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The Biltmore Estate, a tribute to the grandeur & materialism of the Gilded Age against a backdrop of North Carolina’s natural beauty.
The beginnings of the Biltmore Estate
Built over a span of six years, and opened in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, the main house on the Biltmore Estate is a 35 bed, 43 bath home in Asheville, North Carolina. The house sits on an estate measuring a whopping 8,000 acres, backdropped by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Seeing the Biltmore Estate for the first time
The ornateness of the architecture and furnishings are astounding. Walking through the house it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t built for royalty. There are dining tables fit for kings, a bowling room where you can practically feel the good ol’ boy pickup games, scotch drinking, and cigars, and views of flowing hills punctuated by distant mountains from the house balconies. The gardens on the Biltmore Estate are another attraction entirely. If you’re a plant or flower aficionado, you could probably take an entire day exploring, admiring, and enjoying the plants and flowers on the property. When facing the front of the house, the gardens are directly to the left and down the steps.
The Biltmore Estate experience
Tickets are necessary to enter the estate. When I went, the base ticket price was $60 for a self-guided non-narrated tour. Of course, narrated and guided tours cost more, and offer access to additional rooms within the house. Parking is available in a multi-level parking lot, which is about a 5 minute walk from the house. For those most interested in the gardens, parking is also available near the gardens gift shop (behind the house). I chose to walk from the multi-level parking (the view of the house is most striking from the front), however those who require a shorter route to the house will definitely want to park near the gardens.
Biltmore Estate quick tips
- Parking is allowed in both the main parking area and near the garden. Follow signs to exit the estate while entering, to access to the garden parking.
- Photography isn’t allowed inside the house, although it’s perfectly acceptable to snap pictures outside. Bring a camera!
- There are concessions and gift shops at the end of the Biltmore Estate tour.
- Plan to spend at least 4-5 hours at the estate if you intend to check out the Biltmore Estate, winery, and scenic areas.
- Arrive in the morning if you’re planning to tour the house. The Biltmore House closes at 5pm (although other parts of the estate are open later).