By Mary Gallagher
Photos provided by Biltmore
Anytime is a good time to visit the Biltmore and Asheville, NC, I’ve been there when it was freezing cold, pouring rain and on a beautiful spring day. We’ve stayed at the Biltmore Hotel as well as other hotels and AirBandB’s in Asheville. The Biltmore is the largest private home in America, I haven’t seen or done it all yet!
When you look at their website you’ll be amazed at a constant stream of special events, variety of ticket combinations and prices so can plan your trip wisely but anytime of the year. Just a walking tour of the house is a marathon. Several new things are on the agenda from now through Spring.
November 3, 2018 – January 6, 2019 you’ll have a feast for the senses with your daytime visit. Enjoy the scent of fresh evergreens as you admire holiday décor featuring wreaths, garlands, and the sparkle of thousands of ornaments on more than 55 glorious Christmas trees. The celebration continues across the estate, including holiday blooms in the Conservatory, commemorative Christmas wine at the Winery, special menus in restaurants, and Antler Hill Village has a must-see evening illumination display. At night you’re greeted with the soft glow of luminaries and holiday lights on a towering Norway spruce. Inside, thousands of ornaments on the dozens of Christmas trees reflect the flicker of candle, fire, and twinkle lights.
Live performances of Christmas music add to your self-guided evening visit, which includes admission to Antler Hill Village & Winery. The Village is a must-see part of your holiday experience, decorated with glittering cascades of lights, the fountain is aglow with special visual effects, and the champagne bubble ornament display that adorns the Winery Tasting Room ceiling.
If you’re a Downton Abbey or other historic British series fan and wondered about being a guest of the Vanderbilt’s during their years living in Biltmore House. Your chance is coming soon.
Beginning Feb. 9, 2019, Biltmore House becomes the scene of a festive celebration hosted by the Vanderbilt’s in a new exhibition, A Vanderbilt House Party: Guests, Grandeur & Galas. For years, Biltmore’s curators have researched what it was like when the Vanderbilt’s entertained. The curatorial team has created an experience that will put you into the action of the time when George and Edith Vanderbilt extended their boundless hospitality to family and friends. The exhibit runs through May 27, 2019.
Clothing vignettes in Biltmore House is paired with storytelling in a new audio-guided tour (free with all online ticket purchases) that uses innovative 360-degree sound techniques to draw listeners into the preparations for a celebration in Biltmore House. The narration is based on those who lived and worked in Biltmore House, and features a butler and other staff as they work to prepare a grand multi-course dinner; as an opera singer rehearses and as more servants set an elaborate table in the Banquet Hall.
The new clothing vignettes are based on the Vanderbilt’s’ actual wardrobes and were specially reproduced for this exhibition by Oscar-winning costume designer John Bright. Biltmore has partnered with Bright and his London-based company, Cosprop for all of its costume exhibitions.
A Vanderbilt House Party is included in Biltmore daytime admission; the premium audio-guided exhibition tour is free with online ticket purchases.
Especially nice if your staying at the Biltmore Inn is spending time in the 8,000-acre backyard. Biltmore is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Plan your next adventure from the Outdoor Adventure Center at Antler Hill Village.
There are also a variety of same-day activities with no reservations required including; one-hour bike rentals, horseback riding, river float trips, Land Rover adventures, and sporting clays. On one of my visits a bride and groom were picked up at the hotel in a beautiful horse drawn carriage to be whisked off to their wedding ceremony.
To learn more about this new exhibit or any time, event or question regarding Biltmore, as well as how to purchase tickets, visit www.biltmore.com or call them at 800-411-3812.
My tips for visiting Biltmore. Keep in mind the entire property is massive you cannot do it all in one day. The Biltmore is comparable to many historic properties in Europe so you just saved the cost and exhaustion of an overseas flight. Wear very comfortable clothing and shoes and lighten your purse.Try to go on a weekday when school is on, no national holidays and it will be less crowded. Most teenagers and under will be bored. Leave them somewhere else. Elderly people will fade. The recorded guides are very good. Your eyes eventually glaze over at the opulence.
Here are some distances.
Reception & Ticketing Sales Center to Biltmore House: 3 miles
Biltmore House to Antler Hill Village & Winery: 5 miles
The Inn on Biltmore Estate to Biltmore House: 4 miles
Antler Hill Village & Winery to Deerpark: 2 miles
Accessible shuttles with zero-entry lifts for guests with mobility disabilities are available in Park & Ride lots. Check this excellent accessibility page if anyone in your party has any challenges. https://www.biltmore.com/visit/visitor-information/estate-accessibility