We celebrated Christmas differently this year. And it was wonderful!
Like last year, I headed to Nashville and saw a number of friends. First, I stopped in Clarksville, Tennessee on the way to see some dear Miami friends (who’ve also spent time with my mom since moving to the area). I haven’t seen them in four or five years, so this was a treat! They made us a delicious dinner, and it was fun to catch up!
Since I was only in Nashville briefly, I thought that hosting a luncheon would be the easiest way to see several people at once. About a dozen ladies came, which was so fun! Some of these were friends from when I lived in Nashville more than a decade ago, while others have become friends through my mom. They are all so very wonderful!
My mom made some of our Christmas Eve favorites, since we would be traveling on Christmas Eve. And of course, there was a Happy Birthday Jesus! cake…one of our Christmas traditions. Some Cailler chocolates arrived from Switzerland the week before, which was such a fun surprise! Nestlé gave me the option to order them for gifts back in the summer, and I completely forgot!
After these quick celebrations, my mama and I headed to Asheville, North Carolina for four days to celebrate Christmas. We visited the Biltmore while it was decorated for Christmas, stayed at the Omni Grove Park Inn, and enjoyed some delicious food and relaxing spa time.
If you haven’t been to the Biltmore, I highly recommend it. The house is just stunning!
We went to visit at night for the Christmas Candlelight tour, where live music is playing throughout the house, and all of the fireplaces are lit. Then, we went back during the day to do the audio guide. We actually enjoyed the evening visit most. The house is so much cozier with the fires roaring.
A couple of friends gave me several restaurant recommendations around Asheville. We tried several of them…
[The Bull and Beggar – this restaurant is very European and oh-so-delicious!]
[Biscuit Head – the biscuits were ENORMOUS and so yummy!]
Christmas Day was spent in the Spa at Grove Park Inn. We literally spent 8-9 hours in the spa (most of which was me curled up in a chair with a blanket in front of the fireplace reading a book). For Christmas Dinner, we ate at Vue 1913, which was delicious.
The Grove Park Inn hosts the National Gingerbread House Competition. This was the 25th Anniversary. The entries are showcased all over the hotel, and there are dozens and dozens of them! I refrained from photographing all of them and only captured the grand prize winner and a couple of my favorites.
The hotel even builds a life-size 10’x10′ gingerbread house in the lobby where they serve drinks! They posted the list of ingredients used for the house, and the amounts are wild:
- Egg whites: 50 lbs
- Powdered sugar: 440 lbs
- Red fondant: 220 lbs
- Bread flour: 400 lbs
- Milk: 20 lbs
- …to name a few
My mama was SO excited to get a hot chocolate on Christmas (which of course was $9.63!! – ha!).
They call their lobby the Great Hall, and it is really amazing – high ceilings, two HUGE fireplaces surrounded by rocking chairs, and a huge Christmas tree.
It was fun to celebrate differently this year – especially since it involved being somewhere so magical and relaxing!