The Biltmore Estate
This 8,000 acre estate officially opened in 1895. A vision of George Vanderbilt, he took his inheritance from his father’s railroad and steamboat monopoly and invested in 125,000 acres of land in Asheville, NC. The Vanderbilts enjoyed this view designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead from one of their balconies. You can learn more about the history of Biltmore here
This 250 rooms and 43 bathrooms estate, is a must see during your visit to Asheville, North Carolina.
During a day here, we took advantage of two tours: 1) the very busy self-guided audio tour and ‘upstairs and downstairs’ guided tour of the beyond the scenes. Both are well worth it. Learn more about tour options for the Biltmore Estate
Winter Garden-A Delight
After completing the required security screening and checks of one’s tickets, you enter the main house through the two massive doors that are said to weigh some 800 lbs each. Then, one is greeted by the winter garden with its wonderful statue of Karl Bitter’s ‘Boy Stealing the Geese.” The garden is all decorated for the Christmas season very tastefully.
My favorite room of the house is the Banquet Hall which features a seven-story-high ceiling. During the Christmas holiday, you will find a gorgeous decorated tree that a wonder to behold. Also, the triple fireplace is quite interesting.
Tapestries and Fireplaces
As you continue your journey through the estate, one will note the many historic and often ‘one of kind’ tapestries hanging in rooms. In addition, many rooms have themed fireplaces.
As you continue to work through the estate, each room as its own theme. The library is no different. The ceiling in the image below is amazing and reminds me of something from a scene in Italy. Above the fireplace, the tapestry adds to the atmosphere of this relaxing room. This room is a reflection of George Vanderbilt’s love for books. There are thousands of books to choose from here.
Taking the main stairs to the basement leads you to a long corridor with granite on each side. The self-guide audio tour states that we are now 29 ft below ground. The sad undecorated pine tree at the end stands out a little.
In the lower level of the estate, you are guided to something that most homes will only dream to include as part of the footprint. First, there is a bowling alley and next, a 70,000 gallon heated indoor pool. Mr. Vanderbilt also made sure to have plenty of private changing rooms for his guests.
More to come….
Every room is full of detail from floor to ceiling. There are hidden doors to avoid disruption in the decor. The photos below show a restored mantel, a seating area, and a portrait of Fredrick Law Olmstead in the Third Floor Living Hall. Finally, a photo of the impressive 50 feet tall, iron chandelier weighing at some 1,700 pounds hangs from four stories in the main staircase.