Kick Off the Holidays in Asheville

Nov 01, 2020 | Last Updated Mar 11, 2021
822 words (3 min read)

It’s hard to believe that the beginning of the holiday season is already here. For most people and businesses, it’s been a year unlike any other, and the approaching holidays will be a welcome respite from all that has happened. It’s a great time to spend with family, friends, and other loved ones - whether it’s one-on-one in-person visits, on video calls, or socially distanced gatherings.

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. To help you figure out how best to spend your time here, we’ve made a list of the three most popular places and events to spend your family time here in the mountains.


As is the case with so many events this year, Biltmore is going virtual to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first Christmas celebrated at America’s largest private home. Each year, the Estate kicks off the winter holidays with the raising and decoration of the banquet hall’s 35-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree. The event usually draws a large crowd that watches as the tree is delivered via horse-drawn flatbed, lifted off, and carried by 30-40 handlers into the banquet hall. This year, the event is going to be virtual so people all over the world can see it as it happens. The tree-raising takes place on Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. and can be watched on Facebook or YouTube.

Another very popular event at the Estate is the Candlelight Christmas Evenings. The house lights are dimmed; candles, decorated trees, and fireplaces throughout the house blaze with a soft glow; and the grounds are festooned with twinkling lights and all the warmth the holiday season brings. This year, there are three different “experiences” from which to choose, each for a different price and including different offerings. For more details about what is offered, visit the website. Each tier includes daytime access to the gardens, grounds, Antler Hill Village, and the winery either the day of or the day after your nighttime visit.

You must reserve a time for the Candlelight Christmas Evenings and pay in advance online. Candlelight visits start on November 6, and run through January 9. If evenings don't work for you, the home is also decorated for daytime tours, with garland, ornaments, wreaths, and all the extra touches that make Biltmore such a special place this time of year. Due to Covid-19, there are numerous new guidelines all visitors must follow, including wearing a face covering inside the house and cashless payment throughout the Estate.

The Polar Express

Every year around the holidays, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad transforms into a round-trip adventure to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. With music and inspiration drawn from The Polar Express movie and book, children and families enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while they ride along and listen to the story of the child who didn’t believe in Santa until he took the magical trip. When the train arrives at the “North Pole,” Santa boards to greet each child and present them with their own silver sleigh bell.

The Polar Express starts November 6 and continues until December 31. The train departs from Bryson City, which is about an hours’ drive west of Asheville. The town itself is a little like a winter wonderland, as its downtown has a holiday theme with 200,000 LED Christmas lights strung up along the shops, lamp posts, and bridges, as well as a decorated 50-foot tree. Even the Visitor Center takes part in the festivities, with letter-writing to Santa and more. Visit the website or call for tickets and more information. It’s also important to note that masks are required to be worn on the train, and may be provided free if you don’t bring one or forget.

Winter Lights

Another event Western North Carolinians look forward to every year is the North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights display, featuring nearly half-a-million lights covering a one-mile stretch of the Arboretum. To ensure the safety of all guests, this year’s event and chief fundraiser for the gardens and grounds is moving to a driveable format. Instead of walking the grounds, all attendees will navigate in their cars through elaborate and whimsical displays. The redesigned show will feature new nature-themed displays highlighting colorful butterflies, winter wildlife, a daisy garden of lights, and an insect lantern exhibit.

The show runs November 20 through January 10 and is open from 5:30 - 10:30 p.m. every night. You must purchase tickets in advance, and sales have already begun. The price of admission is per car.

Are you ready to book your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday with us? Call for more information: 1-888-786-3648



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