Vanderbilt Mansion in Asheville NC - Biltmore House and Estate in the North Carolina Mountains

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Biltmore Mansion at Asheville North Carolina

History

The Asheville Biltmore area is world famous for the Biltmore House and Gardens. Biltmore Estates use to have a dairy farm where they produced Biltmore milk and ice cream. Now, Biltmore Estates has a winery where they produce Biltmore wine. You can buy the wine at area grocery stores as well as the Biltmore Winery.

Biltmore Mansion was built by George Vanderbilt in the Gilded Age of America in 1895. It was then and remains the largest home in America. George's father was William Henry Vanderbilt. George's grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt made the Vanderbilt's fortune in the Railroad. Cornelius Vanderbilt, known as the Commodore, developed the New York Central Railroad.

Biltmore House was modeled after a 16th century French Chateau. It is often referred to as the Biltmore Castle and could pass for one. At one time, the Biltmore Estates was about 125,000 acres and included Mt. Pisgah. Much of this land is now part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah National Forest. Richard Morris Hunt was the architect designing the house while Frederick Olmsted laid out the gardens and parks surrounding the Mansion. From the gate, there is a 3 mile approach leading to the Vanderbilt mansion.

Tour Biltmore Estates

pictureThere are 250 rooms in the Biltmore mansion, each unique and beautiful. The Banquet hall is the most impressive room with its 5 Flemish tapestries. The acoustics of the room are perfect in that one can sit on one end of the long banquet table and speak to another at the other end of the table and still be heard without raising one's voice.

The library is worth noting. There are 20,000 books shelved here. The Portraits of George Vanderbilt by artist Sargent can be seen here together with a portrait of his mother. Other family member portraits are, also, in the library and the breakfast room.

The mansion is furnished with period furniture and antiques some dating as far back as the 16th century. There are Renaissance paintings, Renaissance and Gothic styles, 17th century Jacobean style furniture, Louis XV style rooms, armor and more. In the morning salon, there is a table where it is said the heart of Napoleon (inside an urn) rested upon said table before being placed in a coffin.

The grand staircase is 102 steps and made of cast iron ornate railing. There is a 4 story chandelier that weighs 1700 lbs and held up by a single bolt.

The Biltmore house downstairs is a Halloween room which was decorated in 1926 for a dance. Also, downstairs you will find the Bowling alley, the swimming pool, the main kitchen, the pastry kitchen, the Rotisserie kitchen, 17 dressing rooms, a gymnasium, servants bedrooms and the laundry.

The gardens are made up of roses, tulips (imported from Holland) azalea, marigolds, dahlias, cannas, zinnia, dogwoods, chrysanthemums, magnolias, crab apples, mountain laurel, and many more flowers, shrubs, trees and plants. There are terrace gardens, an Italian garden, an 4 acre English walled garden, a shrub garden and others. There is a conservatory that contains palm trees, banana trees, ferns, cacti orchids and other tropical plants. Man made lakes also are on the property.

Spring is a good time to visit when the gardens are blooming. In May, the Biltmore House hosts the annual Festival of Flowers. Over 10,000 tulip bulbs are on display. Each year, the tulip bulbs are dug up and replanted along with other flowers. This ensures that the display is different every year. At Christmas, there are candlelit tours and the decorations are worth seeing.

The current owners of the Biltmore House are ancestors to William Cecil, who was the Chief Minister of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England.

Over a million visitors visit Biltmore House annually

Tickets

You can purchase discount tickets for Biltmore House, gardens and winery at Ingles grocery store in-town and at the entrance of Biltmore house. You can also get discount packages at area hotels.

Biltmore Village was built in the late 1890's as a classic planned community at the entrance to George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate. It was built to house the workers who labored at Biltmore House. In addition to the workers homes, the community originally included a hospital, a school, a post office and shops. Today the village is a community of unique shops, dress shops, antique shops, art galleries and more. horse and buggy rides available.

George Vanderbilt built homes for the workers who worked at the Biltmore Estate. These homes make up the Biltmore village which is outside of the entrance to Biltmore House. The Biltmore village homes are now unique gift shops, dress shops and more. Flooding by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused much damage.

In the Asheville Biltmore section of town, there are restaurants, fast food, a Starbucks coffee shop and a cafe shop that for years was a hardware store. Asheville Biltmore has art galleries displaying art by local artists. There is an old Episcopal church, All Souls on Biltmore Avenue. Be aware that on Biltmore avenue, there is a railroad crossing where a train crosses at regular intervals.

Movies filmed at the Biltmore Estate

Documentary films

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Biltmore House Specialties of the House

Mrs. George Washington Vanderbilt private collection of Recipes

Suggested Reading :

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For Events, tickets, pictures and more information Visit the Biltmore Estate Website.

Asheville Area Information

Asheville Area Information