If you ever find yourself anywhere remotely close to Asheville, North Carolina the Biltmore Estate is the first place to checkout. The estate was built in 1889-95 by George Vanderbilt II and is the largest privately owned home in the United States.
The home, still owned by the Vanderbilt family, has been open to public to tourists since 1930. After purchasing a ticket for $60 you are able to walk through the home, walk the gardens, and explore the free wine tasting at the winery. Walking through the home you see rooms such as the two story library, a bowling alley, exercise rooms, kitchen, 42 bathroom, and bedrooms that were once occupied by Vanderbilt’s and their guests.
It is hard to imagine that at one time only 35 employees and a family of three occupied the house. Now the estate averages a little over a million tourist a year. The Biltmore was built in a time when electricity was a luxury yet the mansion features 70,000 gallon indoor swimming pool (with underwater lighting), an elevator, centrally-controlled clocks, intercom systems, and fire alarms. George Vanderbilt was known as the best read man in America which can be seen through his library which features books in 7 languages. George Vanderbilt was proud of his estate and commonly had visitors. Some of Vanderbilt’s most notable guests include presidents McKinley, Wilson and Nixon.
As I walked the 250 room palace I had to take a step back to take in every little detail. I strongly encourage everyone that goes to the estate to spend the extra $10 on the audio tour. I honestly felt bad for the people who didn’t have the headphones. You miss out on the whole history of the family and the background behind every aspect of the house. If the $60 dollars admission is holding you back go over to Cosco where you can purchase tickets for 20% off. I’m not going to pretend I am a botanist but I can definitely say that walking through the gardens impressed me a lot. I ate at the cafe which had a 30 minute wait. The food was taxed but was good. Whether you are wine drinker or not you must checkout the winery which was originally a dairy farm. All in all I think everyone should checkout the Biltmore Estate at least one time. Allow at least 4 hours to actually go through the whole place but I recommend taking your time and making a day of it.
Go to Cosco before going and you can buy your tickets for 20% off.
Buy $10 audio guide