The Biltmore at Christmas
Complete with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces, the Biltmore Mansion is one unbelievable sight. It's even harder to imagine that its construction began in 1889. Though it was once home to the illustrious Vanderbilts, it is now open to the public and makes the perfect weekend trip during the Christmas season. Here's what I did:
As soon as I walked past the brisk air of December and into the foyer of the mansion, I was stunned with how big this place was. It is a mansion, after all, but I had never been in one! The triple fireplace immediately caught my attention because I knew if I stood adjacent to it, the openings would be taller than my 5'2" frame. Every detail of the Biltmore is amazing just to look at but even more amusing to read about. A self guided tour is the way to go and is easy. You will learn about Southern history while also learning about one of the most famous families in American history -- the Vanderbilts.
November through December, tickets range from $65-$90. It may sound like a lot, but this is a magical experience that is worth every penny. Everything is decorated for Christmas, and the grandeur of the library, hallways, fireplaces, you name it, is beyond imagination and is worth the 3 or so hour outing. Asheville, North Carolina, which is home to the estate, is a cute little town that is styled with dark accents and cozy aesthetics, so the Biltmore is not the only attraction. And the view -- WOW. I could stare at the Blue Ridge Mountains for hours, and I know you could, too.
While you're on the estate, don't forget to check out the gardens, shopping area, and winery. Each area has its own unique history and details that you are sure to enjoy. While you're roaming around, just be sure to take in God's creation. If it's snowing, admire its purity. If you can see the mountains, remember that God made those. You're in the middle of this great big house on this great big estate, but there is so much to see outside of the mansion, too.
We stayed at the Grand Bohemian, which is owned by Marriott. This was an experience in itself. Those dark aesthetics of Asheville are center to this hotel's theme. A central, 4-sided fireplace sits in the lobby and is surrounded by medieval-looking chairs and the perfect place to drink morning coffee or an evening hot chocolate. Once you take a seat, you won't want to leave. The lobby bathroom is equipped to give its guests the luxury treatment with clean towels and fancy lotion...one of my favorite parts! I love being pampered!
This hotel is a great anniversary getaway, too. The rooms, though not pictured, are eccentric and have a beautiful bathtub to soak in with that evening hot chocolate of yours. Relax while you're here. You'll see how easy it is to make that happen.
Tips: I would not bring small children on this trip unless they can walk or you are willing to carry them. They can manage, but it is difficult for you to enjoy the Biltmore with a stroller. If you can find a way around that, then by all means. Be sure to walk around Asheville. It's different. You may have no interest in it and may not buy anything, but it's cool to look at. Lastly, bring a jacket. You're in the mountains, and it is definitely cold...well, maybe not for you northern folks. Anyway, good luck!