Entering the grounds of the Biltmore Estate is a time-traveling experience,
taking you back to the Gilded Age of America.
Born in 1862 in Staten Island, NY, George Vanderbilt visited Asheville, North Carolina in his early 20’s and his imagination ran wild with potential of the land’s beauty. In 1888, he begins to purchase the land that will become the Biltmore Estate and begin construction on the House in 1889. Based on French Renaissance chateaus, the Biltmore Estate is the largest residential architecture boasting 250 rooms and had a 6-year construction period. On Christmas Eve 1895, Vanderbilt opens his home to his loved ones, extravagantly decorated for the holidays, all 65 fireplaces lit with holiday cheer.
In 1898, Vanderbilt marries Edith Stuyvesant Dresser and their only child, Cornelia, is born at the Biltmore in 1900. At this time, construction begins on the Main Dairy and Horse Barn, which becomes a social hub for the families of the Biltmore workforce. George Vanderbilt passes away in 1914, leaving the estate to Edith. She continues his philanthropic legacy by selling 87,000 acres to the United States Forest Service to preserve the land.
Cornelia and Edith continue to govern the estate, and open it to the public during the Great Depression in 1930 to increase tourism to the Asheville area. The Biltmore acts as a safeguard during World War II, storing precious masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Cornelia’s sons establish more of the facilities the Biltmore is known for, such as the vineyard in 1971, and are dedicated to the preservation and sustainability of the Biltmore’s history. From there, they and their descendants create the Biltmore Estate Wine Company in 1983, open the Inn on the Biltmore Estate in 2001, and Antler Hill Village in 2010 to expand the entertainment and hospitality enterprises that the Biltmore is known for.
House Tours and Gardens
The Biltmore grounds are a rejuvenating experience, and boasting wonderful gardens and educational tours. You are welcome to wander at your leisure through the estate with a self-guided visit to the Biltmore House and the Gardens, taking in the original greenhouse and perusing the perfectly preserved original home furnishings and adornments. For an in depth look, the Biltmore offers staff guided tours of the home for an additional fee: the Rooftop Tour taking you to the highest peaks of the Biltmore House with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Through the Servant’s Eyes Tour giving you a glimpse at the world of the Biltmore workforce, and the Biltmore House Revealed Tour providing a look at the restoration process and restoration efforts. Each lead by a tour guide, lasting about an hour, your knowledge and wonder of the estate is sure to be expanded upon.
Restaurants, Winery and Shopping
With a facility so large, the Biltmore has made its own little community of restaurants and shops for guests. There are 15 different dining options for guests, offering a wide selection for every appetite and committed to a “Field to Table” experience. Enjoy a scoop at The Creamery on a hot summer day, grab lunch at the Smokehouse, or plan a romantic date night at The Dining Room. The Antler Hill Winery provides complimentary tastings for guests, in addition to two add on options. Indulge in the Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting, or get an in-depth view of the winery operations with the Behind the Scenes Winery Tour & Tasting. Need a souvenir to take home or gift to a loved one? Check out the Biltmore’s ample shopping options, with 7 varieties of stores including A Gardener’s Place for those with a green thumb, and Toymaker’s to delight the children. If you leave the Biltmore empty handed and regret your decision, they offer online shopping for all of their retail offerings.
Trails and Outdoor Activities
Visiting the Biltmore would be pointless without viewing the grandeur of the landscape that excited George Vanderbilt all those years ago. The Biltmore Estate’s 8,000 acre backyard is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with miles of hiking trails and several guided excursions. Spend an hour or two horse back riding through the grounds like the Vanderbilt family, or view a falconry exhibition firsthand. There are bike rentals, river floats, and even Land Rover rentals to explore the terrain surrounding the grand home. With so many outdoor options, the Biltmore offers a consolidated itinerary to make the most of your time. And while the Biltmore House is just for humans, the grounds are open for you and your pet to explore together!
A Trip to Remember
A visit to the Biltmore Estate is bound to be in your memory for a lifetime. With the exceptionally preserved home, ample and engaging activities, and plethora of areas to unwind, the legacy of the Biltmore can only be fully experienced in a multi-day visit. That’s why tickets sold through Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast and Vacation in Asheville Cabin Rentals include 2 days of estate entrance, and you’ll want to utilize every minute!