This week (December 2018) we visited The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. There was a foot of fresh snow covering everything and it was beautiful. Biltmore was very thorough to clear and salt the estate roads. It was very safe but quite the site to see the grounds blanketed with beautiful white snow. It was particularly unusual to see the massive bamboo forests bent over with the tops touching the ground under the weight of the snow. We wondered if it was the right decision to take the Kids to The Biltmore Estate. 

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is fun for the kids.

Gift Shopping

First, we visited the shops in the stable right by the Biltmore House entrance. The Carriage House Shop had lots of tasty dips, salad dressings, Biltmore Wines, and juice available for sampling throughout. With a mix of Biltmore souvenirs, Christmas decorations, jewelry, and clothing it was a nice place to gather up a few gifts. Travel Tip: The powdered dips are super light and small for packing. They are a great souvenir or holiday gifts to take home. We also checked out the Toymaker’s shop. The Confectionery tested my willpower. A Christmas Past, and the Bookbinder’s shop were both neat as well. Then we grabbed an early lunch at the Stable Café in order to beat the rush and to fuel the kids for a few hours in the house.

Tour of the Biltmore House

We queued up in a short line to enter the Biltmore House and it moved rather quickly. Once in it is a self-guided tour so you can move as quickly or as slowly as you need to take it all in. The house was stunning with all the Christmas Décor. You could tell there was so much work that went into the decorations and such attention to detail. The kids loved some of the trees and how fancy they were. The attendants stationed in many of the areas are quite knowledgeable and are very willing to answer any questions they can.

Biltmore Secrets

Biltmore Estate Library hold magic secrets that intrigue the kids.

In the library the attendant engaged our kids by asking if they could pick out the Beauty and the Beast book. Of course, they could not but she showed them right where it was. She also let us know to look out for a staircase in the South Wing just outside of the gorgeous Louis XV Room. The staircase lead down to the balcony of the library just behind the tapestry. It was used to pop down into the library for an evening read or to take a book back to your room before bed.

Imaginations Run Wild

Our 7-year-old thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Toddlers/preschoolers would probably get restless rather quickly. She was enthralled in her imagination with what it would be like if she lived there. It was very sweet! The whole tour through the house is about 1.5 – 2 hours. This was a good length as there are no restrooms inside the house. Make sure everyone has been to the bathroom before starting the tour. 

Visit to the Winery

Biltmore Estate Winery is still fun for the kids.

It was so cold out and the grounds were all Winter Wonderland, so we decided to spend some time at Antler Village. We finished out our day at the Winery for wine tasting. We were a bit weary and did not know how that was going to work out with the kiddos. They offer some coloring sheets and coloring pencils with a cup of grape juice to finish off. I must say the littles were quite content while we tasted the wines. The only drawback was there was no hard surface where the kids could draw. Mine ended up laying on the concrete floor which was not ideal. Some clipboards or lap trays would be a perfect fix and more comfortable.

Fun for the Kids

BE Family fun at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC

All in all, it was a wonderful day out and you could easily spend several days visiting Biltmore if the weather were warmer. It was great fun and good exercise for the kids; and equally fun, informative and fascinating for the adults as well. If you’re considering a visit to Asheville, North Carolina, The Biltmore Estate should be high on the list of family activities. Don’t be afraid to take the kids to The Biltmore Estate. 


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Children's Safety on Vacation

We all look forward to our upcoming family vacation, the getaway where we will make lasting memories with our kids. Fill our social media with the joys of a well-deserved break from it all. Of course, as parents we know all too well with all that fun comes new and potential dangers that are not a normal part of our routines. Traveling brings new surroundings with different routines. Sometimes meeting new people that are not in our normal trust zone. A lot of times where we go is busy and we can easily be distracted with the new sights, sounds, and sometimes being focused on our GPS working out our next turn. All these factors together can make it hard to keep our children safe. We never want to dwell on all the bad or negative things that can happen. A bit of awareness and some thoughtful preparation can go a long ways toward a relaxing vacation with your kids.

5 easy steps to keep children safe while traveling:

  1. Picture Perfect

    First thing I always do is before we leave, and you can do this every morning of your trip before you head out, is to take a clear straight on photo with your phone of all your children in the clothes they are wearing that day. This way if… [sigh] if… something happens you will have a picture that’s worth a thousand words. Finding them quickly will help keep your children safe.

  2. Use a leash

    I know, I ‘m not a big fan of them either. In fact, we use the kind with a soft plush animal as a backpack and call it a love latch. They can truly be a lifesaver in a super busy airport, on a city street with cars zipping by, in a hectic marketplace or festival — really any place that you may get distracted and your speedy toddler may bolt, or curious child may be prone to wandering about. We save our Monkey Backpack with long tail for special occasions like I’ve described above so it does not become something bad but a special privilege to get to wear the monkey backpack. Check it out here. I don’t use it every time we go out, but has it EVER been a blessing in a few situations. The kids love it because it has a roomy pocket for their own special things, and they “get to give” the monkey a “piggyback ride”. Oh, the things we will do to keep our children safe. See it in action in our Instagram picture here.

  3. Wristband it

    Get a pack of the paper wristbands like you get at a carnival or fair. The ones that are hard to tear off and cut it down a bit smaller for a little wrist or ankle. Put it over long sleeves or pant legs so it’s easy to see. Normally they are neon colored so they stand out. Write your phone number on that bracelet, we don’t write our names just our cell phone number. That way when a helpful person sees your scared, lost, little toddler they can give you a quick ring on the phone. It’s not perfect but helps ease some of the anguish when you lose sight of them for a split second. I picked up a pack of the wristbands here and keep a few in my diaper bag for unforeseen times when they may be needed.

  1. Slip a Tile

    Another idea my husband has used to keep our children safe is to slip one of these little TILE Mate’s into her pocket. That way he can sound a little beeper or track her from his phone if heaven forbid, she really got far away. He will also pop TILE Mate’s into our girls’ carry-on bags or personal items in case they lay their bags down somewhere. I’m not so big on the tech stuff but Doug LOVES these things!

  2. Tricky People, Trick People

    Teach your kids about “Tricky people” and remind them often, especially before a trip. We learned as new parents about teaching your children about Stranger Danger, however after discovering the concept of “Tricky people” from Safely Ever After it totally makes a lot more since for our children. The main difference between the two is we don’t want our children to view all people they don’t know as a potential threat just because they are a stranger. Tricky People we explain is a person who asks you to disobey a rule that we have put in place. Or it could be an adult that you don’t know that asks you help them with something. We say, “adults you don’t know never should ask kids for help period”. These are a few but you can add your own, just keep it simple for a younger child.

Please let me know in the comments if you have thoughts, experiences, or ideas to expand on any of these tips. We love to learn and to always be updating our family safety practices that help keep our kids safe while travelling. Share this with any friends or family that might be travelling or just share in your social media world.

Until next time, let’s BE Family and BE Safe.


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