There’s a chill in the air and Asheville just held their Holiday Parade and Jinglefest to kick off the holiday season. I’m a purist and refuse to decorate before Thanksgiving, but guess what? Thanksgiving is here! And Christmas is my favorite time of year. The Biltmore Candlelight Evenings are just magical and we will be going again this year as well as arranging for lots of tours for our guests. But there is so much more to do in Asheville around the holidays than just The Biltmore, as gorgeous as it is all dressed up for Christmas.
The Grove Park Inn is hosting the 21st National Gingerbread Competition with entries on display now through January 2nd. These are not your everyday Gingerbread Houses! The rules require that the entries be made of completely edible materials with 75% gingerbread, but you would never know it! Seeing is believing in this video from RomanticAsheville.com. Even without the Gingerbread, the Grove Park Inn is worth visiting while you are in Asheville. Built in 1912 using granite boulders hauled from Sunset Mountain, the original Inn is stunning architecturally and has hosted 10 presidents as well as numerous celebrities, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Thomas Edison and Harry Houdini.
The hotel was originally furnished with pieces from the Roycrofters of East Aurora, New York, one of the most important designers and manufacturers of Arts and Crafts furniture and many pieces remain. A little known attraction on the grounds, away from the main hotel and spa, is an antique car museum and The Grovewood Studios, Gallery and Sculpture Garden with it’s own interesting history, revitalizing the Homespun Shops that once housed Biltmore Industries.
You can find more holiday spirit at the Smith-McDowell House, where they decorate Asheville’s first mansion and oldest structure with period Victorian decorations, fresh trees and garlands, and displays of holiday traditions. Built 20 years before the Civil War, the antebellum mansion, built on a plantation just south of downtown Asheville is now a museum. The museum grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1900.
Our own Montford Historic District will be showing off our Christmas Décor on the Montford Holiday House Tour December 14th. The historic district includes Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Greek Revival and Dutch Colonial homes built during the 1890s to the 1920s. Tickets for the self guided tour can be purchased at the Visitor Center Gift shop after December 1st. A Bed of Roses is on the tour this year and we’re looking forward to all the holiday festivities!
Check back here for updates on more Asheville Holiday events including concerts and holiday performances.