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George Vanderbilt's grand Asheville estate kicks off the holiday season this weekend
ASHEVILLE, N.C., Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Santa Claus and a team of Belgian draft horses ushered a 35-foot-tall Fraser fir tree to the front door of Biltmore House, America's largest home. More than 40 Biltmore employees carefully maneuvered the tree into the home's cavernous Banquet Hall, where the majestic beauty will spend the holidays as the estate's star attraction during Christmas at Biltmore.
Known as one of the Southeast's most beloved and storied holiday vacation destinations, Christmas at Biltmore is set to begin Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, and will run through Jan. 12, 2014. Candlelight Christmas Evenings, offering evening candlelight tours of Biltmore House, take place Nov. 9 through Jan. 4, 2014.
On Christmas Eve 1895, George Vanderbilt opened his grand Biltmore House for the first time to his friends and family. In later years, he and his wife, Edith, welcomed family, friends and the estate's employees and their families into the Banquet Hall for the annual Christmas party.
Biltmore's modern-day Christmas celebration is modeled on that first Christmas, with the elaborately decorated fir tree dominating the seven-story-tall Banquet Hall. The estate's floral design team festooned the tree today with ornaments and wrapped presents the size of basketballs, some even larger, as Biltmore guests looked on, marveling at the tree's size, and taking cues for their own holiday decorating plans.
Guests visiting Biltmore for Christmas this year will see 55 more trees throughout the house, each intricately designed and decorated by the floral designers. Miles of fresh garland and wreaths create a yuletide scent throughout the House, with around 1,000 red and white poinsettias in the Winter Garden and other areas.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings, Nov. 9 through Jan. 4, 2014
The season's Candlelight Christmas Evenings tours of Biltmore House offer a unique and cozy holiday experience, with hundreds of lit candles and the home's large fireplaces burning. Choirs and musical ensembles perform seasonal music throughout the home. The front lawn glows with a 55-foot Norway spruce, lit by 45,000-plus tiny white lights.
Additional holiday activities
In Antler Hill Village, Santa will visit with children and families from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 9 through Dec. 22, and also on Friday, Nov. 29.
The village links to the Winery, where visitors may take guided tours, enjoy free wine tastings and purchase wines from Biltmore's diverse portfolio. Special wine seminars are also available.
Biltmore's floral arranging and gardening experts will conduct free, daily seminars at A Gardener's Place retail gift shop now through Jan. 12. Seminars are "Caring for Christmas Plants," 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and "Decorating with Christmas Wreaths," 1 and 3 p.m.
Holiday dining and lodging on the estate
Guests may enjoy a holiday meal at Bistro, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Cafe, Cedric's Tavern or The Dining Room at Inn on Biltmore Estate. Biltmore's four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate offers several packages for holidays, including special New Year's Eve celebrations. Biltmore boasts retail shops, all perfect for holiday gift shopping.
For information about Christmas at Biltmore, visit http://www.biltmore.com/visit.
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