Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - 29
Bakers from near and far put their own spin on gingerbread houses with intricate entries in the National Gingerbread House competition at Asheville's Omni
Grove Park Inn.
majority of toys and other gifts from
merchants in the Asheville area.
The archives reveal information from Anna Wheeler, the wife
of the estate veterinarian and a
close friend of Mrs. Vanderbilt, that
showcase Edith's generosity and
compassion for others. Wheeler
said, "Mrs. Vanderbilt kept a book
in which the individual presents
were recorded yearly; her idea was
to avoid duplication, but it served
another purpose in assisting [her] in
the better knowledge of each family.
It was just another example of her
predominate kindness and her executive ability. Mrs. Vanderbilt did the
buying, and labeling and wrapping
of all those many gifts."
A sampling of other historic
homes decorated for the holidays:
* 45th Annual Holiday House
Tour in Staunton, Virginia. December 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. and
December 10 from 1 to 5 p.m (historicstaunton.org/hsf-events/hol-
iday-house-tour). This year's tour
features homes in the historic Oakenwold neighborhood.
* The Tate House in north Georgia offers Christmas open house
tours November 27 - December 21.
Choose between mansion tour only,
bistro lunch tour or dinner music
tour. Check their website for specific dates/times: (tatehouse.com/
christmas-tour-reservations). It was
built in 1926 as the private home
of Colonel Sam Tate, a land baron,
philanthropist and business tycoon.
Bill Russ / VisitNC.Com
Selecting a yearly ornament has become a fun tradition for many families.
Each year, culinary designers across
our region travel to the Omni
Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North
Carolina with precious cargo-
creative gingerbread houses vying
for a top spot in the National
Gingerbread Competition, now
in its 25th year. Some bakers have
a tradition of entering yearly; for
other families the tradition focuses
on visiting the hotel and admiring
all of the gingerbread houses
entered in the contest. They'll be on
display from November 26 through
January 4, 2018 (bit.ly/2cZvKjv).
For those not staying at the Grove
Park Inn, a $20 parking fee helps
spread the holiday joy as half of the
parking proceeds are distributed to
not-for-profit organizations in the
Area breweries create holidaythemed concoctions to tempt the
tastebuds. Highland Brewing's Cold
Mountain beer (bit.ly/2wuCmUd)
has an almost cult-like following.
Asheville Brewing Company has also
won fans with its annual Ninjabread
Man Spiced Holiday Porter that's
crafted from fresh vanilla beans,
toasted cinnamon sticks, raisins,
molasses and caramelized ginger.
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