Monday, November 19, 2012

Family Outing at Biltmore

We spent a lovely day at Biltmore Estate with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew.  I can't remember the last time all ten of us were together for an outing!  It was wonderful to have an opportunity to spend together.

The holidays at Biltmore are extravagant.  The house was dressed in its finest Christmas decorations.  Garland, ribbons, decorated Christmas trees, nativity scenes, Santa nick-knacks, and a large gingerbread house are eye candy to the visitors, as they roam the rooms in the house.  A faint scent of evergreen and gingerbread set the mood for Christmas.  One could only imagine what the first Christmas guests felt when they entered the house on Christmas Eve 1895.

The Grand Christmas Tree in the Banquet Hall.  (This picture came in the photo sleeve.)
After we toured the house, we drove to Deer Park for dinner.  The buffet was delicious.  Prime Rib, turkey, catfish, beef brisket, egg plant parmesan with marinara, green beans with stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing, collard greens, salads, fruit, waffles, omlets, grits, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage, red velvet cake, sticky buns, doughnuts, chocolate cheese cake, brown butter cake, rolls, breads, ect. graced the tables.  A culinary smorgasbord to please any family.

We ate our fill at Deer Park and longed for a nap.  No one left hungry.  My father seemed pleased with his birthday lunch.

Afterward, we drove on to Antler Hill Village.  Little Man couldn't wait to see the farm animals.  He was able to pet the chickens and rooster, a couple of goats, a horse and a rabbit.  Egee loved the horses.

The children played in the children's tree maze.  This was great entertainment for Little Man.  I may have to plan one for our yard!

We made our way to the winery.  Walking through the old dairy area is always a fun way to enter the winery.  Hubby and my mom sampled wine.  The rest of us meandered through the gift shop.  We sampled the wassail and I purchased a few packages to make at home.  The wassail mix always makes a perfect drink on a cold winter's day.

Santa Claus was at the gazebo area.  My parents took the children over to see him and had their pictures made.  I had just been thinking about the last time Little Man had a picture with Santa.  He must have been around two years-old.  He hates to get his picture taken, so I was so happy to find out they were able to get a picture.  Who knows, this may be the last one I get of him and Santa.  I hope not, though!

Little Man and Santa

Egee and Santa
As our visit came to an end (seven hours on the estate), we upgraded our tickets to season passes.  They were having a special upgrade for $29 more and I couldn't resist.  I want to take the children back in the spring, summer, fall and again at Thanksgiving.  We didn't spend time exploring the gardens, but will with season passes.  There is so much to do and see!