Christmas is the most magical time of the year. Homes are adorned with Christmas lights and decorations, and the aroma of butter and vanilla stays ever present in kitchens. Children are anxiously anticipating the pitter patter of reindeer hooves on the rooftops and waiting with baited breath for Santa to slide down the chimney with Christmas goodies and toys. For the grown-ups, it’s a time for friends, family, food and peace on Earth. It’s truly a magical time when the impossible, becomes possible. It’s a time when we all, for just a brief moment in time, can feel that child-like wonder once again.
To add to the magic of Christmas, there are places that not only exude Christmas spirit, but are enchanting in their own right. Entrancing escapes where imaginations run wild, dreams come true and the perfect spirit of Christmas is alive and thriving. In this world, there are wonderful, unique, festive, vibrant, and yes…magical places like Biltmore Village.
Biltmore Village and Estate have been on my bucket list for years. I adore Asheville and have visited many times, but surprisingly, never visited Biltmore until last month through an invitation from Biltmore Village.
This visit surpassed and exceeded any thoughts I could have possibly had on the fascination and sheer awe of everything that encompasses Biltmore. From the abundant history and architecture, to fantastic cuisine, to the overall splendor and grandeur of every facet, it is a destination unlike any other.
Our journey began on a gorgeous Fall day and a three hour mountain drive. The drive was spectacular. The leaves had turned beautiful shades of red, burnt orange and gold.
We drove through a multitude of quaint, little towns and we thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent drive. One of the best parts was finding Podunk Produce! What a NEAT place! Podunk offers everything from jams and jellies to peanuts boiled right in front of the store.
Nantahala River & Village
After leaving Podunk, with “Traffic Jam”, Watermelon Rind Pickles and boiled peanuts in hand, we drove on until we stopped briefly to enjoy the stunning Nantahala River and Village.
Although the daily specials offered Tuesday through Sunday sounded fantastic, we opted for burgers and those burgers were AMAZING!
Dessert anyone? Can you say homemade from scratch?
…and the scenery was breathtaking.
Doubletree by Hilton Asheville Biltmore
We easily found our hotel, Doubletree by Hilton Asheville Biltmore.
…and we found a fantastic surprise!
…and all of the comforts of home!
A visit to this property is an education in the history of the area in itself. The walls are lined with a timeline of various aspects of the Biltmore Estate as well as unique displays you won’t find anywhere else.
Director of Hotel Operations, Robert Foster, could not have made our arrival or stay any more perfect. From the moment we stepped out of the Xterra, to our departure, Doubletree Biltmore and staff were absolutely superb and I highly recommend them if you’re visiting Biltmore. Their service and attention to detail is bar none. Not to mention, you will only find THIS bedtime cookie here!
People. Do not miss this cookie. It makes the world a happier place.
Surface Gallery & Rezaz Restaurant & Wine Bar
After check in, we were whisked away to a grand reception at Surface Gallery, catered by the spectacular Rezaz Restaurant in beautiful Biltmore Village.
Biltmore Village was conceived by a visionary millionaire, designed by world-renowned architects and home to humble estate workers, Biltmore Village was created as a counterpart to Biltmore Estate. It was a planned community for estate workers as well as an independent community all its own.
It has evolved and changed in the years since. Today, it is hard to classify the village. It’s a bustling, contemporary shopping destination – home to both national retail outlets and one-of-a-kind independent shops. It’s the perfect night out for foodies and friends. It’s a must see site for history buffs and architecture aficionados.
This was a FEAST! IF you find yourself anywhere in the vicinity of Rezaz…YOU MUST. This is one incredibly talented chef and her dishes were flavorful, creative and absolutely delicious. I’ll say it again, DO NOT miss Rezaz.
As we nibbled, we walked throughout Surface Gallery. I was beyond impressed that so much creativity and talent from local artisans could be found in one location, under one roof. Surface Gallery is stunning. The artisans work housed here, created with every medium imaginable, is simply brilliant.
As we finished our nibbles and perusing the gallery, we were given gift bags from the local merchants. The items were incredible!
Asheville is a premium shopping destination and Biltmore Village is another MUST. We managed to wiggle in some shopping time and found the most original gifts for everyone on our list. You just won’t find boutiques, and cozy shops like the ones in Biltmore Village any place else. I’ll give you more details on our shopping experience at Biltmore Village later this week 😉
After fantastic appetizers, and touring the exquisite Surface Gallery, it was time for dinner at The Cantina.
The Village has so much to offer in the way of restaurants, you could dine here for a month and never have the same thing twice. The Cantina is an excellent option for the best margaritas and Tex-Mex with a twist! The owner and staff have such an interesting story and if you find yourself sipping on a margarita or three, ask them to share their story! I can’t give away everything now can I 😉
The specialty of The Cantina is Chicken or Shrimp Stuffed Avocados. Give them a try! They do not disappoint!
After dinner it was on to after dinner cocktails at TGI Fridays with some great friends and fellow bloggers, Erica and Desmond.
What a fabulous day in beautiful Asheville, and Biltmore Village. Our first day couldn’t have had a more perfect ending 🙂
If you still don’t have your fill of Asheville, watch later this week for “A Christmas with Biltmore Village Part 2”, where I’ll share more about shopping, fine dining, the spectacular Biltmore Village Inn and the breathtaking Biltmore Estate.
A Very Special Thank You!
A very special thank you to the following for making our first day in Biltmore Village a day of dreams…
- Historic Biltmore Village Partnership
- Gail Dowell, Biltmore Property Group: http://www.historicbiltmorevillage.com/
- Robert Foster, Biltmore Farms Hotels: http://www.doubletreeasheville.com/
- Katie Avant, Surface Gallery: http://www.surfacegallery.com/
- Rezaz Catering & Restaurant: http://www.rezaz.com/
- The Cantina: http://www.cantinabiltmore.com/
- Clyde’s Restaurant: https://www.facebook.com/clydesrestaurant.waynesville/
- Podunk Produce: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Podunk-Produce-Blueridge/250786961692638
*While our trip was complimentary and hosted by the Historic Biltmore Village Partnership, all thoughts, opinions, words and drooling are entirely my own.