Gatlinburg’s streets are adorned with a little bit of winter magic lasting until February. For four months every year the city lights up the Downtown Parkway with winter snowflakes hanging on the light posts and LED lights outlining trees. The city has been decorating its streets since 1989 but this year, the city is happy to announce that they have completely converted to environmentally friendly LED lights that save the city 95 percent of their energy costs. With this significant switch, Gatlinburg is able to light the entire 120 days of the program for what it once cost for only three days of electricity. The lighting displays that Gatlinburg residents have come to know and love for the past 22 years have been converted to LED lights too. So head to Gatlinburg to check out the lights!
Built between 1889 and 1895 for George Washington Vanderbilt II, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned residence in the country featuring 250 rooms and 178,926 square feet. The home is still owned by one of Vanderbilt’s descendants Vanderbilt decided to build his estate in Asheville in the 1880’s after he had fallen in love with the area. So, like his older siblings, he built a massive summer house replicating the style of working estates in Europe. Because of a desire for the estate to be self sustaining, Biltmore designed forestry programs and farming programs. He also started Biltmore Industries in the area to promote local employment. When Vanderbilt died in 1914, his widow sold 85,000 acres of the original 125,000 acres of the property to the federal government to become a part of the Pisgah National Forest.
In March 1930, due to the estate’s financial situation during the Depression, the Biltmore Estate was opened to the public for tours. Family continued to live there until 1956 when it was permanently opened as a public museum. The estate is still owned and run by family, in fact, it is run by George Washington Vanderbilt II’s great-grandson. Visitors are invited to view the estate’s 70,000-gallon indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, two-story library, and much much more! In 2010,Antler Hill Village debuted with a dairy remodeled into a winery, Cedric’s Tavern, an Outdoor Adventure Center, and a museum highlighting the history of the Vanderbilt family.
Christmastime at the Biltmore Estate means miles and miles of gorgeous decorations spread throughout the 178,000-square-foot mansion. A breathtaking 35-foot Christmas tree graces the massive banquet hall. Visit the estate at night during the holiday season when all of the fireplaces fill the home with a warm glow accentuating the beautiful Christmas lights decorating the house. The Antler Hill Village is also celebrating the holiday season just a stone’s throw away from the estate. For more information about Christmas at the Biltmore Estate, visit our website.
Biltmore Estate is located 1.5 hours away from Gatlinburg. Browse through our lodging listings to find the perfect hotel for your vacation.