The holiday season really is the most wonderful time of the year, and the folks at Biltmore Estate are keeping the holidays alive and well in 2014. On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend the tree raising for their main Christmas tree in the Banquet Hall of the massive home.
For those not familiar with Biltmore, it’s the largest private estate in America. George Vanderbilt built the Asheville home between 1889 and 1895 and it opened to the public in 1930.
I love the tree raising tradition at Biltmore. The 35-foot tall tree that is displayed in the Banquet Hall is pulled on horse-drawn carriage in front of the house, and a team of between 30 and 40 people use poles to lift the tree off the carriage and onto a cart that they then have to get through the massive (but seem small during this quest) doors. It’s truly a team effort.
This year, visitors will find 60 trees inside the Biltmore house. When was the last time you saw 60 Christmas trees in someone’s home?
135,000 – LED and mini lights around the Estate
30,000 – lights in the Biltmore House
15,000 – candles in the Biltmore House
500 – the number (each) of gift boxes, ornaments and lights (in the Edison bulb style this year) on the Banquet Hall Tree
360 fresh wreaths and sprays around the estate
130 – faux pieces around the estate
But this tree. This tree is massive. It’s 35-feet tall. (My artificial tree seems puny, clocking in at 7.5-feet tall in my living room.) While the crowds watched, you could hear the tree creak as workers pushed the tree through the doorway. It took two tries to pull it up this year. Crowds cheered as it was pulled into place (and they managed to miss hitting the chandelier – a job I definitely don’t want to be responsible for!)
A lot of work goes into Christmas at Biltmore. It really is a magical time of the year. Could you imagine being a child in this 250-room home? And to think that George Vanderbilt originally built this house to be a country home.
I’ve done the candlelight tour, and toured the house several times at Christmastime – and I never get tired of the tours. I love this time of year, and how Biltmore celebrates and continues holiday traditions.
Christmas at Biltmore begins today and runs through January 3, 2015. I did attend the Christmas tree raising event earlier this week, but have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
Be sure to check back next week. I am joining forces with Susanna to bring you a pretty cool giveaway.