Gingerbread Architecture: Incredible AND Edible!

Ever since The Inn on Biltmore Estate opened in 2001, its Christmas at Biltmore decorations have included a miniature version of the hotel made from gingerbread. This year, however, Pastry Chef Cheryl Brookhouzen changed things up with her Walled Garden-inspired gingerbread Conservatory!

Gingerbread fox builds a snowmanAccording to her co-workers, Chef Brookhouzen’s vision and attention to detail make this gingerbread display truly over-the-top spectacular. Special features include rotating Christmas trees in the front and back, a lighted roof and windows, charming animals, and a host of other miniature touches.

Gingerbread Conservatory at The Inn on Biltmore Estate“We’ve been doing a gingerbread model of The Inn for nearly 15 years, so I thought it was time to try something new,” said Chef Brookhouzen of her design. “I hope that having something so different will delight our guests and make them interested in seeing what we create next year.”

Details of the gingerbread roof at The Inn on Biltmore EstateGingerbread Conservatory Fun Facts

1. The Conservatory was constructed with the help of 11 members of The Inn’s team, from pastry professionals to engineering, banquet, and purchasing services
2. Chef Brookhouzen baked the gingerbread in large slabs before cutting it into the right shapes
3. The display required 175 pounds of gingerbread dough, 160 pounds of powdered sugar, and more than 15 kinds of candy and snacks such as Kit-Kats, M&Ms, Sixlets, Sour Tape, Hershey’s chocolate bars, pretzels, old-fashioned candy sticks, mint candies, chocolate bears, chocolate caramel balls, chocolate leaves, lollipop trees, and more*
4. The windows and roof are made of poured isomalt sugar
5. The Conservatory shines with 800 white lights

*An additional 4 pounds of candy was consumed by the builders of the Conservatory!

Highlighting the Hearths of America’s Largest Home®

Please enjoy this archived content from a Christmas past.

Each Christmas season, our floral department selects a theme for décor throughout Biltmore House. This year, the team has interpreted the theme of “Hearth and Home”—inspired by stories of Vanderbilt family hospitality—throughout the house, emphasizing fireplaces and mantels in the grand spaces of America’s largest home. Here’s a glimpse at how this year’s theme has come to life…Breakfast Room mantel

In the Breakfast Room, originally intended for less formal dining, the mantel is draped with lights, garland, and multiple strands of beads for a casual, almost bohemian-style feel.Mrs. Vanderbilt's Bedroom mantel

Surrounding the low-lying fireplace in Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom is more richly colored garland, adding a touch of subtle seasonal elegance in the most feminine room in Biltmore House.The Music Room mantel

The mantel in the Music Room features a dash of classic Christmas crimson with simple strands of crystal beading. The traditional yet chic elements add genuine warmth to the special mantel, which displays carvings of the initials and life dates of Albrecht Dürer, one of George Vanderbilt’s favorite artists.Oak Sitting Room mantel

In the Oak Sitting Room, the theme of “Hearth and Home” has been taken to new heights. Lush strands of festive garland line the full mantel as well as sections between the room’s oak paneling and cornice frieze, adding emphasis to the high ceiling and its intricate plaster carvings.

View all of these Biltmore House fireplaces and more with a Candlelight Christmas Evenings visit.

Feature image: The Library fireplace and mantel

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

It is certainly no secret that the holiday season can be stressful. Between decorating indoors and out, entertaining family and friends, and last minute gift and grocery shopping, many of us find ourselves overwhelmed and exhausted during “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Luckily, The Spa at The Inn on Biltmore Estate offers specialty Sugar and Spice Treatments—the perfect combination to soothe and rejuvenate—throughout the season.

Begin with the Sugar and Spice Massage, a ginger and shea butter full-body treatment, to ease holiday tension. With customized pressure, our therapists perfectly tailor the experience to your personal needs. A skin-softening sugar scrub further enhances relaxation while providing invigorating exfoliation.

Then pamper your winter skin with the antioxidant-rich Sugar and Spice Facial. The custom botanical treatment will brighten your complexion, restoring that youthful glow. Enjoy a luxurious cocoa and cinnamon face masque as you relax with the comforting aromatherapy of sugar and spice.

The Sugar and Spice Pedicure will complete your experience and revitalize your soles. The warming and healing treatment begins with a cinnamon-infused foot soak followed by a hydrating ginger and shea butter massage for your lower legs and feet. A deeply hydrating honey foot masque helps to further soften your skin before an expert vegan polish application.

Yes, the holiday season can be stressful—but it doesn’t have to be. Treat yourself this Christmas with the soothing and rejuvenating elements of sugar and spice.

Bringing the outdoors in at Christmas

From dozens of decorated trees to miles of garland (yes, miles!), Christmas at Biltmore is a season characterized by twinkling lights, beautiful ornaments, and breathtaking floral arrangements throughout America’s largest home.

Although the general impression of the decked halls in Biltmore House is one of glittering splendor, some of the decorative elements are stunningly simple, owing their beauty to Mother Nature’s handiwork rather than any man-made creation.

Gathering hydrangeas in Biltmore's gardens“I’m all about less is more,” said Betsey Baker, a member of the Biltmore Floral team. Betsey came to Biltmore in 1999 as a plant expert at A Gardener’s Place, the charming garden and gift shop located beneath the Conservatory in the Walled Garden. In 2001, she joined Floral, which included cutting privileges for the gardens and grounds, and Betsey embraced the concept of “bringing the outdoors in” that meshed with her own natural style. Though officially retired for several years, Betsey continues to work with Floral on a reserve basis.

“For me, the beauty of arranging plants and flowers is that they tell me where they want to go,” Betsey said of her personal design aesthetic.

Christmas hydrangeas in the Music RoomThat was never more apparent than in 2009 when the estate’s theme was “Flowers, Fields, and Forests.” Betsey, who has cutting privileges in Biltmore’s gardens, created a particularly lush display featuring mounds of dried Hydrangea macrophylla that she harvested from the estate, spread out to dry, and then incorporated into her plan for the Music Room.

Dried hydrangeas in the Music Room“This type of hydrangea produces a large “head” of pale green blooms that is very full and tightly packed,” Betsey said. “After I clipped the heads, I hung them upside down to dry. As they dried, some of the flowers took on a warm cream and bronze hue, with beautiful pink tips. It gave the Music Room a natural blush of color that softened the massive mantel and drew out subtle tones in the woodwork and the furnishings.”

For Christmas at Biltmore this year, Betsey worked almost entirely with live plants in areas including the Halloween Room, Stone Hallway, and the Loggia.

“I used a lot of nursery plants and mixed in some tropical specimens that you’d expect to find in the house or in the Conservatory this time of year,” said Betsey. “I kept it simple, but it definitely brings a living, breathing energy to those areas of Biltmore House that aren’t traditionally decorated with Christmas trees and floral arrangements.”

1904 Menu Recreation: Roast Turkey

We asked Biltmore Chef Spencer Hilgeman to create recipes inspired from the archival 1904 menu book for a modern Thanksgiving celebration. This second video on our three-part series details a roast turkey entree inspired by the very same menu the Vanderbilts enjoyed at their 1904 Thanksgiving Dinner.

Entree: Blood Orange Roast Turkey with Heirloom Potatoes

Chef suggests using an 8–10# Airline Turkey Breast. This recipe also would work with a 10–15# Whole Young Turkey.

Compound Butter
1 Pound Unsalted Butter
2 TBSP Chopped Herbs (Parsley, Thyme, Chives)
3 TBSP Chopped Shallots
Zest of 3 Blood Oranges
3 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Ground Black Pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix. Separate the skin from the breast and stuff the compound butter underneath.

Top turkey with 2 TBSP salt, 2 TSBP pepper and 3 TBSP olive oil. Roast uncovered at 375 degrees for 1 ½–2 hours or until the internal temperatures reaches 165 degrees.

Herb Roasted Heirloom Potatoes
2 Pounds Baby Heirloom Potatoes
3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
3 TBSP Chopped Garlic
2 Shallots Sliced
3 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Ground Pepper

Combine all ingredients, ensuring the oil coats everything. Place on small baking sheet and bake for 30–45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until potatoes are tender.

Blood Orange Glaze
2 Cups Biltmore Century Red Wine
2 Cups Blood Orange Juice
1 Cup Sugar
2 TBSP Honey

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until a light syrup consistency. Allow turkey to rest before applying blood orange glaze.

Biltmore Estate Chardonnay

Wine Pairing

Enjoy with Biltmore Estate Chardonnay. Smooth and balanced with subtle floral aromas, crisp fruit flavors, and hints of oak.

Complete your meal with recipes and video instructions for our appetizer, Oysters on the 1/2 Shell with a Holiday Sauce Trio, and for dessert, Apple and Currant Mince Pie with White Cheddar Crust.

1904 Holiday Menu Recreation: Mince Pie

In 1904, the Vanderbilt family’s holiday menu included mince pie for dessert.

We asked Biltmore Chef Spencer Hilgeman of Village Social to create recipes inspired by the archival 1904 menu book for a modern Thanksgiving celebration.

This video on our three-part series details the delicious mince pie inspired by the very same menu the Vanderbilt’s enjoyed at their 1904 Thanksgiving Dinner.

Two pages of the archival menu book at Biltmore
Archival menu book used at Biltmore House

Dessert: Apple and Currant Mince Pie with White Cheddar Crust

Mince Pie Dough
3 cups flour
½ pound butter, chopped and chilled
1½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup white cheddar, shredded
1 egg, beaten (egg wash for crust)

Combine all ingredients except water and knead until butter is incorporated into the flour. Add water and continue to knead. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Mince Pie Filling
6-7 Granny Smith apples
2 cups dried currants
1/8 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup apple cider

In a medium pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apples are soft and apple cider has reduced. Allow to cool to at least room temperature.

Mince Pie Finish

Roll out pie dough large enough to cut two circles 1-2 inches larger than your pie pan. Cut out 2 circles with a knife. Place one in the bottom of your pie pan and trim off any excess. “Blind bake” the crust in oven for about 15 minutes until it is very light brown on the edges. Remove and cool.

Fill bottom crust with pie filling. Place other dough circle over the top and trim any excess. Crimp the edges with a fork, brush with egg wash, and score in the middle to allow steam to escape. Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 30 minutes, and enjoy!

Vanderbilt Reserve Pinot Noir

Pair with our Vanderbilt Reserve Pinot Noir

Enjoy with our elegant Vanderbilt Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Valley. Strawberry, raspberry, vanilla, and well-integrated oak aromas give way to supple fruit flavors.

Find recipes and video instructions for Chef Spencer’s inspired appetizer, Oysters on the 1/2 Shell with a Holiday Sauce Trio and his entrée, Blood Orange Roast Turkey.

1904 Menu Recreation: Oysters on the 1/2 Shell

1904 Archival Biltmore Menu

In Biltmore’s Archives, a cherished diary detailing menus for luncheons and dinners served between Sepember 27 and December 31, 1904 is safely stored. Kept by estate cook Ester Anderson, this book includes menus and the number of guests expected for special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, where both time-honored favorites and unique recipes were listed.

Knowing that tastes have changed over the last century, we asked Biltmore Chef Spencer Hilgeman at Village Social to create recipes inspired from the archival 1904 menu book for a modern Thanksgiving celebration.

In this blog series, we’ll detail Chef Spencer’s recipes and video instructions for an appetizer, entree, and dessert inspired by the very same menu the Vanderbilts enjoyed at their 1904 Thanksgiving Dinner.

Appetizer: Oysters on the 1/2 Shell with a Holiday Sauce Trio

Oyster Shucking Tips: Use a folded towel to protect your hand. When using the shucker, rather than pushing hard, jiggle it like a key to pop the hinge of the oysters. Once open, be sure to remove the muscle from the bottom of the shell for easy eating.

Cocktail Sauce
1/2 Cup Ketchup
2 TBSP Prepared Horseradish
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

Charred Onion Relish
5 Green Onions, lightly sautéed & choppped
2 TBSP Chopped Parsley
½ Jalepeno, thinly sliced
2 TBSP White Balsamic Vinegar
3 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TSP Salt
1 TSP Ground Pepper

Biltmore Sparkling Mignonette
2 TBSP Chopped Parsley
1 TBSP Mirin
1 Shallot Sliced
2 TBSP Champagne Vinaigrette
1 TBSP Honey
2 TSP Salt
1 TSP Ground Pepper
¼ Cup Biltmore Brut Sparkling

Combine ingredients for each sauce into separate bowls, allowing mignonette to chill for two hours. Top a platter of oysters with any or all of the three holiday sauces.

Biltmore Estate Brut

Wine Pairing

Enjoy with Biltmore Brut Sparkling. This refreshing blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir offers a good balance of citrus with hints of honey and apricot.

Follow these links for recipes and video instructions for the main entree, Blood Orange Roast Turkey, and for dessert, Apple and Currant Mince Pie with White Cheddar Crust.

Musical November Evenings in the Winter Garden

Candlelight Christmas Evenings is now underway, meaning Biltmore House is filled with firelight and candlelight as well as live music on select evenings. We’re delighted to host the following musical performers in the Winter Garden during the month of November.

Friday, November 4
Arioso of Athens, GA
Flint Hill Handbell Choir of Shelby, NC

Saturday, November 5
The Grove A Cappella Choir of Maysville, GA
Dogwood Duo of Blountville, NC

Sunday, November 6
Starlight Carolers of Asheville, NC
Classic Touch of Weaverville, NC

Monday, November 7
Songspinners of Waynesville, NC
Bruce Lang Duo of Barnardsville, NC

Tuesday, November 8
Hendersonville Chorale of Hendersonville, TN
Bliss of Vero Beach, FL

Wednesday, November 9
Starlight Carolers of Asheville, NC
SilverLight Flute Duo of Asheville, NC

Thursday, November 10
Hendersonville Chorale of Hendersonville, TN
Bliss of Vero Beach, FL

Friday, November 11
Nashville Notes Chamber Singers of Nashville, TN
14 Strings of Charlotte, NC

Saturday, November 12
Highest Praise of Johnson City, TN
Ladies of Lee of Cleveland, TN
Cambia Flute Ensemble of Kingsport, TN

Sunday, November 13
Ridgeview High School of Winter Park, FL
Bittersweet Two of Blountville, TN

Monday, November 14
Bob Jones Academy Elementary of Greenville, SC
Flute Frolics of Boone, NC

Wednesday, November 16
Bel Canto Singers of Charlotte, NC
Windswept Melodies of Asheville, NC

Thursday, November 17
Milligan College Women’s Chorale of Milligan, TN
Duo Dolce of Boone, NC

Friday, November 18
Patriot Pride Honors Chorus of Wake Forest, NC
Shane Parish & Emmalee Hunnicut of Asheville, NC

Saturday, November 19
North Greenville University Singers of Tigerville, SC
Carolina Style Chorus of Hickory, NC
Cambia Flute Ensemble of Kinsport, TN

Sunday, November 20
First Presbyterian Chamber Singers of Spartanburg, SC
Cedarwind Duo of Mars Hill, NC

Monday, November 21
Bob Jones High School Choir of Greenville, SC
Bob Jones Academy String Quartet of Greenville, SC

Tuesday, November 22
Forsyth Country Day School of Lewisville, NC
Belmont Duo of Asheville, NC

Wednesday, November 23
Greensboro Youth Chorus of Greensboro, NC
Braidstream Two of Asheville, NC

Friday, November 25
Cecelia’s Day of Anderson, SC
Sons of Lafayette Male Voice Choir of Lafayette, GA
Bittersweet of Blountville, TN

Saturday, November 26
Classical Conversations of Mallard Creek of Charlotte, NC
Cecelia’s Day of Anderson, SC
Bittersweet of Blountville, TN

Sunday, November 27
Cantemus Women’s Choir of Kingsport, TN
Blue Ridge Harp Duo of Polkville, NC

Monday, November 28
Providence High School of Jacksonville, FL
Bittersweet of Blountville, TN

Tuesday, November 29
Asheville High School of Asheville, NC
Duo Dolce of Boone, NC

Wednesday, November 30
Song O’ Sky of Asheville, NC
Trillium of Asheville, NC

The Right Thing at the Right Time: A Philanthropic Legacy

Biltmore forester Carl Schenck once wrote:
“Personally, I can say that Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt detest publicity, preferring to do the right thing at the right time without beating a drum about it.”

Indeed, George and Edith Vanderbilt demonstrated an unswerving commitment to helping those less fortunate. Whether it was on the estate, within the local community, or in other parts of the country, their charitable gifts reflect their passions for literacy, education, and the arts.

Jackson Square Branch, New York Free Circulating Library, 1893.

Jackson Square Branch of the New York Public Library

George’s commitment to providing educational opportunities to all, regardless of income, began at a young age. In 1887, he hired architect Richard Morris Hunt, who later designed Biltmore House, to design and build the Jackson Square Branch of the New York Free Circulating Library System.

George paid to have the branch furnished and fully stocked with books at a time when free libraries were rare; individuals usually had to pay a fee to borrow books, which prevented many from having access.

American Fine Arts Society

In 1889, a group of young artists in New York City set out to create an organization that would provide educational and financial support to up-and-coming artists. George was one of eight initial benefactors who each donated $5,000 to what would become The American Fine Arts Society. The society’s new building opened in 1892, adjoined by a grand exhibition gallery which George built at a cost of $100,000.

Many assumed the society would then rent the gallery for exhibitions. Instead, at a celebration in the gallery on December 29, 1892, he surprised those attending by announcing he was handing over the gallery’s deed to the society as a Christmas and New Year’s gift.

“The gift of the gallery… is an example of what a public-spirited man can do if he has wealth at his disposal….He has stood by the Fine Arts Society from the start, and encouraged the triple alliance of architects, artists, and art students …” 
– The New York Times, January 1, 1893

The exhibition gallery, named The Vanderbilt Gallery in George’s honor, still exists today.

Teachers College

George was also a proponent of the Industrial Education Movement, a reform movement aimed at providing skilled teachers and schools to educate poor urban children.

Teachers College, mid 1890s

A wealthy New York socialite named Grace Dodge wanted to create a college in New York City that would not only instruct teachers on how to educate children, but also focus on psychological and emotional needs, a revolutionary concept at the time. She asked George for assistance, and he agreed to help by paying the salary of the first director of Teachers College.

George later served on the school’s Board of Trustees. In 1893, Teachers College joined forces with Columbia College (known soon after as Columbia University), and the next year, the school opened its new campus on land George donated. Teachers College, Columbia University was the first and remains the largest graduate school of education in the nation.

Young Men’s Institute

In 1892, Prof. Edward L. Stephens, principal of Asheville’s first public school for African-American students, had a vision to create an organization similar to a YMCA to support Asheville’s African-American community. He approached George, who was in the process of building Biltmore House at the time, for assistance.

George was moved by Prof. Stephens’ plans and agreed to loan the institute $32,000 to fund the construction of a building, which became known as the Young Men’s Institute. Completed in 1893, the YMI was designed by Richard Sharp Smith, who also collaborated with architect Richard Morris Hunt to create Biltmore House and other estate buildings.

Young Men’s Institute , mid 1890s

The YMI offered a variety of services to the black community, including a kindergarten, night school for adults, library, dormitory, and athletic facilities. It also served as a social and spiritual center and included commercial spaces on the ground floor. Among the early businessmen renting spaces were a doctor, pharmacist, barber, and restaurant owner.

The Young Men’s Institute is now home to the YMI Cultural Center and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Vanderbilts’ other charitable efforts include the School of Domestic Science, which Edith founded in 1901 to train young African-American women in professional housekeeping, and the Moonlight School at Biltmore Estate, founded in 1914 to teach illiterate estate workers how to read and write, among others.

Today, we continue the Vanderbilt philanthropic efforts to promote education with the Honorable John Francis Amherst Cecil Scholarship Fund. Established in 1995, the scholarship was created to assist the dependents of Biltmore employees with the rising costs of higher education. We also collaborate with local organizations such as Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and Eblen Charities to assist those in our community with hunger, heating, and housing needs.

Top Right: Jackson Square Branch, New-York Free Circulating Library, 1893. Image from
King’s Handbook of New York City, New York, 1893.
Right: Columbia Teachers College, mid 1890s
Left: Young Men’s Institute during the late stages of construction, mid 1890s

A Christmas Getaway for the Whole Family

It’s no secret that Christmas at Biltmore is one of the Southeast’s most storied holiday destinations. Families come from far and wide to experience seasonal festivities on the estate, inspired by century-long traditions.

But how exactly does one plan a getaway that will fill every member of the family—from the grandparents to the youngest child—with Christmas joy, without losing that personal sense of Yuletide peace? We’ve got a few suggestions…

Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration Visit

The entire family can enjoy a hearty breakfast at Village Social in Antler Hill Village for the perfect start to a day of exploration. Then head over to Biltmore House & Gardens for a Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration self-guided visit and be dazzled by America’s largest home decorated for the holiday season.Breakfast Room

Worried that the youngest may be too antsy during the two-hour stroll? Bring Cedric’s Sniff-and-Seek Treasure Hunt to keep them occupied or make a game of our Christmas décor: count the Christmas trees, find the largest and the smallest among them, or the first family member to spot a kissing ball wins!

Afterwards, everyone can enjoy the Rooftop Tour, though youngsters may need to be carried as no strollers are allowed. But have no fear—it is surely worth it! As the leaves have dropped, this tour offers unparalleled views of the Blue Ridge Mountain vistas that made George Vanderbilt fall in love with the area.

After the visit to Biltmore House, Mom and Grandma can enjoy a light lunch at the Bake Shop before heading to our century-old gardens to enjoy seasonal seminars at A Gardener’s Place. Learn about Wonderful Winter Wreaths, Terrific Tabletop Topiaries, or stay for both demonstrations, offered back-to-back. Afterwards, the ladies can treat themselves to a peaceful stroll through the glass-roofed Conservatory, filled with seasonal poinsettias along with thousands of exotic plants that bring a touch of the tropics to Appalachia.Poinsettias in the Conservatory

All the while, Dad and Grandpa can head down to Antler Hill Village with the kids, where they can experience the timeless tradition of visiting with Santa. There’s plenty to do in the area to keep them busy—from the kids getting their energy out at Pisgah Playground or learning about friendly animals at the Farmyard to handicrafts and craft demonstrations at the Barn that will fascinate grown men and children alike.  Santa

Mom and Dad can enjoy a romantic evening in Antler Hill Village with an intimate Candlelight Winery Tour followed by a quiet dinner for two at Bistro.

While Mom and Dad get a kid-free evening, Grandma and Grandpa get a special evening with the grandkids: dinner at the more casual Stable Café and a visit to Toymaker’s shop where the kids can pick out their own old-fashioned toy or game.


Candlelight Christmas Evenings Visit

Let Grandma and Grandpa indulge in gourmet omelets and waffles at the Chef’s Breakfast Buffet at The Dining Room at The Inn for an elegant, serene start to the full day. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad can take the kids to the Taste of the South Buffet at Deerpark Restaurant. Savor farm-to-table breakfast favorites sure to please every palate with live, local music in the background, setting a pleasant tone for the day.

Have the ladies and gents go their separate ways for the afternoon. Grandma, Mom, and the girls can treat themselves to Sugar and Spice Pedicures, a special seasonal offering at The Spa at The Inn. After the pampering, enjoy a light lunch with a breathtaking view of the estate at the Library Lounge at The Inn. The ladies can then head to The Biltmore Legacy for the Fashionable Romance exhibit to view 60 years of Vanderbilt family wedding fashion, including the first-ever display of Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding veil.

Fashionable Romance exhibit in LegacyGrandpa, Dad, and the boys can spend this time exploring our 8,000-acre backyard. Get any gear needed for the day’s adventure at Antler Hill Outfitters, then grab a quick bite at The Kitchen in Village Hotel before heading to the Outdoor Activities Center. Choose to spend the day learning the techniques of shooting clay targets with a high-quality shotguns in a Sporting Clays Lesson or learning expedition-style driving and navigating off-road obstacles with a lesson at our Land Rover Experience Driving School.

Regroup with the entire family in the evening for a delicious dinner of pub and robustly-flavored American and global cuisine at Cedric’s Tavern. Named after the Vanderbilts’ beloved Saint Bernard, the restaurant has a statue of the dog with young Cornelia Vanderbilt near its entrance—a photo op everyone will love.

Then head over to Biltmore House for a Candlelight Christmas Evenings self-guided visit, where firelight, candlelight, and thousands of miniature lights reflect countless ornaments adorning Christmas trees, mantels, wreaths, and garlands in America’s largest home.candlelight

If the kids get restless or stir-crazy, the Winter Garden offers mesmerizing choir performances featuring traditional carols.

Travelling with the entire family can be tricky—especially during the holiday season—but it doesn’t have to be. With such a vast array of happenings and activities, Christmas at Biltmore is a family getaway that truly offers something for everyone. Join us for an experience that everyone is sure to remember for many Christmases to come.