Have Happier Holidays in Asheville
589 words (3 min read)
Here come the holidays! As the fall leaf season in the Smoky Mountains begins winding down, Asheville starts getting ready for the holiday season. This month is full of pre-holiday gatherings, goings-on, and grand events.
Holidays in Asheville are especially memorable, and The Residences at Biltmore is a perfect place to spend that quality time. We have 2- and 3-bedroom suites with room enough for the whole family; plus, we’re just up the road from Biltmore Estate - one of the most beautiful places in the country to visit at this time of year. With so much to do, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite or soon-to-be-favorite happenings and compiled them here to get you ready for your Asheville getaway.
The holidays are a big deal at Biltmore, both on the grounds of the massive estate and in the house itself. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to visit the largest private home in the country, this is it!
Billed as Christmas at Biltmore, November 4 is the magic date of the start of the annual Candlelight Evenings. Guests can choose to visit the house during the day and see it adorned with festive garland, numerous Christmas trees and decorations, and a general spirit of the holidays in every room. Or, choose to visit the house during the evening hours, when the fireplaces throughout the estate are lit, the trees are trimmed with lights, pathways are glowing with luminaries, and winter floral displays top the tables as well as the grounds. It’s a truly delightful sight, and should not be missed. Reservations for evening visits are necessary, and can be made on the Biltmore website. Candlelight visits continue through January 8.
Don’t miss the multi-sensory Leonardo da Vinci - 500 Years of Genius display while you’re there. Part of the estate’s immersive artist shows Biltmore has hosted over the past year. Described as “the world’s most comprehensive and thrilling Leonardo da Vinci experience,” the exhibit shines a spotlight on the works of the inventor, artist, and philosopher. The exhibit runs through February 20, 2023.
The walking tour of Winter Lights returns to the North Carolina Arboretum gardens this year. The light show, which features more than one million lights, celebrates forest and garden creatures and whimsy from Nov. 18 through Dec. 31. Highlights of the show include the Quilt Garden and a 50-foot lighted tree, as well as numerous other lighted displays. Reserve your time and pay at the link.
Asheville Holiday Parade
The parade is back on Nov. 19, beginning at 11 a.m. on Biltmore Ave. This year promises to be one of the biggest Asheville parades in some time, as floats, musicians, local groups, and more flow through downtown, celebrating all of the holidays of the season.
Polar Express Train
If you’re bringing the whole family to town, make sure to reserve your spot on the Polar Express Train. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes the train to the North Pole to visit Santa. Enjoy hot chocolate and other treats as you listen to music from the movie soundtrack, and sing carols on the ride back to the train depot. All the details you need can be found at the GSMR website.
There are also numerous small towns around Asheville that create cozy scenes along their main streets with lights, special shopping hours, and tree-lighting ceremonies. Some that are especially worthwhile include Dillsboro, Hendersonville, Saluda, and Sylva.
Header photo courtesy of the NC Arboretum, photograph by Cami Calnan