What Do You Mean You Haven’t Been to Biltmore Estate Yet?

Hard to believe I’ve lived in Western North Carolina for 15 years now, and had never visited the world famous Biltmore Estate. My brother managed to score a couple of gift passes, so we decided it must be about time to go after all these years. Now I might actually spring for the price of admission just to go back some day.

Built by George Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt railroad and shipping fortune, this majestic 250 room French chateau style architecture was completed in 1895. It was a family home for George, his wife Edith, and their daughter Cornelia. Following George’s untimely death, Edith remarried, and John Cecil joined Edith at Biltmore in 1924. Beginning in 1930, the Cecil’s opened Biltmore House to the public, as it has remained ever since. The fifth generation descendants are still involved in day-to-day operations, and employ more than 2,000 from the WNC area.

The original estate spanned more than 125,000 acres in the mountains surrounding Asheville. Edith donated a major piece of that landholding for what would eventually become Pisgah National Forest, an adventurer’s haven that we locals thoroughly enjoy. Nevertheless, the estate is still sprawling, with seasonal gardens and greenhouses, massive meadows overlooking the French Broad River Valley, a world renowned winery with lodge and hotel, and large acreage for crops to supply the estate.

And then there’s the house. More than 175,000 square feet, with 40 bathrooms, this treasure was thoroughly planned by George and his architect Richard Hunt. The grounds are also truly remarkable with the landscaping done by Frederick Olmstead, who also designed Central Park on Manhattan in New York City.

Dave and I visited on March 9, 2020 and spent approximately five hours in the house and on the grounds. We barely began to scratch the surface of all the things that are available to do at Biltmore Estate. There are nearly 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, for example. We were seasonally too early for the incredible floral display, a must see, but did manage to catch some of the early bloomers.

I have created a series of photo galleries below to share my experiences at the estate. The first contains images from the ground floor of the house. Following that is another gallery of points of interest from the upper level floors. Be sure to scroll down for the 2nd gallery after viewing the first. Finally, the third gallery contains pictures of the surprises found in the basement levels of this magnificent home.

When you’re done, here is the link to my second report with photos of the gardens and Conservatory. Please feel free to leave any comments below the photo galleries. Thanks for visiting!

 

The Entry Level

Highlights include the atrium, the grand banquet room as well as other dining areas, the music room (one of George’s favorites), multiple libraries (George also loved books), and places to relax as well, like billiards.

 

 

The Upper Floors

The master bedrooms are on the second floor, and guest quarters on the third. There are a number of sitting areas for mingling among the guests and entertaining.

 

 

The Basement

The kitchens and laundry can be found in the basement, as well as the food stocks. The number of pantries would fill an apartment complex. There’s room for play too with bowling, and the world’s first lighted pool.

 

 

This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.

 

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