Christmas at Biltmore
A visit to Biltmore is a feast for the senses. Wrap yourself in the scent of fresh evergreens as you admire holiday décor featuring wreaths, garlands, and the sparkle of thousands of ornaments on more than 55 glorious Christmas trees. The celebration continues across the estate, including colorful holiday blooms in the Conservatory, commemorative Christmas wine at the Winery, special menus in restaurants, and Antler Hill Village’s must-see evening illumination display.
A short visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains with his mother immediately sparked George Vanderbilt’s imagination in 1888. He found the perfect location for his country home. Vanderbilt’s 250-room French Renaissance chateau is a true marvel, the largest undertaking in residential architecture. Over a six-year period, an entire community of craftsmen came together to create America’s premier home and the environmental wonderland that surrounds it.
On Christmas Eve 1895, the country retreat George Vanderbilt had spent so long planning was marvelously decorated and full of festivity. The finished home contains over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.
George Vanderbilt married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser in Paris in 1898. Edith is a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the first governor of Dutch colonial New York. After honeymooning in Italy, Edith and George returned to live at Biltmore. George and Edith’s only child, Cornelia, was born on the evening of August 22, 1900, in the Louis XV Room. It was a celebrity birth, even by modern standards.
George Vanderbilt passed away at the age of 51. Vanderbilt is buried in the Vanderbilt family mausoleum on Staten Island. He left an enormous philanthropic legacy. Edith sold approximately 87,000 acres of the estate to the United States Forest Service in 1914 for less than $5 an acre.
Cornelia and her husband, John Cecil, opened Biltmore House to the public in 1930. Leaders in Asheville hoped the celebrated house would increase tourism during the Depression. During WWII, the house stored priceless works from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
To avoid a faux pas, always refer to the estate as BILTMORE. THE Biltmore is a hotel in New York. Enjoy a trip to Biltmore and enjoy the festivities.