Arrival of 34-foot-tall tree signals start of Christmas at Biltmore

Annual estate holiday celebration runs Nov. 6, 2015 through Jan. 10, 2016

Nov 04, 2015, 17:53 ET from Biltmore

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Nov. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The holiday transformation at Biltmore House was complete today when a crew of 40 Biltmore employees hoisted a 34-foot tall Fraser fir tree to its place of honor in the home's Banquet Hall. The event signals the start of Christmas at Biltmore, which runs Nov. 6, 2015, through Jan. 10, 2016.

Every year, Biltmore transforms into an unforgettable yuletide vacation destination like few others. Biltmore's design team has woven this year's theme – "A Gilded Age Christmas" – throughout every element created for the season, incorporating grand and elegant details that are rooted in authentic Vanderbilt Christmas stories.

The towering tree, from Andrews Nursery in Avery County, N.C., is a nod to traditions started by George Vanderbilt on Christmas Eve in 1895 when he opened his 250-room home to friends and family for the first time. As tradition dictates, the tree is decorated with 500 ornaments – some as tall as a toddler – and wrapped packages tucked into its branches. It serves as the seasonal centerpiece in the home's immense Banquet Hall.

The holiday spirit lives within the hallways and rooms of Biltmore House even more so under cover of nighttime. During Candlelight Christmas Evenings, thousands of ornaments and over-the-top wreaths and garlands sparkle with the reflections of candlelight and cozy fires in the home's fireplaces. Despite the home's enormous size, sounds of choirs and musicians create an intimate atmosphere. Outside, a 55-foot Norway spruce tree, lit by 45,000 tiny white lights and surrounded by hundreds of hand-lit luminaries, welcomes guests for evening tours. Offered Nov. 6 through Jan. 2, Candlelight Christmas Evenings are the only time of year when the home is open for evening tours.

Christmas at Biltmore 2015 Events
Christmas at Biltmore features the following holiday activities and events:

  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10: Christmas at Biltmore daytime experience
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 2: Candlelight Christmas Evenings
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10: A Gardener's Place Holiday Seminars. "Decorate with Christmas Wreaths" is offered at noon and "Create Holiday Tablescapes" is offered at 1 p.m.
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10: Complimentary wine tasting at the Winery. The "Red Wine and Chocolate" seminar is offered, as well as the "Biltmore Bubbles" tour. Additional price and reservations required.
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, evenings: Live music in Cedric's Tavern in Antler Hill Village.
  • Nov. 7 through Dec. 20, Saturdays- Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m., and on Nov. 27: Visits with Santa in Antler Hill Village.
  • Nov. 7 through Jan. 10, Saturdays-Sundays, 3 p.m., and on Nov. 27: Roving Holiday Carolers in Antler Hill Village.
  • Dec. 17, 18, 19: Inn on Biltmore Estate's Annual Gingerbread House Tea. Guests assemble gingerbread homes with the help of a pastry chef while enjoying afternoon tea. Additional price and reservations required.
  • Ongoing: Festive holiday meals prepared by award-winning chefs will be served in all of the estate's restaurants.

Lodging options at Biltmore increase in 2015
Guests looking to extend their holiday stay at Biltmore will have several options. Those seeking a retreat with personalized service, Inn on Biltmore Estate offers four-star accommodations with sweeping views in a private hilltop setting. Special holiday packages starting with Thanksgiving will be available during the holidays. 

Biltmore's newest lodging offering, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, opens on Dec. 1, 2015. Designed for the guest looking for a casual overnight stay, Village Hotel is located in the lively setting of Antler Hill Village. It offers a convenient home base steps away from shopping, dining, the Winery, live music and outdoor activities. Special holiday packages will be available during Christmas at Biltmore.

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About Biltmore
Located in Asheville, N.C., Biltmore was the vision of George Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America's largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family's original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Today, Biltmore has grown to include Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning Winery and Antler Hill Farm; the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; restaurants; event and meeting venues; and Biltmore For Your Home, the company's licensed products division.

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