Grove Park Inn at Christmas

Our Annual Christmas Visit to the Grove Park Inn to see the Gingerbread Houses

It just does not feel like Christmas until we take the kids to the Omni Grove Park Inn to see the Gingerbread House displays. This year was The 26th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition™ held at the Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. 

The Gingerbread houses are made 100 percent of edible ingredients although I’m sure they are much nicer to gaze upon than to taste. That does not stop my two kids and probably most children from begging to pluck a candy or two off the delicately arranged masterpieces. The houses are partially blocked by rudimentary fencing or stanchions but does not stop little hands from  reaching through. If you’re like me, you will exclaim more than once “Don’t you dare touch that!” I think once I had to also add “No! Don’t lick it either.”


Asheville Historic Grove Park Inn Christmas Visit
Grove Park Inn at Christmas Gingerbread Owl display
Christmas at the Grove Park Inn Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses (The Gingers)

Grove Park Inn Christmas Gingerbread Elf Cottage

As usual, our 2-year-old checked out 15 minutes into the visit and we took turns chasing her around the public spaces of the hotel. The whole way to The Grove Park Inn she repeatedly exclaimed excitedly “Me see Gingers!” Apparently after seeing only one hallway “the Gingers” were not as exciting as once hoped. Our 7-year-old, however, was really interested in the magic of it all. She loves arts and crafts so now she is very interested in entering the competition next year. It has yet to be fully decided upon if her parents are ready to take on that task. We may just stick with one of these kits that we typically let the girls build.

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There are of course entries from all over the country and in every age group from Kindergarten to adults. It is amazing to see all the incredible entries and all the hard work that goes into each entry. I struggle to carry our girl’s gingerbread kit from the table to the counter. I can not imagine what some of these families do to cross the country with these edible masterpieces. 

Themed Christmas Trees and Gingerbread houses line the halls of the Grove Park Inn

Historic Grove Park Inn Christmas

The Grove Park Inn first opened in 1913 so the hotel itself is truly a treat to visit. However, when it is fully decorated for Christmas magnificent Gingerbread creations line the grand halls of this Asheville, North Carolina Landmark Hotel. It is truly stunning to visit the Grove Park Inn at Christmas. Creatively themed Christmas trees sprinkled in among the candy-adorned displays really put you in the holiday spirit. We love sitting by the two massive fireplaces and sipping hot cocoa. There is also a beautiful sleigh and reindeer outside on the patio for pictures. That is a great spot on a clear day to photograph Downtown Asheville in the distance.

National Gingerbread House Competition™

You will want to check out the Omni Grove Park Inn website before planning your trip to view the Gingerbread houses. There are only certain days and times in which the displays are open to the public. This is the excerpt directly from the Omni Grove Park Inn website for 2021’s viewing schedule.

“The Omni Grove Park Inn invites guests not staying at the resort to view the display after 3:00 p.m. on Sundays. Anytime Monday through Thursday, based on parking availability and excluding holidays (December 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, and January 1, 2022). Please note that only Registered Resort Pets will be permitted. No outside pets will be allowed.”

We have noticed it follow a similar schedule for several years now. Just to be certain check the website before making plans. Also, important to note there is a $20.00 minimum parking charge per vehicle and I believe that is the same if you park for 1 hour or the whole day. So when you pay to park up plan a nice long stay. They have a great cafe for lunch with sandwiches, pizza, or salad. They also have coffee, desserts, and snacks. There are several gift shops and boutiques. It’s pretty easy to spend 3-4 hours there.

For more about family travel check out these posts:
Fun Things To Do In Asheville with Kids: A Quick Guide
Snow Tubing Asheville Area and WNC with Kids
Outer Banks with Kids: Most Popular Things To Do

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