Walking about 1.5 miles throughout the day’s field trips; some various terrain including pavement and brick walkways. Biltmore Estate does have a handicap accessible elevator. The walk through the Biltmore House averages about 1.5 hours; there is no seating in the mansion, only walking and standing, but there is limited seating near the entrance.
At the hotel.
We will be joined by a long-time resident of the Southern Appalachians, a folksinger-folklorist for more than 30 years. We’ll learn about Cherokee history and culture as it relates to Asheville and the surrounding area. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the land where Asheville now exists lay within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. Your local expert who has collected and continues to share Cherokee legends, will play the Cherokee flute, rattle, and the Native American drum. Our presenter also plays the five-string banjo, guitars, and the Appalachian dulcimer. Through this presentation and performance, we’ll delve into hundreds of years of Cherokee culture and history in a short time including one of America's darkest tragedies, the Removal of tribes to the West, and into the present.
At the hotel.
We will board a motorcoach and set out on a field trip to the extraordinary Biltmore Estate. We will start out to explore the Estate Gardens and Conservatory. The gardens, formal and informal, were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed parks throughout the U.S. including Central Park in New York City. Present-day horticultural experts work diligently to preserve Olmstead’s vision. Leaving the gardens, we will ride to the Biltmore Estate Winery and adjacent Antler Hill Village with time to see and do what interests each of us most. George Vanderbilt appreciated fine wines and it was his grandson, William A. V. Cecil, who developed Biltmore’s vineyards and winery in the 1970s. After a wine tasting demonstration at Antler Hill, we will return to the Biltmore Mansion for dinner in the Stable Cafe.
Live music, firelight and candlelight will all enhance our experience and enjoyment of the Biltmore Estate on this Candlelight Christmas Evening. Audios will not be used on the candlelight visit due to the choirs, dancing and musical performances that take place throughout the home. We’ll go on a candlelit stroll around and through the Biltmore House, which will be adorned with beautiful grand-scale holiday decorations. Step back in time to the late 1800s as we view elegant Victorian decorations including wreaths, bows, poinsettias, evergreen garlands and thousands of ornaments twinkling in the firelight; each tree will be uniquely decorated to match the room in which it is located; and marvel at the forty foot Christmas tree that towers above visitors in the formal dining hall – it will be an unforgettable evening at Biltmore! There will also be dancing and singing, choirs, and performances on site. We’ll then rendezvous at a predetermined time and place for transfer back to the hotel.