loading spinner
North Carolina

Asheville at Christmastime: The Biltmore and Beyond

Program No. 22980RJ
Experience the magic of a Vanderbilt Christmas at the ornately decorated Biltmore House as you learn about turn-of-the-century traditions, and explore the charming city of Asheville.

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Protecting the Environment

We offset a portion of the emissions created by your travel. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Nov 17 - Nov 22, 2024
Starting at
Dec 1 - Dec 6, 2024
Starting at
Dec 8 - Dec 13, 2024
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Nov 17 - Nov 22, 2024
Starting at
Filling Fast!
Dec 1 - Dec 6, 2024
Starting at
Dec 8 - Dec 13, 2024
Starting at

At a Glance

Evergreen trees twinkle with thousands of white lights. Poinsettias, wreaths tied with bright red bows and miles of ornate garland adorn nearly every surface. Cinnamon sticks scents blended with aromas of fresh balsam and carol music greet you as you enter the gloriously festive Biltmore estate, in full regalia for Christmastime. There’s nothing like it. Celebrate the season at this landmark estate as you step back in time to learn about what the holidays were like for the Vanderbilt family at the turn of the century. While you’re in town, explore charming Asheville and learn about Southern Appalachian and Native American traditions.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to 1.5 miles daily, sometimes on uneven surfaces. Getting on/off trolley. Standing in museums up to an hour for lecture. Some historical structures have stairs/no elevator.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Experience the Biltmore House by candle and firelight as holiday choirs and musical performances welcome you.
  • Immerse yourself in the history, arts and art-deco architecture of Asheville, including a visit to the Cathedral of All Souls and the Basilica of St. Lawrence.
  • Enjoy live performances ranging from choral Christmas carols to traditional Appalachian folk music and songs of the Cherokee Nation on flute, rattle and Native American Drum.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Tom Murray
Tom Murray is a graduate of San Jose State University but is a Southerner by choice, having spent more than 45 years in the South absorbing the culture, customs and history of the region. Tom specializes in coastal history with an emphasis on the sea islands of Georgia. Few people know and love beautiful Cumberland and Amelia islands better than Tom. He has spent 25 years lecturing and leading Road Scholar groups to sites from the mountains to the sea.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tom Murray
Tom Murray View biography
Tom Murray is a graduate of San Jose State University but is a Southerner by choice, having spent more than 45 years in the South absorbing the culture, customs and history of the region. Tom specializes in coastal history with an emphasis on the sea islands of Georgia. Few people know and love beautiful Cumberland and Amelia islands better than Tom. He has spent 25 years lecturing and leading Road Scholar groups to sites from the mountains to the sea.
Profile Image of Lee Knight
Lee Knight View biography
Raised in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, Lee is a folk singer, story teller and outdoor leader, performing at concerts, workshops, festivals and schools. He shares his knowledge of the natural world leading hikes, canoe trips and guiding whitewater rafts. Lee has collected and shares Cherokee legends and plays the Cherokee flute and rattle, as well as the Native American drum. He also plays the five-string banjo, guitars and the Appalachian dulcimer.
Profile Image of Kevan Frazier
Kevan Frazier View biography
Kevan Frazier is an Asheville native whose family settled in the Asheville area in the late 1700s. He is the author of “Legendary Locals of Asheville,” which details the pioneers, educators, artists and others who have had a lasting impact on Asheville. Kevan is a former member of the history faculty and administration at UNC Asheville, where he served for 17 years. He holds a doctorate in history from West Virginia University.
Profile Image of Anne Peery
Anne Peery View biography
Anne Peery has traveled extensively in the Southeastern United States. She has served in various leadership roles including the Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Anne holds a B.S. in education from Mississippi State University. She has worked with a volunteer group making medical-grade PPE for first responders in the Big Bend region of Florida.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Cherokee History and Culture
by Helen Dwyer
An introduction to the locale, history, way of life, and culture of the Cherokee Indians.
Legendary Locals of Asheville
by Kevan D. Frazier
Like all great cities, Ashevilles story is one of people, not institutions or industries. For more than two centuries, deep in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, extraordinary women and men have created a truly unique American city. Legendary Locals of Asheville tells the stories of the people who founded, built, and rebuilt Asheville. From the first woman elected to state office in the South, who won her primary before women had the right to vote, to the grandson of a famed railroad magnate who built a 250-room chateau that became the largest home in America, to the entrepreneur who helped ignite the citys renaissance when he risked opening an art gallery downtown when most of it was still boarded up, Ashevillians are an amazing lot. Likewise, there are stories of extraordinary groups like the renowned faculty of an experimental college that redefined the American arts or the brave high school students who joined together to fight segregation. Their stories are as touching and fascinating as they are varied.
Lady on the Hill: How Biltmore Estate Became an American Icon
by Howard E. Covington Jr. and The Biltmore Company
"What William Cecil has accomplished at Biltmore Estate is one of the great preservation success stories of all time. He has set a high standard for what all historic house museums strive for: magnificently preserved buildings and grounds, engaging interpretation, and--perhaps most challenging of all--economic self-sufficiency. It is no surprise that Biltmore Estate is widely recognized as one of America's finest places to visit." --Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation "Biltmore is a glorious national historic landmark that, through creative vision and entrepreneurial management, preserves and provides insight into a way of life in the early 1900s. Bill is the imaginative and multifaceted leader who has built this great monument to enrich his community. George and I admire his dedication and success." --George and Abby Rockefeller O'Neill "Bill Cecil and his team at Biltmore Estate have sure proved that they know how to build a successful business. They did it the old-fashioned way: embrace a bold idea that others said could not be done and--through commitment, determination, and hard work--bring it to life. Their achievement against the odds is inspiring, and their vision and perseverance are valuable lessons to us all." --Don Logan, Chairman, Media & Communications Group, Time Warner "If George Vanderbilt did nothing more than engage the two most prominent and storied designers of their time, architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, to carry out his vision of a European estate in the southern Appalachians, he would have created an American icon. The beauty of the method by which the estate was executed and, even today, the meticulous attention to detail, in the presentation and care of the estate by William Cecil, have brought history to life." --Gary J. Walters, Chief Usher, The White House
Look Homeward, Angel
by Thomas Wolfe
A legendary author on par with William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Wolfe published Look Homeward, Angel, his first novel, about a young man’s burning desire to leave his small town and tumultuous family in search of a better life, in 1929. It gave the world proof of his genius and launched a powerful legacy. The novel follows the trajectory of Eugene Gant, a brilliant and restless young man whose wanderlust and passion shape his adolescent years in rural North Carolina. Wolfe said that Look Homeward, Angel is “a book made out of my life,” and his largely autobiographical story about the quest for a greater intellectual life has resonated with and influenced generations of readers, including some of today’s most important novelists. Rich with lyrical prose and vivid characterizations, this twentieth-century American classic will capture the hearts and imaginations of every reader.
Asheville's Historic Architecture (NC) [Paperback]
by Richard Hansley
Asheville, known for its architectural diversity and intriguing Art Deco style, has been fortunate in attracting brilliant architects who, with imaginative foresight and design expertise, have created lasting testaments in brick and stone. Local architectural enthusiast Richard Hansley recounts the history behind dozens of Asheville's most prominent buildings and historical neighborhoods in Asheville's Historic Architecture. Discover how Douglas Ellington, Richard Sharp Smith, James Vester Miller and Tony Lord influenced this busy metropolis, as landmarks like the Jackson Building, the Grove Park Inn and the Art Deco City Building were constructed along the city's thriving streets. These buildings have stood the test of time and remain as breathtaking in concept and appearance today as when first completed.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.