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The Beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina

Updated on September 15, 2016
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The Biltmore Estate

When my mother and step-father moved to the Asheville area, one of the most frequently asked questions people inquired about was "How close are you to The Biltmore?". Though I had heard about it and seen it multiple times in movies and television shows, I honestly had no idea you were able to visit the grounds.

On my last trip to see my parents, I made sure that a visit to The Biltmore was on our itinerary. It was well worth the wait. My mother and I took a tour through the main house, a brief stroll through the gardens (it was pouring rain) and then spent time exploring the winery and stables.

Brief History

The Biltmore House was built between 1889 and 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt II a "little mountain escape" for his family. As the largest privately-owned home in the United States, the main house has 250 unique rooms including 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms. Also located in its 178,926 square feet is a basement that includes a 70,000 gallon swimming pool, exercise room and gymnasium, private bowling alley and servant's quarters and several kitchens.

The estate also included The Biltmore Village and a Episcopal church for members of the community. Today the church is known as the Cathedral of All Souls.

Architecture & Gargoyles

Architect Richard Morris Hunt's inspiration for the Châteausque design were Renaissance style homes built in 16th Century France. The pointed towers and unique shapes on the outside of the building are not alone. Scattered amongst the shapely designs are stone gargoyles and sculptures that hang all around the exterior of the home. Each one seems to have their own personality.

For those of you who would like to get up close and personal with Biltmore's stone occupants, there is an incredible experience available called the Biltmore House Architect's Tour. During the 60-minute guided tour you are granted access to the rooftops and balconies while getting a closer look at the homes architecture. Be sure to bring sunscreen if you are going during the steamy summer months. And most importantly - don't forget your camera!

Architectural Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Click thumbnail to view full-size
The weather was terrible once we got the the gardens, so we stayed in the car and took pictures as we drove by.Garden located near the back of the main house.View from rear terrace.
The weather was terrible once we got the the gardens, so we stayed in the car and took pictures as we drove by.
The weather was terrible once we got the the gardens, so we stayed in the car and took pictures as we drove by.
Garden located near the back of the main house.
Garden located near the back of the main house.
View from rear terrace.
View from rear terrace.

Grounds & Gardens

Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture, designed the breathtaking grounds covering the 125,000 acre estate. The Biltmore's gardens and surrounding forests offer a variety of lush trees and flowers from all around the world. From the Italian Garden to the renowned All America Rose Garden featuring 250 varieties of the flower, there is something for everyone. The horticultural experts caring for the grounds take special care to ensure the quality and health of the plants while preserving the original vision of the estate.

A roundtrip of 22-miles of hiking trails are available for you to explore at your own pace aside along with taking a leisurely stroll through the different gardens located on the grounds.

Fun for the Entire Family!

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Entrance to the winery.1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six”Kitchen GardenBaby goats!
Entrance to the winery.
Entrance to the winery.
1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six”
1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six”
Kitchen Garden
Kitchen Garden
Baby goats!
Baby goats!

Antler Hill Village & Winery

Who wouldn't enjoy a delicious wine tasting after touring the grounds? Antler Hill Village is the place to wine & dine after visiting the main house and gardens. There are two restaurants, a creamery & smokehouse, a variety of shops and offer outdoor activities such as horseback riding, carriage rides, guided Segway tours and biking. At the farm and historic barn you can meet family-friendly animals, take part in craft demonstrations and stroll through the Kitchen Garden which is where the vegetables and herbs used by the estates restaurants are grown.

The winery is a MUST during your visit to the Biltmore Estate. During a guided tour, guests get to learn about the science and techniques of wine-making while exploring the cellars. Also while on the tour you get a rare peak at a 1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six". The seven passenger vehicle belonged to George Vanderbilt and is believed to be on of only 10 still existing in the world.

At the end of the tour, your guide leads you into the tasting room where you are able to sit with a wine hosts and enjoy a complimentary tasting of the Biltmore's "robust reds, refreshing rosés, and crisp whites". The best part - the winery tour and tasting are included in your general estate admission!

Beautiful Despite the Rain

Look Familiar?

Here's a short list of movies that have featured the Biltmore:

"The Clearing" (2004)

"Hannibal" (2001)

"Patch Adams" (1998)

"Richie Rich" (1994)

"Forrest Gump" (1994)

"The Last of the Mohicans" (1992)

Bucket List: Christmas at the Biltmore

If you have had the pleasure of visiting the Biltmore Estate during the Spring & Summer, then you know just how wonderful of an experience it can be. During my visit, I was told by several employees and other visitors that the best time to visit the grounds was Christmas time. When I returned home I immediately searched the Internet for proof - and quickly found it.

The decorations look stunning and along with the cooler, crisp weather it would most certainly give this Florida girl a true Christmas experience like no other, taking the term "MUST see" to a whole other level.

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    • StThomasBoatRent profile image

      StThomasBoatRent 3 years ago from St. Thomas, USVI

      It does look familiar, props for the list of the movies that featured such a fine estate.

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