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Christmas at the Biltmore Estate

This holiday season, my husband and I visited the Biltmore (America’s Largest Home®), located a short drive away from our new hometown here in beautiful western North Carolina.

What really struck me at the Biltmore wasn’t the billiard room, gymnasium, swimming pool, or bowling alley, but the numerous cozy reading spots that beckoned book lovers to slip beneath the velvet ropes and get lost in a book. Check out the photo tour I snapped below.

The Biltmore Library

Although he did not go to college, George Washington Vanderbilt II was an avid reader who recorded in his journal an average of 81 books read each year. George’s passion was the pursuit of knowledge, learning and appreciation for the arts.

The two-story library is 53 x 72 feet and 27 feet high.
The incredible ceiling painting titled “The Chariot of Aurora” was painted in the 1720s by Italian artist Giovanni Pellegrini.
The library contains nearly half of George’s 22,000 volume collection, which ranges in subject from American and English fiction to world history, religion, philosophy, art, and architecture.
Who wants to sit in front of the roaring fire and get lost in a good book?

The Banquet Hall

This impressive room with a seven-story-high ceiling and Flemish tapestries from the mid-1500s was the scene of evening parties and celebrations.
Guests of the Vanderbilts enjoyed elegant dinners that began promptly at 8 p.m. and often featured up to 10 courses and as many as five different wine pairings.

Guest Sitting Rooms and Corridors

In this 90-foot-long tapestry gallery room, the Flemish tapestries on the wall are part of a 1530s set known as The Triumph of the Seven Virtues; these three tapestries represent Charity, Faith, and Prudence.
Guests in nearby rooms came to the third floor living hall to relax, listen to music, and read before and after dinner.

Have you found a spot where you could cozy up with a book for a few hours… or weeks?

The Biltmore from Outside

View out a window of the Biltmore.

Imagine Being a Guest at an Estate (or Castle) like the Biltmore

Touring the grand estate felt like walking through the pages of the Royal Conquest Saga. Who doesn’t enjoy the finer things (even if only in our imagination)?

If you are new to the series, book 1 (Stolen Princess) is currently free to download.

Not all fairytales end with a prince.