For Thanksgiving this year, Andrew surprised me with a trip to Asheville! We went back in 2012 and wanted to make it a tradition but due to unforeseen circumstances we couldn’t make it out last year. I had thought we wouldn’t be able to this year either but Tuesday before we left Andrew sprung it on me! Apparently he had wanted to surprise me as I had surprised him for his birthday last year but he ran into some packing dilemmas. Poor dear. (PS – how much has my trip reports changed since that one??) Asheville wasn’t the only surprise though: I’m now officially an Annual Passholder at Biltmore! Since this was such an eventful trip (read: I took too many photos), I’ll actually be splitting it up into two parts: part one/day one Biltmore and then part two will include the rest of our trip and both parts will also include tips for visiting Biltmore and Asheville. Let’s get started!
Thursday started off quite dreary but brightened up the closer we got to the mountains! It was a gorgeous day the further we drove towards Asheville until…
Hello light & friendly snow! You can barely see it but those little white lines on the road are snowflakes. Falling just enough to be noticeable but nowhere near enough to make anything dangerous or get in the way.
Little did I know that we weren’t heading to the hotel first though – we were going to Biltmore!!! Apparently we didn’t know what we were missing by visiting on a non-holiday or the day after Thanksgiving as we did in 2012. Visiting on Thanksgiving gives you the benefits of very few other people, we were able to take our time in viewing the rooms this visit and see everything without 3 layers of people in front of us. Plus we could also speed through the rooms we weren’t that interested in, an extra special perk 🙂
I wasn’t kidding when I said it was it was empty. Granted, most people were probably at home celebrating with families but I was beyond giddy to be celebrating my thankfulness in this amazing spot with the amazing dude.
I happened to catch Andrew in a pensive moment, enjoying all those mountains. How could he not though? The views at Biltmore are out of this world even when it’s foggy and snowing!
I lovelovelove the contrast of the beautifully curated, manmade home next to the (mostly) wild nature that surrounds it.
I really like this bench.
I just really like all of Biltmore’s benches, I guess. That’s the only reason for these two photos.
I honestly love every aspect of nature that they’ve incorporated into the home. Even in winter it’s striking!
While the earth is gorgeous and all, I can never get over the beauty that is the exterior (and interior, of course, but I can’t show you that here).
This is the exterior of my favorite staircase ever (at least so far). It’s pretty dizzying when you’re inside of it, but also pretty dizzying when you’re standing outside of it looking up. Since photography isn’t allowed inside the house I don’t have any photos to share 🙁 It’s a real shame if you ask me! I don’t understand their restriction on it, honestly. My initial thought would be that they want people to come and see it in person rather than looking at photos online but let’s be honest – no one is putting off a trip to Walt Disney World because they’ve seen Cinderella’s Castle online. If anything it makes them more excited!
Once you finish the tour (or before, if you’re an overachiever/hungry) you can find their delicious quick service and cafe options. And of course, shopping. They have a year-round Christmas Shop with amazing ornaments in the Carriage House, but there are plenty of decorations elsewhere in the shops and grounds!
The Bake Shop has wonderful pastries and coffee options along with some of the yummiest hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Sadly we didn’t try the Pumpkin Pie latte, so you’ll have to let me know how it is 🙂
YUM! The Stables is a great place to relax after all that walking. Or to look over all the candy you’ve bought in The Confectionary/try to not look at your receipts.
A parking tip: on a busy day/when it’s cold outside/when you want to, get valet! It costs extra but it’s so worth it. Plus, you get to feel ultra chic and step out right at the front door/pretend you’re arriving in a carriage and showing up for a fab party given by the Vanderbilt’s.
The Biltmore is a beautiful spot to come back to over and over as they seem to always be opening up newer rooms! Here are some other tips for visiting Biltmore:
- Try to get an earlier time for your tour. I always find that there are less people early on in the day.
- Book your ticket at least 7 days in advance for savings! Also, as long as they’re still running this deal, moms get in free with a purchased ticket on Mother’s Day.
- Don’t skip Antler Village (but don’t feel bad if you miss it either)
- Take a tour! I’ve done quite a number of different tours that they offer and the additional cost is not all that much (last time I took one it was around $17/person on top of the ticket). The Architect’s Tour has to be my favorite because of this photo opportunity alone.
- Don’t miss out on Biltmore Village! Much of it may now be chain stores but there are still very cute local shops with beautiful items for sale. Stop in at the Corner Kitchen for some really awesome soufflé and check out the McDonald’s there. Trust me.
Sadly, that’s where our time ended at Biltmore but our weekend in Asheville had only just begun! Part two of our trip will be up in just a couple of days so check back for some of the coolest public art, delish food, and my favorite downtown area. 🙂 Do you have any tips for visiting Biltmore?
Wishing you delicious hot chocolate on pretty benches,