Hi friends! I am back from a brief hiatus/Christmas break. I’ve had a lot things going on behind the scenes here on the Bay Bush and I hope to share more about those later. But today I want to share a little getaway my husband and I took right after New Years. We hadn’t been on a trip together without the kids in almost eight years! It was much over-do.
When we were brainstorming options for the trip, Chad mentioned visiting the Biltmore. Neither of us had ever been and it seemed like a good time. We visited during the last week of the Candlelight Christmas Tour. Let’s just say that it did not disappoint. You can see for yourself in the photographs below. I’ll do my best to give you a little explanation for each picture but they certainly will not do the house justice.
Our entry time was for 7:15 but you can visit the grounds and Antler Village anytime the day of your reservation. I would definitely recommend going to see the grounds and village during the day.
Antler Village has several restaurants, shops and a winery. The building in the background is the Biltmore Hotel. There are also a couple of exhibits that you can visit in the village. I enjoyed the Vanderbilt Weddings exhibit. I had no clue the family had a connection with the Kennedys and the veil (shown below) is the same one worn by Jackie Kennedy on her wedding day. Y’all know how I love Jackie O.
We drove over to the house to see it in the day time.
We took the obligatory selfie from the terrace.
The Christmas Tree on the lawn was a cut tree and is not there year-round. Here is at night when we went back for the tour of the house.
The detail on the house is amazing. It’s hard to believe that it was built almost 120 years ago.
This room is seven stories tall has three fireplaces together under one giant mantel! Talk about taking your mantel to the next level.
The house itself is amazing but it is also full of priceless treasures! The chinioserie bowl dates back to the Ming Dynasty! There is also a Renoir painting on display in the house.
One of the tapestries in this room is the only surviving one in the world!
We took the staircase up to the 2nd floor to view the bedrooms.
There were several costume displays throughout the house and Antler Village of gowns worn in films set during the time period. This dress was worn by Nicole Kidman. The gentleman in the painting in the background is of the architect who designed Biltmore.
There was a Christmas tree in almost every room in the house. We continued through to the third floor.
This area would have been used by the guests who visited the house and often stayed for weeks or months. The tour took us through about ten guest bedrooms (each with its own unique name and style). I’ll just show you my favorite, also known as the “Birthing Room.” Edith Vanderbilt gave birth to Cornelia Vanderbilt in this room and she gave birth to her own two sons here as well.
The cradle was just beautiful.
The tour also shows you about 5 of the homes 43 restrooms…most of them looked very much like this one.
The tour continues in the basement.
This room was originally a supply room but Cornelia Vanderbilt and her friends painted the walls in preparation for a grand New Year’s Eve party in the 1920s. Now it is an exhibit that informs guests on the construction of Biltmore.
Those aren’t cellphones. Those are the audio tour guides. They look sort of like a remote control on a string. Each room has a number and that you key into the device as you enter to hear about the history of the room. I would definitely recommend paying extra to get these. I think they were around $11 each. We knew very little about the family or estate but left with a good sense of the history of the family and the house.
The basement also boasts one of the first bowling alleys installed in a private residence.
It also has an indoor pool! Check out all that subway tile.
The tour continues back upstairs in the Bachelor’s quarters. I took a short video of the Billard Room just to give you an idea of the amazing detail of the space.
All in all, we had a pretty great time. Hubby would have been cool to have just seen the bottom floor and rolled but tolerated me perusing every square in that was open to the public (not everywhere in the house is open).
I’ll be sharing more from our trip to Asheville later in the week! Until then, here are a few tips and things to know before you go.
- Reservations are a must for the night time tours as the house is not normally open after dark. I bought ours online and printed them at home but you can also pick them up at Will Call.
- As you can tell from the pictures, the lighting was low throughout the house. I would like to go back during the day to get a better view of everything. But the low lights and fires were perfect for the Candlelight Christmas Tour.
- The tour doesn’t take you through the entire house. I kind of wish it did. But I’m a nerd like that. I want to see all 273 rooms! I’d guess you only see around 60 on the tour. Also, most of the rooms are roped off to only allow you in far enough to see the room.
- I would highly recommend the audio tour.
- They offer valet parking for an additional fee. We used the regular parking. The shuttle was really quick and easy.
- They also offer specialized tours. I want to do the behind the scenes tour next time so hopefully I can see more of the house. I told Chad I needed to get a job there so I could go wherever I wanted.
- The Christmas décor changes from year to year based on what I’ve read. This year’s theme was Hearth and Home but last year was “The Gilded Age” so that’s a good reason to visit again even if you’ve been in the past.
- Musicians play throughout the house on certain nights. A flutist was playing on the second floor on the night we visited.
- The tour is a lot of walking and a lot of stairs so be sure to plan accordingly.
I enjoyed the visit so much and I can’t wait to visit again one day! It’s also good to cross another trip off the old bucket list!