William Shakespeare got it right when he wrote,
“And I had but one penny in the world, thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.”
You’ll find plenty of this spicy holiday favorite during The Omni Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread House Competition, celebrating more than 20 years of decorative sugar castles and holiday cookie creativity.
Beginning in mid-November and continuing through December, The Omni Grove Park Inn and Asheville are the nation’s gingerbread capitol as contestants, pastry chefs and famous food star judges cross the country to celebrate the intricate edible creations.
From the whimsical to the elaborate, there are gingerbread houses of every size, shape, complexity and theme. You’ll find quaint rustic cabins, gumdrop-adorned castles and sugar spun landscapes to inspire your own gingerbread traditions.
Gingerbread was used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians for ceremonial purposes.
Gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 by an Armenian monk, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that it was readily available.
Gingerbread is a favorite food in many cultures, with variations appearing in Brazilian, Middle Eastern, European, Russian and American cooking.
Gingerbread comes in many forms ranging from a light spice cake to dense bread. The harder German-style gingerbread is most commonly used to make gingerbread houses.
The Omni Grove Park Inn is spectacular any time of the year, but it is during the holiday season that the hotel and its Great Hall come alive with the smells of evergreen, sugar and spice.
You’ll find no shortage of holiday spirit, music or decorations at The Omni Grove Park Inn. The Great Hall’s enormous wreath-adorned stone fire places—large enough accommodate massive 12-foot logs—crackle and glow with welcomed warmth. Throughout the Inn there are dozens of decorated trees; the largest resides in the Great Hall. And the lobby rings with the sounds of Christmas.
If only the thick boulder-rock walls of The Omni Grove Park Inn could talk. What stories they would tell about the captains of industry, politicians, prize-winning authors, artists, and sports legends who have walked through its massive oak doors.
In the 21st century, the Inn stands as a prime example of the Arts and Crafts movement in American and to one man’s contribution to the “Golden Age of Asheville.” Just as in 1913, when the Inn officially opened, today’s visitors are drawn to its expansive exterior and breathtaking location, overlooking Asheville and the ancient mountains that surround this vibrant southern city.
From its Arts and Crafts Roycroft furniture and accessories to displays of antique china and caricatures of its many famous guests, The Omni Grove Park Inn is overflowing with history.
JUDGING: Judges will award the winners of The 21st Annual National Gingerbread House Competition on November 18, and guests will be able to view an array of awe-inspiring entries on display from November 20-January 2.
PARKING FEE / ADMISSION INFO: Visitors to the hotel are welcome to view the competition free of charge, though parking at the resort for day visitors begins at $10 per car. However, in the holiday spirit, half of each parking charge collected will be donated to one of six local not-for-profits.
TIMING: There is no admission charge to view the National Gingerbread House competition entries. While hotel or restaurant guests may view the display at any time, they ask others to see the entries on Sundays-Thursdays, 9 AM until 9 PM.
ADDITIONAL VIEWING: Contest entries will also be on display at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville and at the Asheville Visitors Center.
The Inn regularly offers special packages during the holidays. To learn more, click here.