Known as the largest privately-owned estate in the U.S., The Biltmore House (and its gardens) is a renowned architectural feat and has become a popular tourist attraction in North Carolina.
The grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Vanderbilt travelled to Asheville, N.C., with his mother for a short visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains. He fell in love with its charm and realized it was the ideal location for his perfect country home. The following year, construction began on the French Renaissance-styled home, and after six years it was complete. The Victorian chateau boasts 250 rooms including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.
Throughout the years, the house has played a pivotal role during hard times for the country. In 1930 the home was first opened to the public. This was in hopes the estate would increase tourism and revenue during the Depression. Then, the house became a safe haven for priceless pieces of artwork from the National Gallery of Art during World War II.
When visiting today, you can select from guided tours or go out on your own with a self-guided or audio-guided tour. Guided tours include the Rooftop Tour, the Premium Biltmore Tour, and the Legacy of the Land Tour where you can ride in a motor coach around the gardens and the grounds. You can make a day out of it by biking, hiking, and horseback-riding too.
If you’re looking for the most opulent experience, stay on site. You can select from the Cottage (previously the quarters for Biltmore’s market gardener), the Inn that offers mountain views and refined cuisine or the newest of the accommodations, Antler Hill Village, which is only a few steps from the winery. There are restaurants located in all, and all are delicious.
In 1971 William Cecil (George’s brother) hired French winemaster Philippe Jourdain to aid in his vineyard venture and to refine the Biltmore wine. Now, you can take vineyard and winery tours and taste their award-winning and hand-crafted wines. The Red Wine and Chocolate Seminar and the Biltmore Bubbles Tour are two of the best choices.
The Vanderbilts have truly created a unique and serene place around the mountains in North Carolina. It offers history, entertainment, and beauty, which is why it has been a lasting tourist destination for so many years.
Info courtesy of Biltmore.