holds. I interned at a Minor League Stadium during college (Go Drive) and have always been a big fan of baseball, so I am ready for games to start back up in the Spring. The Tourists are a Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockie and the ballpark sits on a section of level ground partway up one of the city’s hills, providing a picturesque atmosphere.