DOWNTON ABBEY VISITS THE BILTMORE ESTATE

In my third and final installment regarding my visit to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina the package I purchased included a special treat from our friends from across the pond.  Just recently I saw the movie “Downton Abbey.”  The film picks up where the PBS series left off and I am a big fan of the show.  

While visiting the magnificent Biltmore during the Christmas holidays to view the incredible decorations, it just so happened that “The Downton Abbey Exhibition” had recently opened at the estate.  There were of course costumes from the series and movie as well as furniture, documents, props and audio visual presentations regarding the life of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century.  I loved the exhibition and the history that went with it.  The “Downton Abbey Exhibition” will be at the Biltmore Estate until April 2020.  If you’re a fan of the show, it’s definitely worth the price of admission.

In my best British accent–remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

a CULINARY EXPERIENCE At The Biltmore

by CY Cooper

In my last post for THIS IS YOUR BEST YEAR, I told all about my trip to see the Incredible Biltmore Estate for the Christmas Holidays.  As I explained in my last communication, I actually stayed at one of the hotels on the estate grounds…..The Village Inn.  Not only can you stay at one of the two hotels on the estate but there are also amazing restaurants on the property where you can dine.  The Biltmore has seven restaurants that offer a wide range of fine and casual dining choices.  The menus showcase fresh produce and meats that are raised and harvested on the Biltmore estate.  

Since we were arriving in Asheville, North Carolina in the afternoon, I went online before the trip and checked out the menu, reviews and made a reservation for the dinner buffet at DeerPark Restaurant.  If I have to say so myself, it was a great choice.  This buffet had everything from slow roasted prime rib, herb crusted turkey breast to citrus roasted salmon.  Let’s not mention the many appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes and of course numerous desserts including, a crepe station, black forest pavlova and eggnog cheesecake.  ALL the food was DELICIOUS.  

Now since we were staying at The Village Inn and had purchased the Christmas Tour Package, breakfast was included with the stay.  As you may know, I absolutely LOVE breakfast and the morning meal at the Village Social restaurant definitely started off each day in the correct way.  For some reason each morning I ordered the Social Breakfast which included two eggs (over medium) heirloom potatoes, toast and thick cut bacon.  Service was exceptional right along with the food.  

Because each day was started off with a satisfying breakfast, there really was no need for lunch.  Maybe a stop here and there for snacks but not a full blown lunch.  Next to the actual Biltmore estate,  there’s a section where there are shops and a restaurant called The Stable Cafe.  It’s a fitting name as it was once the estate’s actual horse stable.  The Stable Cafe features Appalachian comfort food for lunch including house smoked meats, Carolina barbeque, classic burgers, and salads.  The Dinner Menu at the Stable Cafe is simply OUTSTANDING. The dining room for dinner is located on the 2nd level.  Decorated beautifully for the holidays, the dining experience at The Stable Cafe was simply AMAZING.  Service was fantastic and the food was wonderful.  I ordered the Bone-In Pork Chop with sweet potato puree, fried brussel sprouts & apple sage butter.  My friend ordered the Shrimp & Grits with sauteed shrimp, Anson Mills blue corn grits, lobster butter, andouille sausage & scallions.  Please note at the end of the meal there was nothing left on either plate.  

As I mentioned in the previous post, this was my second visit to this magnificent house.  On my first trip I enjoyed afternoon tea in the Library Lounge at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.  The Inn is a 4 star hotel located on the grounds with incredible sweeping views of the estate.  On this trip I booked their Holiday Tea located in The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.  With Mount Pisgah in the background, we enjoyed a full service afternoon tea with delicious scones, sandwiches & desserts.  As you have come to expect with anything associated with The Biltmore, service along with the food was impeccable.  

Enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays at the Biltmore was a dream come true for me.  BUT there was another perk that was added in that I didn’t see coming and that was……The Downton Abbey Exhibition currently on display at the Biltmore until April, 2020.  More about that in my next post.  

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and savor the moment.


Holiday Magic At The Biltmore

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!