The Osprey, with its wide wingspan, zoomed down into the lagoon, feet first, from its nesting place nearby. The silent spring was interrupted by the rattle of wings. From her place on the rock, Cornelia raised her eyes to the sound. Her arm was suddenly jerked by the leash in her hand. Holding onto it, she followed the dog’s trail to see the Osprey’s catch.
Cornelia, the only daughter of the eminent George Vanderbilt, was raised in this palatial atmosphere. George, the builder of Biltmore and the great-grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, opened his country estate to friends, family and heads of states.
The tale above tells us a little about George’s daughter Cornelia and her precious puppy…and according to history, George’s father, William Henry Vanderbilt, continued the legacy of the Vanderbilt empire in railroad and shipping created by the Commodore. He doubled the value of the Vanderbilt lines, to approximately two hundred million dollars.
The 1989 book “The Vanderbilts” by Jerry E. Patterson, states, “They were, and remain today, among the richest families in the world, and they lived as the world expected them to, lavishly and publicly.”
George Vanderbilt, through his inheritance, in 1888 purchased the land that would ultimately become the Biltmore.
George Vanderbilt first welcomed guests to the Biltmore House on Christmas Eve 1895. Today, that tradition is kept alive each year as the Biltmore House is filled with hundreds of trees and garlands from the area. Each year, the 34-foot-tall Banquet Hall Christmas tree wows Biltmore’s guests.
During Candlelight Christmas Evenings, the Oak Sitting Room glows in the light from candles and matching fireplaces at either end of the room
The glow of hundreds of lights and a roaring fire illuminate George Vanderbilt’s Library during Christmas at Biltmore.
The Tapestry Gallery during Christmas shines in tones of green, blue and gold. The tapestries reach from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. We breathed in the beauty.
During our stay, Tom and I were treated royally. We enjoyed the warmth and wonder of Candlelight Christmas.
The Banquet Hall is 72 feet long, 42 feet wide and 70 feet high. It could seat up to 64 guests.
George Vanderbilt’s bedroom, in red with deep rich wood- toned furnishings of Victoriana.
Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom is dressed with contrasting fabrics in yellow and black. The French furnishings painted white add a country flavor, an informality in contrast to the formality found throughout the home.
The Winter Garden is located in the front hall. In November when we visited, the garden was filled with Christmas, decorated with Christmas trees, plants, poinsettias, musicians, choirs of high school angels and more.
Thanks to LeeAnn Donnelly, Senior Public Relations Manager at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC, for permission to use the Biltmore images.