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 Is there a more magical time of year than Christmas? Our family loves EVERYTHING about the season, from a live Nativity to visiting Santa.

Always on the lookout for new traditions, I’ve had the Biltmore on our list for years. The rich history of ‘America’s largest house’ began at Christmas. And there is no house in the world that celebrates in such grand style! Therefore,  I couldn’t think of a better time of year for our children to visit for the first time.

These two can't wait to explore this massive house!

These two can’t wait to explore this massive house!

On the day of our visit, we arrived early. In fact, we actually picked up our tickets the night before so we could expedite our morning. Also, you can purchase tickets online. There are many options, and rates are discounted when purchasing in advance. Additionally, some days require an advance reservation. Visit their website for further details and to purchase tickets.

Waiting patiently for the doors to open.

Waiting patiently for the grand doors to open.

The ticket office and gate open 30 minutes prior to the house. Arriving early allowed us to avoid lines, park and shuttle to the front door. We even had time for a few quick pictures in front of the house.

Audio guides are available in both adult and children’s versions. Although originally doubtful of how much we’d enjoy them, I would say they made the experience 100% more exciting. Audio guides can be purchased at ticket office or once you arrive at the house.

The kids using their Audiotour handset.

The kids listening carefully to the handheld audio guide.

I initially worried I would spend much of my time assisting our 4-year old with the device. However, after giving him a quick demonstration he remained completely independent for the rest of our tour. The children’s version features narrative by the family’s favorite dog, Cedric. Equally as informative as the adult version, the guide provided education as well as entertainment!

Miller couldn't get enough of Cedric's commentary about the special house!

Miller couldn’t get enough of Cedric’s commentary about the special house!

Although impressive any time of year, when decorated for Christmas the house hits another level of fairytale-like charm.

The largest tree inside Biltmore House is the Vanderbilt traditional 35-foot-tall Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall.

The largest tree inside Biltmore House is the Vanderbilt traditional 35-foot-tall Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall.

If I had to express one negative from the day, it’s that my children are ready for an upgrade to our Christmas decorations. The “measly” 10-foot tree in our family room doesn’t quite compare to the 35-footer! The conversations have already started about going bigger next year…ha!

There are 62 decorated Christmas trees inside Biltmore House for the 2016 celebration!

There are 62 decorated Christmas trees inside Biltmore House for the 2016 celebration!

 

Garland adorns the grand spiral staircase. They use 7,527 feet of fresh evergreen garlanding during the season, made of mixed white pine and Fraser fir. The garlands are replaced weekly to maintain a fresh look and fragrance for guests. Faux garlands add another 1,200 feet in Biltmore House.

Garland adorns the grand spiral staircase. They use 7,527 feet of fresh evergreen garlanding during the season, made of mixed white pine and Fraser fir. Faux garlands add another 1,200 feet in Biltmore House.

Of course, in a house the size of Biltmore it’s hard to pick favorite areas. Personally, I couldn’t get past the amount of work needed to maintain each room. Obviously, Mrs. Vanderbilt had a lot of help, but still!

My favorite room was the one where Cornelia Vanderbilt was born, and subsequently had her own children.

Beautiful baby cradle!

Beautiful baby cradle!

My husband and children were partial to the lower level of the house. Brent enjoyed the kitchen, while the kids couldn’t get enough of the bowling alley and swimming pool!

A bowling ally in a house?!?

A bowling alley in a house?!?

Even without water, it's easy to imagine how wonderful this pool must have been for parties!

Even without water, it’s easy to imagine how wonderful this pool must have been for parties!

The audio guides moved along at a nice pace. We all felt like we’d gained so much appreciation for the history by the end of our tour.

Upon exiting the house we strolled over to the stable to enjoy some treats.

Delicious bakery items!

Delicious bakery items!

After getting our car we headed over to the Biltmore Conservatory, and Antler Village.

We were transported to a tropical garden inside the conservatory.

We were transported to a tropical garden inside the conservatory.

On our short drive between the Biltmore House and Antler Village, we had to stop and admire the beautiful grounds. The 8,000 acre property boasts gorgeous views of the mountains and quiet forest ponds. Every inch is breathtaking!

The reflection in the still pond couldn't have been more picturesque!

The reflection in the still pond couldn’t have been more picturesque!

Our children were equally as excited to visit the winery as we were once they learned there would be a grape juice tasting at the end!

I love how memorable this experience was for them!

I love how memorable this experience was for them!

Don't miss the winery history or complimentary wine tasting!

Don’t miss the winery history or complimentary wine tasting!

We finished off our Biltmore House day at the Farmyard. The kids loved the playground and petting zoo!

For my city kids, petting goats and chickens is always exciting!

For my city kids, petting goats and chickens is always exciting!

It’s safe to say our family started a new Christmas tradition! We hadn’t driven off the grounds before the kids started talking about “next time.”

Christmas at Biltmore- a special new tradition!

Christmas at Biltmore- a special new tradition!

I can’t imagine a more perfect time to introduce our kids to the Vanderbilt legacy. The Biltmore House made quite an impression on them and they will look forward to future visits as much as I will.

For more information about the Biltmore and to plan your visit, visit their website.

*The Biltmore Company hosted our visit*

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