The Beautiful Biltmore Estate/alight for Christmas

Trip Start Jan 01, 2012
Trip End Dec 31, 2012

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What I did
Biltmore Estate Asheville
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Monday, November 12, 2012

What can you say about a home of such grandeur?  A home with 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces (all of which were lit for this Christmas candlelight tour), and 67 beautifully decorated Christmas trees of all sizes?  Amazing and Awesome hardly seem to describe it appropriately.   
To see a "chateau" of this caliber, one normally must cross oceans - t see it here, in the U.S. Southeast, is mind-blowing.  To think that it was built in the late 1890's, with electricity (including electric lights in the bottom of HUGE indoor swimming pool!), and when George Vanderbilt was a bachelor, is really unbelievable!

  (By the way, a couple miles before we even entered the gates of Biltmore, we knew it must be pretty special, because even the MacDonald's in town was of a stately design, like none we'd ever seen before!)

   We started out in the gardens, and the conservatory, which even at this late date, was beautiful. 

There were still some roses blooming in the Rose Garden, enough to give one an idea of what an explosion of color it must be in June. 

The conservatory was made even more beautiful with many, many touches of bright reds, whites, variegated reds and bright green/yellows of poinsettias, placed for the Christmas season's tourists. 

Even the restroom building was beautiful!

   From the gardens, we drove across the property (the entire estate is 125,000 acres, all of which were landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of New York's Central Park)

 to the Biltmore Winery, where we sampled, purchased, and enjoyed several wines and a cheese tray, and did a little shopping, too.

We also saw Mrs. Biltmore's beautiful Stevenson-Duryea Touring Car, which was parked behind the winery in a temperature-controlled room.

  Our tour time was 5:45 pm, and although all the advance materials I had read said to be sure to get the audio tour headphones @$10, it turned out that they are not offered during the Christmas Candlelight Tours - however, there are docents in many of the rooms who are very knowledgeable and ready to answer any question you might have.  Cameras are not  allowed inside the mansion, so I would be left to try to describe the beauty of it, except for the fact that I found a collection of pictures online, which you can see by clicking the link above (in this paragraph!).  Picture, if you will, walking in the front double doors and seeing "The Winter Garden" (12th picture in that online collection) filled with choirs singing Christmas carols, and bell choirs, too. All I can say is that it was a beautiful, memorable evening.

  Afterwards, we went back to Antelope Village and had a nice dinner at Cedric's (named for George Vanderbilt's St. Bernard), and then started on the long drive home.  On the way out of the Estate, the shadows of the trees in the rain and the headlights created some modern-art type views that I couldn't help but photograph!

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