ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at the Biltmore Estate.
They are finally ready to welcome guests for the long-awaited holiday season.
The Biltmore put the finishing touches on the estate as they raised the famous Banquet Hall tree.
It’s a 35-foot Fraser Fir which is not exactly a tree you can just tie up and put on the roof of your car.
“We put it out on a trailer in E lot and we get it ready, prepared, and cut the base,” said, Trip Hudgins the Engineering Operations Manager at the Biltmore.
Hudgins said, “We put 11 poles underneath it. We put it through the front door. We use two tree dollies. Roll it right by the winter garden and into the banquet hall.”
Getting the tree into the doors is the easy part compared to lifting the giant tree into place as ropes are tied around the trunk and hoisted into place.
While most of the antiques and collectibles are cleared out by Hudgins and his team, they still have to dodge a couple of obstacles.
Hudgins said, “as we pull it up, we have to miss the throne chair and the chandelier.”
What you might not know is the Biltmore team has to do this twice because of the custom-built tree stand, there’s nowhere to water the tree.
So, halfway through the season it’s replaced and redecorated.
The Floral Manager Lizzie Borchers said they switch it out because a dry tree can become a hazard and it always keeps the tree fresh for guests coming through the door.
To make this all possible over 40 employees all across the estate have a hand in carrying the tree and lifting it up.
“Arborists, event logistics, engineering, gardeners, everybody we can get ahold of,” said Hudgins.
They don’t make it easy for Hudgins and his team but there is a reason for that.
Borchers said, “that really goes back to the archival information that we have of George Vanderbilt requesting a 35-foot tree for the banquet hall tree at the first Christmas in 1895.”
This year’s theme is “Winter Landscapes” which honors the estate’s original landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and his 200th birthday.
“For Biltmore, that is those early years where George and Edith were living in the house,” said Borchers.
All together America’s largest home has almost 70 decorated trees inside and many more on the outside including the 55-foot Spruce in the front lawn.
Guests can have two-holiday experiences at the estate with Christmas at the Biltmore during the day and Candlelight Christmas Evenings at night.