Did you decorate your house — inside and out — to the nines? Are those silly elves still on the shelf or hanging from the ceiling? Don’t forget to put them away. They are kind of scary.
If you lived in the Biltmore Mansion near Asheville, you probably would be spending the next two weeks or so dismantling all the Christmas finery. Biltmore is the largest privately owned home in America. It is 135,000 square feet and, during the holidays, welcomes more than 300,000 visitors to see all of the decorations.
The staff at Biltmore begins the arduous task of decorating in October. There are 600 boxes of lights and ornaments stored away. There are 6,700 strings of lights containing 335,000 bulbs that must be strung around the property and everything must be ready for visitors by the first weekend in November. There are 44 Christmas trees on the grounds, a 55-foot tall spruce tree and inside a whopping total of 62 trees to be adorned.
The Christmas lights used in the displays are being slowly replaced with LED bulbs instead of the old-fashioned, large bulbs. It is estimated that the cost of lighting the trees using C7 or C9 bulbs can run as high as $300,000 for the season. Sometimes when all of the lights are turned on, a few fuses can blow out and that is not a good thing. Thank goodness for the LED lights because if you have ever been to the Biltmore House at Christmas you know what a wonderful treat it is.
Thank you also to all Blufftonians who take the time to light up our Bluffton holiday nights because we would have a rather “blue” Christmas without you.
▪ After decades of searching the Beaufort area for Santa Elena and Fort San Marcos, the fort has been found on Parris Island. The fort was a very important 16th century compound that protected the Spanish settlers from Native American Indians. The remains of the fort were found by using radar and something called magnetometers. This is a very significant archaeological find for South Carolina history. Chester DePratter and Victor Thompson, two scientists who have been working on the project since 2014, are asking for the public’s help. The two gentlemen are working on a display that will show how the fort was built and how it looked at the time. Donations in various amounts are needed for the project estimated to cost around $15,000. Donations over $100 entitle the giver’s name to be placed in a drawing Jan. 31 for a two-night stay at the Montage Resort at beautiful Palmetto Bluff. To learn more about Santa Elena and Fort San Marco go to santa-elena.org/santa-elena-history-center or call 843-379-1550.
▪ We have had visits with family from New York and Europe. We had lots of fun, wined and dined with friends and are now settling in for a long snooze. I am also going to start reading all of the books I got as gifts and that will keep me occupied for a while. It will take a while to settle down after the holiday whirlwind or maybe there will be more fun soon on the horizon.
Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street or at firstname.lastname@example.org.