A Candlelight Tour at the Biltmore House

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Last week we drove to the Smokey Mountains and wandered to Asheville, North Carolina. We visited the Biltmore Estate, a historic house museum and a popular tourist attraction. Biltmore House, the main residence, is a Chateauesque-style mansion, built between 1889 and 1895 for George Washington Vanderbilt II. It is currently the largest privately owned house in the United States with a floor space of 178,926 square feet. Let’s just say it is too big for me to clean.

George Vanderbilt opened his opulent estate on Christmas Eve of 1895 to invited family and friends from across the country. There were notable guests to the estate over the years including famed novelists, ambassadors, and U.S. presidents. Today it continues to attract tourists from all over the world to tour this beautiful mansion.

For Christmas season, they have a special evening tour called Candlelight Christmas Tour to view the mansion that is fully decorated for the holidays, and that’s what we did.

Above photo is the 35-foot tall Christmas tree in the Banquet Hall which is the estate’s grand holiday centerpiece. It took a lot of planning and real work to place this tree in this grand hall. Note that there’s even a pipe organ in this Banquet Hall.

They have more Christmas trees though all over the house, like this one below.

Here’s another dining area decked for Christmas.

Below is the Tapestry Gallery, again with several smaller Christmas trees.

Here is the grand staircase. That’s my wife in the yellow(ish) coat going down the stairs.

There are many rooms, in fact too many, to entertain guests in this house. Below is the piano lounge.

There were live musicians playing Christmas carols during the Candlelight Tour. Below are videos of a violinist in the library and another musician playing dulcimer in a large hall.

Photo below is Mr. Vanderbilt’s bedroom. In vogue during those times are canopy beds. Though many Filipinos also sleep under a canopy – of mosquito net.

Across the hall is Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom, photo below. Why do they not sleep in the same bedroom? My thoughts exactly.

There are lots of activities to entertain their guests in this house. Here is the Billiard room.

Yes, that’s a bowling alley inside the house (photo below).

There is also a gym.

And an indoor swimming pool. Though there was no water as it now leaks. Too bad nobody can swim anymore in this large swimming pool.

The tour even took us to the basement to showcase the very solid foundation of this enormous mansion, see photo below. Were you expecting some kind of a Batcave at the basement of this large mansion? This is not Bruce Wayne’s house.

The biggest Christmas tree though was not inside the mansion but it was outside at the front lawn. That is one giant Christmas tree. However, there’s no gift for me under the tree.

From the Biltmore Estate,


(*photos and videos taken with an iPhone)

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