The Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina is a 250 room 175,000 square foot French Renaissance style mansion. The homestead was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It was originally on a massive 125,000 acres; however today it sits on about 8000 acres. The mansion itself remains privately owned by the Vanderbilt family and is still the largest privately owned home in the country.
Biltmore House was constructed upon the concept of the landed country chateaus of the French Loire valley. The estate was to be a self sufficient entity with its own village containing cattle farms, a hog ranch, dairy, forestry and vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. The mansion grounds today are still spectacular despite being greatly diminished. The property is sectioned in half by the French Broad River as it ribbons and meanders through the mountains and along the valley floors. The estate still boasts of the old dairy and presently has its own vineyards and winery. Inside of Biltmore House is one of its greatest attractions: an astounding 70,000 gallon indoor pool. The grand home site also contains within its walls a library, bowling alley, classic artwork, centrally controlled clocks, circa 1890 exercise equipment, central air and heating, intercom, elevator and sewer system all installed in the late 1800’s.
The grounds surrounding the Biltmore House are breathtaking, even in winter. This is evidenced in the 1979 movie “Being There” which uses the home and grounds as its backdrop. In spring, autumn, and summer it’s it even more amazing. The glorious countryside abounds with colors bursting from their 75 acre formal garden. The winey vineyard and dairy can also be visited. George W. Vanderbilt II’s little mountain escape can now be enjoyed by those of us with less monetary means.
Some of the various activities to enjoy in the area include shopping, dining, camping, jewel mining and outdoor activities such as rock climbing and water rafting. The mountain scenery never gets old. Whether it is covered in green, ablaze in autumn, coming alive in spring or frozen in a dazzling white crystalline winter day it remains awe inspiring and beautiful.
The owners of Biltmore House allow visitors as it is no longer their residence. The list of options for visiting the area is extremely vast so some of these treats you will necessarily have to discover on your own. Firstly there are myriad offers and packages in the area that include Biltmore House as part of their tours. Other options include opportunities to tour the estate that include the winery and vineyards, the gardens, River Bend Farm and Dairy, the equestrian center, as well as a chance to experience estate dining and sleeping accommodations. Nestled in the heart of the Appalachians, you are also close to the Cherokee Mountain area and native arts and crafts. So make the call or go on line and come visit The Biltmore House and Ashville North Carolina for the sheer beauty, outdoor excitement, fun filled memorable trip of a lifetime!