Get a huge dose of holiday cheer with a quick getaway to the mountains this weekend or next. From lights displays to gingerbread displays, the Biltmore at Christmas and shopping galore, here are our top picks for a very merry weekend:
Deck the Halls
The carol will take on a new meaning once you see how America’s largest home decorates for the holidays. Take in the breathtaking sights of the 60 adorned Christmas trees (including the 34 foot centerpiece in the Banquet Hall), and the 75,000 lights inside and outside the Biltmore Estate at their annual Christmas at Biltmore.
Christmas at Biltmore daytime tours run through January 11. Candlelight Christmas Evenings, offering evening candlelight tours of Biltmore House, run through January 3. Santa visits with children in Antler Hill Village from 1-5 PM on Saturdays and Sundays through December 21. Also don’t miss the annual Gingerbread House Tea December 18-20th, where guests sip on afternoon tea and assemble gingerbread houses with the help of Biltmore’s pastry chef.
Consider their accommodation packages for the full experience.
Not Just for Houses Anymore
See sweets turned into masterpieces at the Omni Grove Park Inn, where the National Gingerbread Competition is in full swing. Visitors can view hundreds of completely edible creations from Sunday-Thursday through January 3. But that’s not the only treat. The Grove Park Inn’s new EDISON, craft ales + kitchen restaurant, classic Christmas decor and sweeping mountain views at the Sunset Terrace are not to be missed (bonus points if you can make it into their award winning spa!)
Merry & Bright (Lights)
New this year, Winter Lights at the Arboretum has all the making for a perfect date night while on our mountain getaway. The most visited Arboretum in the state is adorned with thousands of lights, transforming it into a nighttime winter wonderland. Stroll through the beautifully crafted light displays created by former Disney World holiday designer Jerry Stripling and view the Rocky Cove Railroad train exhibit that brings visitors back to the turn of the century. Make a night of it and have dinner at the Savory Thyme Cafe before or after your stroll, and warm up with an outdoor s’mores station. Each night, a DJ sets the holiday mood on the courtyard turned dance floor and visitors are kept warm with a hot chocolate and coffee bar.
Help Santa Out
Thought this getaway was complete? Not without shopping. Get your last minutegifts at Biltmore Village. Made up of over 40 shops and 10 great places to grab a bite to eat, the picture perfect cottage-style shops adored with classic Christmas decorations will have you wanting to stroll all day long. Don’t miss a trip to the Olde World Christmas Shoppe and pick up a gift for a friend (or yourself!) at favorites like Lululemon, Talbots, and Style Boutique.
Think that the North Pole is too far away for a day trip? Think again. The whole family will love a trip on the Polar Express Train excursion, complete with hot cocoa, carols and a special gift from Santa. The one hour and fifteen minute trip leaves from Bryson City and runs through January 3. Get your tickets here.