The Biltmore, America’s largest house, is lavishly decorated for the holidays each year. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau took six years and 1,000 men to build and is a National Historic Landmark open to the public today. It takes a staff of 1,800 over a month to light and decorate over 100 Christmas trees, hang 10,000 feet of fresh garland, miles of ribbon and hang thousands of ornaments for the more than 300,000 visitors that visit during the holiday season… [read more]
This holiday season, Best Buy featured the house from the 1983 classic A Christmas Story in one of it’s commercials. I’ve never actually seen the entire movie from start to finish, but I’ve seen each scene (out of order, backwards and forwards) probably hundreds upon hundreds of times. (Ours is one of those families that turns on TBS’s A Christmas Story marathon on Christmas Eve and doesn’t turn it off until every present is unwrapped and every treat eaten on Christmas Day. It is the soundtrack to our entire holiday! And I’m happy to report that when it comes to A Christmas Story trivia, I’m the reigning office champ!) So when I saw the commercial, I was intrigued by the preservation effort, to say the least. I did a little Googling and discovered that the project is really quite interesting – and not a preservation effort at all. And although the nugget of my heart that is devoted to A Christmas Story is delighted, the big huge preservationist chunks of my heart are cringing and appalled! … [read more]
The National Trust works to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Incorporated in 1894, The National Trust is one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom. It owns and operates heritage properties, including historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments and social history sites, most of which are open to the public free of charge. During the holiday season, the Trust opens many of its most important homes and landscapes for special events including visits from Santa, decorating and cooking workshops, Dickens readings and concerts… [read more]
Does your town go all out for the holidays?
The Biltmore, America’s largest house, is lavishly decorated for the holidays each year. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau took six years and 1,000 men to build and is a National Historic Landmark open to the public today.
It takes a staff of 1,800 over a month to light and decorate over 100 Christmas trees, hang 10,000 feet of fresh garland, miles of ribbon and hang thousands of ornaments for the more than 300,000 visitors that visit during the holiday season.
In the 19th century, it was rare to decorate the outside of the home. In a nod to modern tradition, the lions are now decorated for the holidays with fresh wreaths and swags of garland decorate other exterior elements.
It takes about 45 people to raise the 35-foot live Fraser fir in the 72-foot high Banquet Hall of Biltmore House every holiday season. They must be especially careful to not damage the chandeliers or priceless tapestries. A tree has been placed in the Banquet Hall every year since 1895 when George Biltmore first welcomed guests to the house on Christmas Eve. In subsequent years, the couple welcomed family, friends and the estate’s employees into the Banquet Hall for the annual Christmas party. Each child who lived on the estate at that time received a gift from the Vanderbilt family.
“This year’s Christmas displays throughout Biltmore House, the gardens and grounds follow an art motif, with inspiration coming from various art forms found in and around Biltmore House. Each decorated tree and its complementing display pieces are designed to accent a particular piece of art found in a room, or composed around an expression of art such as the literary arts or music.”
The photos in this post were taken in 2012 and can be found at Romantic Asheville along with many more.
The National Trust works to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Incorporated in 1894, The National Trust is one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom. It owns and operates heritage properties, including historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments and social history sites, most of which are open to the public free of charge.
During the holiday season, the Trust opens many of its most important homes and landscapes for special events including visits from Santa, decorating and cooking workshops, Dickens readings and concerts.
The halls and drawing rooms and kitchens of the dozens of 16th, 17th and 18th century manors and Victorian and Edwardian country estates owned by the Trust are decked out with Christmas cheer. They are resplendent with traditional Christmas trees, garlands, presents, toys and other decorations.
Each site is uniquely decorated to reflect the traditions of the region, as well as the historical traditions of the house, manor or cottage.
A visit to many of the National Trust sites at Christmas is complete with the smells of the season wafting from kitchens.
A scroll through the photos available on the Trust’s website will have you singing Christmas carols, recalling your very favorite British-isms and traditional Christmas tales. It also has me hankering for the return of Downtown Abbey (the Christmas special last year was the bee’s knees!)
*All photographs in this post are available for purchase from The National Trust. Click on the photo to jump through to the National Trust’s image gallery where you can order a print.
A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news. Click on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.
It’s that time of year! Everyone is gearing up for the holiday season and preservationists are no exception. Belle Grove published a lovely post this week about Christmas traditions in colonial America. If you’re feeling the holiday spirit, jump over there to check out how the colonies celebrated.
Preservation victory or is it a behemoth that will over shadow its historic surroundings? The 26 acre development will include “apartments 75 stories high. An observation deck shaped like a spaceship jutting out from an office tower taller than the Empire State Building. A 5-acre plaza with a sculpture as large as Lady Liberty.” All of this will be built on platforms over an existing rail yard. The engineering technology presents a lot of exciting possibilities for future development that does not necessitate demolition, but there is no arguing that this particular development is out of scale with its surroundings. What do you ya’ll think?
“For over a decade, I’ve watched heritage preservation evolve in two major ways. First, there was the shift from purely archaeological and architectural monuments to an increased emphasis on intangible heritage: folkways, languages, music, arts, costume, ritual and other traditions. Second, we are now recognizing heritage preservation as not just a series of international curation standards, bu a dynamic process whereby a community determines which elements of its past should be carried into the future.”
“But the 1212 we’ve chosen to highlight today is the Gryder House, also known as the Cat House, at 1212 Iola Road in Ocean Springs, . One of our 101 Mississippi Places to See Before You Die, the house, which sits in an otherwise unprepossessing neighborhood on Old Fort Bayou was built in 1960 and designed by Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff. With its whimsical concrete forms, hyperbolic parabaloid roof (Thomas Rossell’s heart is racing even now), terrazzo floors, mast (a mast! on a house!), and moat (a moat!), the Gryder House is so full of cool hipness, it might never grow old and hopefully will reach the next 12-12-12 intact and ready for another century.”
“If it is built, the project, called Palais Lumière, will be a glittering menagerie of private apartments, hotels, commercial spaces and even a fashion university, and it would transform a dilapidated industrial area bordering the Venetian lagoon. Mr. Cardin has described the Palais, actually three structures linked by six flat discs, as a “habitable sculpture” and said it was his dream.
While many in Venice have welcomed Mr. Cardin’s ambitions, the project has alarmed conservationists and stirred a spirited debate about the prospects of a treasured and once-powerful city that is threatened by a declining population, mass tourism and rising sea levels.”