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Christmas trip to Biltmore on tap

Fraser fir trees, dripping in gold tinsel, green and red velvet ribbons, soar 35 feet to the ceilings of America’s castle or a conservatory filled with rare poinsettias in shades of pink, marble, burgundy and orange. That is just a sampling of what Christmas at the Biltmore is all about.

And this December area residents can get the chance to savor the holidays at what was once the home of one of the country’s richest families, the Vanderbilts, when Ironton In Bloom offers a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina.

“We felt Christmas is such a beautiful time at the Biltmore with thosegorgeous trees and poinsettias,” Carol Allen of Ironton In Bloom said. “With all the Christmas decorations, we thought there might be those who would like to travel there by bus.”

The trip will start the morning of Saturday, Dec. 5, with a stop for lunch and arrive that evening at Asheville. Following an early Sunday morning breakfast, travelers will take a three-hour tour of the Biltmore with headphones where they can go at their own pace. Then there will be a brunch at the historic Deerpark restaurant on the estate noted for its Southern and Low Country award-winning cuisine.

The cost of the trip is $310 if a $50 deposit is made by June 1. After that the trip will cost $325.

The trip is just one of a full calendar of events IIB is offering starting in April, many of them having become traditions of the volunteer organization.

This year IIB is going to take over decorating Etna Street Park as well as adding more flowers at the restored Ro-Na Theater in downtown Ironton.

“We are going to add 15 more containers,” Allen said.

That, plus having to get new vendors to handle maintenance, has pushed IIB’s 2015 budget up approximately $5,000 to $46,570. Of that the water contract is estimated to cost $36,026 with the flower-purchasing contract at approximately $9,500. Other miscellaneous expenses including signs, pamphlets and postage are at $950.

However, income is estimated to come in at $38,428 or more than $8,000 short.

Sponsors of the business planters should bring in $25,000; public donations at $8,500; the backyard tour at $1,180, Gus Macker hot dog sale at $950; bulb sale at $380 and donations during the summer farmers market events at $418.

“We hope people will keep supporting us at the farmers market,” Allen said.

“We hope to get more donations. We hope to make some money on our trip. We made $800 on our trip to Lexington. We are just going to continue working and be out there.”