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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.

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DATES & starting prices
Nov 26 - Dec 1, 2023
Starting at
Dec 3 - Dec 8, 2023
Starting at
Dec 10 - Dec 15, 2023
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Nov 26 - Dec 1, 2023
Starting at
Dec 3 - Dec 8, 2023
Starting at
Dec 10 - Dec 15, 2023
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
Lee Knight
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.

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

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.
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
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.
Legendary Locals of Asheville
by Kevan D. Frazier
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 city’s 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.
14 Reviews
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4.93 Average
(4) Review left 1/03/2023

Highly recommend!

(5) Review left 12/26/2022

This was a great trip. I enjoyed the speakers and learned a lot. The hotel was in a great location and comfortable. Our leader and bus driver were great. One comment regarding the bus. Many of the seats were broken, backs did not stay up. Sharp metal projecting from the seats were a injury hazard. Torn upholstery. No seat belts.

(5) Review left 12/19/2022

We had been to the Biltmore 5 years ago in the Spring and this was a totally new experience. The lights and music gave it a new look. The food and accommodations were top notch and the leader, Anne Perry, was fantastic. There were so many changes she had to deal with and did it seamlessly.

(5) Review left 12/19/2022

If anyone is interested in learning about Appalachian History, Cherokee History, folk customs ,great artists of and music of this area as well as exploring the magnificent Biltmore and Omni Grove Inn, this program is for you! It was a wonderful learning experience.

(5) Review left 12/17/2022

Great Program. Great guide!

(5) Review left 12/13/2022

This was our first Road Scholar program and we loved it! I loved the learning aspect of the program - all the speakers were excellent as well as the docents. The program was well organized and well rounded - we had the opportunity to “sample” the arts community, literary community, learn the history of the area, visit beautiful churches and spend time at the amazing Biltmore estate and Grove Park Inn. And in between had some wonderful meals! Anne was a wonderful group leader and kept us moving along in the nicest way possible!! Highly recommend this program!

(5) Review left 12/21/2021

Enjoyed Asheville at Christmas time! So much to see. Great speakers on the city’s history as well as Cherokee history.

(5) Review left 12/21/2021

The Biltmore was just one of the wonderful parts of this trip. Asheville is a lovely city and we leaved so much about its unique history. There are arts all over the city. Our excellent hotel was was in a perfect location. We packed a lot of learning, seeing and sharing in just 4 days. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.

(5) Review left 12/20/2021

A wonderful, well balanced adventure that should put a person in the holiday spirit.

(5) Review left 12/20/2021

Excellent and informative trip. The Biltmore is beautiful and the town of Asheville is full of very eclectic stores and artisans.

(5) Review left 12/18/2021

I totally enjoyed this program!

(5) Review left 12/12/2021

We really enjoyed our trip Asheville. Our group leader, Anne, was the best . Highly recommend this trip to others!

(5) Review left 12/05/2021

If you want to experience a bit of Christmas Spirit - Asheville @ Christmas - may be just the ticket for you - Enjoy !

(5) Review left 12/14/2019

Thoroughly enjoyable visit to the Biltmore and Asheville at Christmas. All very organized with plenty of time at all venues to enjoy. Hotel in walking distance of Biltmore Village, so easy to walk, shop, and eat on own when we had that time. All lecturers and presenters were entertaining and knowledgeable. Had a wonderful time with my sister.

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.