White Gate Inn and Cottage Entrance
Credit: WhiteGate Inn/Jumping Rocks

Staying at the 1889 WhiteGate Inn & Cottage with its lush gardens and private carriage house is always a treat, but come Christmas, it's a winter wonderland. Not only is the historic inn in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina, the perfect place to spend a romantic weekend (it's frequently voted as one of the most romantic inns), but it's also an ideal holiday getaway where someone else will trim the tree and clean up so you can enjoy an egg nog or two (or three, it is Christmas after all).

The 1889 WhiteGate Inn & Cottage boasts 11 cozy rooms all named after poets (the Elizabeth Barrett Browning suite is a particular favorite). To accentuate the holiday cheer, some rooms come with fireplaces while others have private kitchens for whipping up snacks for Santa, and others have separate entrances to make you feel like you're in your own private winter cabin. The inn also serves three-course breakfasts—frequently including dessert!—to ensure their guests are properly fed to ward off winter chills.

The Inn goes all out with the Christmas decorations, filling the parlor, solarium, and living rooms with comfort, joy, and Christmas spirit. In the past they even had Christmas trees in every single room! Even better, the WhiteGate Inn allows you to bring your dogs. While you do have to pay a small fee to book one of their pet-friendly rooms, it just wouldn't be Christmas without the family pets on hand to help clean up the cookie crumbs and tromp through the wrapping paper.

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If the weather's not too frightful, wander through the WhiteGate Inn's renowned gardens, which are home to 14 varieties of Japanese maples and over 200 different varieties of perennials, hostas, roses, and herbs. If the weather would make Frosty head indoors to warm up, visitors can drop by the inn's greenhouse, which houses an impressive collection of over 350 orchids and tropical plants.

Spend the winter days playing checkers or backgammon in the living room or curling up with a god book on a comfy sofa by the original fireplace that warms the parlor. If you're lucky, someone will be playing Christmas carols on the 1904 baby grand piano.

While you'll be forgiven for wanting to stay inside the WhiteGate's cozy confines, if you do venture out, Asheville has plenty of holiday activities to keep you well entertained.

The Biltmore estate will open its doors for both daytime tours and Candlelight Christmas Evenings with choir performances, sparkling decorations, and many many Christmas trees. Spend Christmas Eve admiring the glow of the North Carolina Arboretum's Winter Lights festival, or hop in the car to visit nearby towns that transform into winter wonderlands during the holiday season. There's Rutherfordton home to North Carolina's largest living Christmas tree, Brevard which boasts the Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum, or see the million lights that light up Forest City.