My husband Bill and I just spent three glorious nights celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is a great town with plenty to do and see and we were just in time for the 18th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition and Exhibit at the Grove Park Inn and Resort. Bill and I aren’t necessarily gingerbread house aficionados, but we do enjoy artistry and creativity, especially when it’s combined with culinary pursuits.
Our hosts at the Beaufort House, a beautiful Victorian Inn in Asheville, recommended that we check out the gingerbread exhibit to see the impressive results of the exhibitors’ hard work, patience, and creativity. The entries were judged on November 15th, 2010 and exhibits were opened to the public on November 17th. The grand prize winner received a $3,000 cash prize and a two night Club Floor stay at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, complete with dinner for two and breakfast daily at the hotel. All participants receive a personalized certificate. This competition has been going on at the Grove Park Inn since 1993 and attracts hundreds of participants from all over the country.
After finding the Grove Park Inn and Resort, Bill and I parked our car and headed for the hotel’s impressive lobby. We were not aware that the lobby of the resort is actually on the tenth floor of the hotel, so we just started walking around the arcade area until we found the first gingerbread exhibit. We should have started our tour on the seventh floor, which is where hundreds of creatively decorated exhibits that didn’t place were located. We actually saw the exhibit in reverse, seeing some of the prize winners before we saw those that didn’t win. That wouldn’t have happened had we gotten a copy of the map of the exhibit before we started looking.
Bill and I were very impressed by some of the concepts on display. We saw gingerbread creations depicting everything from Noah’s Ark, to London’s Globe Theater, to beach scenes, to Russian nesting dolls. Also on display were some very creatively decorated Christmas trees. The trees were strategically placed near the gingerbread exhibits and were trimmed with themes ranging from food and wine to girly pink feathers. I think the most popular tree was one done in a peacock theme. I noticed that it attracted a lot of attention from exhibit-goers, who stopped to take pictures of the striking Christmas tree topped with a peacock! Looking at all that gingerbread really got me in the holiday spirit, too.
Some practical information
This is a great activity for families with kids. I also noticed that it was popular with elderly ladies, many of whom were marveling out loud at the beautifully decorated creations. Bear in mind that groups of over fifteen people who want to visit the National Gingerbread House Competition exhibit will need to make arrangements with the inn. Details about group visit requirements are available on the Grove Park Inn’s official Web site.
The exhibits will remain on display until January 2, 2011 and individual members of the community can see the exhibits free of charge Mondays through Thursdays from 10:00am until 10:00pm. Resort guests can see the exhibits at any time during their stay. Hour long guided tours are offered Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00am until 3:00pm. Tickets for the guided tours are $10 per adult and $5 for children under 12. If you want to try your hand at creating a gingerbread house, you can also take a workshop with Grove Park Inn chefs. The workshops are offered Wednesday through Saturday at 10:30am and 1:30pm and cost $10 per participant.
After you’re finished looking at the gingerbread creations, you can stop for lunch at one of Grove Park Inn’s restaurants or go shopping. The Inn has several eating establishments and shopping venues.
Location and phone number
290 Macon Avenue
Asheville, NC 28806
1-800-438-0050, Ext. #8045