Before we got married, hubby and I have been planning to visit Biltmore House and Estate together. Two years of dreaming and a giant leap across the Pacific Ocean and we finally set foot at the grandiose 8,000-acre estate in Asheville, North Carolina covering the Biltmore House & Gardens and the Antler Hill Village—featuring the Winery.
For a comfortable walk around the estate, arrive as early as 8am, the time they are open for a visit and when the sun is still about to shine sparing yourself from sunburn as you hike. While most visitors would head straight to the mansion, a climb up to Diana’s gazebo will give you a stunning landscape. A secret haven for those adventurous enough for a short climb, Diana’s gazebo served as a playhouse for Cornelia, the daughter of the owner George and Edith Vanderbilt.
A walk around the European inspired gardens carpeted with a variety of flora is more than worth it.
And be amazed with the thousands of beautiful collection inside the estate’s greenhouse. The terrariums are my personal favorites.
After a morning tour of the gardens, pamper yourself with a sumptuous lunch at the Stable Cafe. Yes, they are stables turned into a cafe where dining booths are formerly horse stalls! The cafe offers a fantastic menu and an excellent service and an experience you will never forget. Outside the cafe are specialty gift shops like A Christmas Past with sparks of Christmas ornaments and music, the Bookbinder’s, the Carriage House for home decors, accessories, wines and jewelry, the Confectionery for sweet treats, and the Toymaker’s for old-school toys.
Noon and it is but perfect for a house tour! Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, this mansion is the largest private owned house in the United States with 250 rooms although only a number are available for public viewing. It is a self-guided tour and no cameras are allowed inside the mansion but audio tours and guided specialty tours are available with additional cost. When it became a house museum, no family members have lived inside. Some rooms for viewing include the magnificent dining hall, the two-story library which houses thousands of old books, the wife Edith’s elegantly furnished room, the indoor swimming pool, the bowling alley, early 20th century gym equipment, kitchen, laundry room, servant’s quarters.
The Antler Hill Village, located just a couple of miles from the Biltmore House and Gardens,showcases the family’s farm and winery. Our guided winery tour took us a to a stroll through historic cellars to wine making and tasting. The tour starts and ends at the Wine Shop for house wines and goodies.
The Biltmore House and Estate is one of the bests North Carolina has to offer giving us a glimpse of the wonderful lifestyle of the south. Try the virtual tour by Google Maps below:
Note: Admission prices vary, visit http://www.biltmore.com for more information or directly click : http://www.biltmore.com/buy_tickets/ticket_prices.asp for price updates.