Captain Cavedweller and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last month with a big trip that we started planning back in February 2023.
Visiting The Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina, has been on my bucket list for what feels like forever.
So, we decided to go see it, all bedecked for the holidays.
Right before we left for our trip, we watched a Hallmark movie called A Biltmore Christmas that was filmed there. The movie was great, but it made it even more fun to see some of the rooms in the movie, then get to see them in person. One of the gift shops on the Biltmore Estate even had one of the dresses from the movie on display.
Our adventure to the Biltmore started by driving through the gatehouse. The estate is huge, and it is a couple miles to drive to the parking lots.
But the Biltmore certainly does not disappoint when it comes to grandeur. We walked up to where people were snapping photos with the house in the background and a very nice gentleman offered to take our photo for us.
Our tickets were for ten that morning, and we got there about half past nine. So we wandered around the gift shops, spied some things I wanted to come back and get, then got in line to enter the house.
I was incredibly impressed with how efficient everything ran. Visitors have staggered entry, as you can see from this photo. Once your ticket is scanned, they have you wait a few minutes before they let you in, just so people aren’t bunched up. I thought it was a brilliant idea.
We could have spent hours outside, just staring at all the unique elements on the outside of the house.
But the inside was even better!
I loved the hand painted tiles on this fireplace mantel. It was so incredibly lovely.
The gingerbread house made me think of one of Halston Baker’s creations.
If you watched the movie, the library had the hourglass on display, and that was such fun to see!
Our favorite room, though, was the medieval-themed banquet hall. It was spectacular!
We basically spent two days at the Biltmore, exploring the house, conservatory, the gift shops, the art gallery, and museum. It was amazing. And everything is just top notch. Even the food carts had excellent food.
In Asheville, we visited some antique shops and I found a few things that had to come home with me (more on that another day!). We were even able to do a holiday home tour in a historic neighborhood. It was such fun. CC’s favorite part was petting the pet bunny one family had.
Our next stop on our trip was Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We stayed at The Inn at Christmas Place, which was super fun. The entire hotel is decorated for Christmas (including the guest rooms) year round. We loved looking around and seeing all the neat decorations. They also had an amazing breakfast which impressed CC.
While in Pigeon Forge, we visited the Titanic Museum, which just makes my heart hurt when I think of all the lives that were so needlessly lost. But it is a beautiful reproduction of the original ship and well worth the visit.
While in Pigeon Forge, we also attended Dolly Parton’s Stampede, which included dinner (thanks, Jamie, for suggesting it!). The food was so good. In fact, I think they were the best biscuits I have ever eaten! And the show was wonderful. They even had a live nativity complete with camels! (Which made me think of Lolly!)
We then traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, where we toured historic homes, wandered around downtown and I found some cute shops (yes, more things that I had to bring home with me!), we visited museums, and had a grand time. And good food. In fact, Ye Olde Steakhouse lived up to every bit of the hype with amazing prime rib, and delicious coconut cake.
The Museum of the Appalachia was somewhere we visited on the spur of the moment the day before we flew home. I’m so glad we did, although we both wished we’d had more time to spend there. One of the things they had on display is the cabin pictured above, which was supposed to have belonged to Mark Twain’s parents. I loved reading the history of the people of the area as well as seeing the old buildings.
The last event we went to before it was time to pack up and leave was a holiday symphony performance that was so lovely.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip and a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary. We are already talking about returning someday in the spring, so we can see all the beautiful flowers and fauna in bloom at the Biltmore!
What about you? Is there somewhere on your bucket list you hope to visit this year?