Great Drives: Christmas at Biltmore

December 25, 2009
Biltmore House

Biltmore House

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It’s a crisp 26-degree day, and the puddles scarring our off-road trail have iced over. The Range Rover’s tires crack and crunch through them like holiday ribbon candy, but as instructor Greg Nikolas eggs me on, I roll gently through the muck, despite my historical hatred for ribbon candy.


What do I care? I have someone else’s SUV, a cupholder with eggnog-flavored coffee, and a cozy room waiting for me when we’re done traversing the trails on the grounds of the Biltmore House.


There are many ways to see Biltmore, the spectacular estate in Asheville, North Carolina , home to Vanderbilts a century ago and still the country’s largest private home. In the summer you can tour through art fairs and magnificent outdoor concerts, or wait for fall and the magnificent colors that set the surrounding hills ablaze.


Or you can choose a bracing winter trip into the heart of the Biltmore grounds courtesy the Land Rover Experience Driving School, capped by an evening at the house, which every winter is draped in every piece of imaginable Christmas finery, practically wrapped in red velvet bows and crystal-clear ornaments, and bedecked with enough Christmas trees to shame the National Mall.

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