One of the items on my North Carolina bucket list is to visit the spectacular Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, especially at Christmas. I’ve mentioned before that Asheville is one of our favorite places in North Carolina to explore and we made a return trip back this winter to finally visit the Biltmore. Honestly, as a native North Carolinian, I am surprised it took me 33 years to visit; however, it was well worth the wait! Here is our itinerary for a weekend getaway to experience Christmas in Asheville NC.
Christmas in Asheville: a Weekend Getaway During the Holidays
Christmas in Asheville: Where to Stay
I am a huge fan of Kimpton hotels, and the Kimpton Hotel Arras in Downtown Asheville has been on my wish list of places to stay for quite some time now. The hotel is located in Pack Square and is in walking distance to plenty of shops, breweries, and restaurants. There are artful touches throughout the hotel, plus the hospitality at Kimpton hotels is simply unbeatable! For example, I asked for a tea bag and warm water for tea, and they sent me up to my room with my own personal tea kettle.
Kimpton hotels offer coffee and tea in the morning and then a wine happy hour each evening at 5:00. They still offered with social distancing procedures in place.
One of the best parts about the hotel is that you use your key card to scan at the elevator and select your floor number from there. It helps keep the elevator to your party to comply with the social distancing guidelines.
Christmas in Asheville: Where to Eat & Drink
Breweries & Coffee
Catawba Brewing Co. is a great brewery walking distance from the hotel. We usually make a stop here as it is beside Buxton Hall BBQ, which is one of my favorite BBQ spots in North Carolina. There is plenty of outdoor seating with heat and there are some snack options available as well.
This coffee spot is a lovely, iconic, Instagrammable destination. I ordered the gingerbread latte and David ordered a smoothie and both were delicious. Be sure to bring cash–it’s cash only.
Highland is the original brewery in Asheville, with the Gaelic Ale being the first that was ever created in the city. There is plenty of outdoor seating and a rooftop bar, all of which are perfect spots to take in a mountain sunset. David is a fan of their Daycation IPA and tried their seasonal porter. In 2021, they’re opening a downtown taproom as well, so be on the look out for that.
When David and I were in Asheville this fall, we saw this place near Biltmore Village, so in between checking out the grounds of the Biltmore and our candlelight tour, we stopped here for an early dinner. Whatever you do, order the pretzel and beer cheese. David and I both ordered the burgers and they were delicious. They also have great outdoor dining options.
After our early dinner, we stopped here for a drink, a stroll through the gallery, and to warm up in front of the fire. It’s a beautiful location and worth a stop.
This spot, located just a couple of blocks from our hotel, was a delicious spot. There is heated, outdoor dining and a ton of delicious options. I ordered the deviled eggs 3 ways and David ordered the bacon caramel popcorn. For our meals, I ordered the fried oyster po’ boy, David had a hot dog with chow chow and relish, and we split an order of fries.
White Duck Taco is one of our favorites in the city, so we grabbed lunch here before heading to the Biltmore for the day. We ordered the chips and queso, and I ordered the Zomba (falafel) taco and buffalo chicken taco, while David ordered the pork belly and buffalo chicken taco.
Cedric’s Tavern is a delicious dining option in Antler Hill Village on Biltmore property. While we didn’t end up eating here, we got drinks to walk around the outdoor spaces of Antler Village. It’s great spot for classic English pub fare and offers a great lunch menu for if you’re spending all day at the Biltmore.
We stumbled on Vortex when leaving Catawba Brewery, so we made a point of walking back to pick some up before heading out of time. I ordered the espresso and cinnamon sugar, while David ordered a cinnamon sugar and chocolate glazed.
Christmas in Asheville: Biltmore Estate
When David and I first planned this trip, I wasn’t sure that we would actually want to spend all day on the grounds. It was easy to lose track of time exploring some of what the property has to offer. It’s a gorgeous experience and, again, I’m still shocked it took me 33 years to finally get here. When I started writing this post, I realized I should probably do a more detailed post of the Biltmore, so look for that in 2021. For this one, it will be a high-level overview of what the property has to offer during the holidays.
They do have social distancing policies in place, but for the most part, David and I opted to stay outside and away from crowds.
There is much to see and learn here, including the Dairy Barn and the farmyard. David and I spent quite a bit of time exploring the farmyard and loved seeing all the animals. There are trails to explore around the village, in addition to Cedric’s Tavern, the Creamery, and other dining options. Another interesting attraction is the train–we spent quite a while checking these out.
With our purchase of the Candlelight Christmas tickets, it included a free wine tasting. We opted not to do a wine tasting this time just because it was rather crowded, but I did pick up two bottles to bring home: Biltmore Sauvignon Blanc Reserve and Biltmore Christmas Red Blend. I definitely look forward to a return trip back here because you know how much I adore western NC wineries.
The gardens and grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the mastermind behind Central Park. There are 20+ miles of trails, gorgeous views of the French Broad River, and so many informal and formal gardens to explore. We especially loved the Conservatory and even in the winter, the gardens are still beautiful.
The Biltmore House was officially opened to George Vanderbilt’s guests on Christmas Eve in 1895. This stunning home was opened as a tourist attraction in 1930 to generate income for the Vanderbilt family to preserve this estate. To learn more of the history of the house, check out this timeline.
I have always wanted to visit the Biltmore, especially at Christmas, and honestly, it did not disappoint. It was simply magical and I would recommend doing the candlelight tour. There are musicians playing Christmas carols in various rooms throughout the house and the rooms are immaculately decorated. It’s a must-see and the perfect way to get in the spirit of the season.
Interested in seeing more from my explorations in Western NC? Check out this page.
Have you spent Christmas in Asheville NC before? Let me know in a comment below!
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