Guest blogger CY Cooper
Happy Holidays, one and all. My family and friends know that yours truly is a history enthusiast. So, in the spirit of the season I began my celebrating the holidays by traveling to Asheville, North Carolina the first week of December and visiting the magnificent Biltmore Estate. It’s simply known as the Biltmore or as I like to call it, America’s Downton Abbey. No matter what time of year you go to see this incredible structure, it is breathtaking BUT during Christmas it’s even more amazing.
Biltmore was the family home of George Vanderbilt, his wife Edith and their daughter Cornelia. The house, over 175,000 square feet and 250 plus rooms, was under construction for over five (5) years. On Christmas Eve in 1895, George Vanderbilt officially opened the doors of the grand house to family and friends. At the time it was constructed Biltmore had all the latest conveniences for a home in the late 1800’s.
During my visit, I stayed at one of the two hotels located on the grounds of the estate. The Village Hotel and the The Inn are not far from the main house. When you stay at either one of the hotels there’s a shuttle that takes you back and forth from the house, to the winery, gardens, conservatory, equestrian center, shopping areas and restaurants. In fact, you don’t have to leave the estate grounds unless you want to explore Asheville. There are several tours available pertaining to the estate, including a guided house tour, roof top tour, a tour of what went on through the eyes of the servants’ garden tours and my favorite, legacy of the land tour. Biltmore is not just a large home with beautiful gardens, it’s a brief but fun and fascinating glimpse into the past of America.
Thousands of people visit the estate during the holidays to view this spectacular home with its beautiful decorations during the day and also in the evenings where the house is illuminated by candlelight. There is so much to talk about regarding my visit that I can’t put it all in one post. Look for upcoming posts regarding reviews of the restaurants on the estate as well as a recap of The Downton Abbey Exhibition currently running at the Biltmore.
My stay at the Biltmore was wonderful, but there is no place like home for the holidays. Have a wonderful holiday season, and remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Merry Christmas!