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The Biltmore is a grand 8,000 acre estate tucked in the Blue Mountains of North Carolina. Owned by the Vanderbilt family, construction on the Biltmore began in 1889. This grand home was the largest undertaking of residential construction in history. It was constructed over a period of 6 years and includes 250 rooms including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The home was initially a private residence, however, it was opened to the public in 1930 during the Depression in hopes that it would encourage North Carolina tourism. During World War II the house was used to store precious art that could originally be found in the National Gallery of Art.
If you’re planning a visit to this palatial estate the first thing to consider is which tour will work best for you. The Biltmore offers guided audio tours for $10 per person (in addition to an entrance fee). These tours allow you to feel as if you’re being guided through the home by curators, however, have the privacy of touring on your own. Through the audio you’ll learn all about the history of the home and the lives of those who lived there. Children will love the children’s guided audio tour, which is narrated by Cedric, the family’s Saint Bernard.
For those who are more intrigued by the elaborate parties that were held at the estate, what the family did for fun, and who had the privilege of visiting them you’ll love the 90-minute guided tours that are available with advanced registration. Architecture buffs will enjoy the Architect’s Tour, which will answer all your questions about this home that was modeled after a French Renaissance chateau. The video below does a nice job of detailing everything the Biltmore has to offer.
In addition to the exquisite interior, the exterior of the Biltmore has provided a backdrop for everything from high end weddings to afternoon tea parties to simple family get togethers. The grounds are meticulously maintained and include lush gardens, perfectly trimmed trees, and so much more. Many tourists swear that touring the gardens provides even more satisfaction than seeing the interior.
Originally designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead you’ll see everything from an Italian Garden to the breathtaking trees in America’s first managed forest. Pathways, gardens, small waterfalls, and other tiny hidden treasures can be found throughout. The unique Wall Garden features two lengthy arbors draped in vines along with flower beds that bloom with daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, lush perennials, and chrysanthemums.
Whether you love the great outdoors or enjoy viewing how “the other half” lives, the Biltmore truly offers something for everyone.
The Biltmore’s website has extensive information on operating hours, fees, and any questions you might have. Check it out to start planning your trip today.