An American Marvel ~ The Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina had been on my bucket list for a long time. Since my husband and I were “driving by” on our way to Hilton Head Island, this was the perfect opportunity for a visit. The weather was perfect so we were able to see the rolling hills that the mansion sits on nestled in the Appalachian Mountains.

The Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned residence in the United States. The house is massive at 178,926 square feet located on 8,000 acres of land (originally 125,000 acres). George Washington Vanderbilt found the area for his new home on a visit with his mother in 1888. Construction began in 1889, taking six years to complete and the first entertaining of family and friends was on Christmas Eve in 1895.

Staircase inspired from château de Blois in France

Staircase inspired from château de Blois in France

George hired architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Some of the features of the home are similar to three châteaux in the Loire Valley, Blois, Chenonceau and Chambord.

The mansion has 250 rooms, 33 family and guest bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens, a bowling alley and an indoor swimming pool. Each room is decorated beautifully with ornate wood carvings, ceiling murals, tapestries and the best furnishings money could buy.

Todd next to the lion at the Biltmore Estate

Todd next to the lion

Photography is not allowed inside the mansion, so I bought a book in the gift store. Visitors stopping to take pictures might have slowed down the flow of traffic even more than the audio tour. People would stop in the entrances of each room and listen to that portion of the audio tour, causing some congestion. But for the price of the entrance, I can’t blame people for making the most of their visit, in case it’s a one time thing. Tickets are cheaper if you purchase them online before your visit and discounted even more if you buy them seven days in advance.

Once you enter the property, traffic is directed depending on whether or not you have purchased your ticket in advance. Buying online is a big time saver here because this is a big tourist attraction. You get directed to the parking lot where you wait for the shuttle bus to take you to the mansion. This is a pretty efficient process and buses run frequently. When you get to the main house, you can get a map and the audio equipment.

Statue outside the Biltmore


The mansion is roped off in areas so the flow of traffic goes through the rooms efficiently in the same order of the guide. The guide is very detailed and is a must have for the tour (included with your ticket). Near the winter garden, there is a set up for the typical tourist photo. You can’t get by this without getting your photo taken. They know that if you like your photo, you will buy it! And sure enough, they got me suckered at the end. It was a cute photo of me and my husband and I figured for the entrance price and distance, this would probably be our one and only visit.

After you tour the mansion, you can walk through the different gardens and conservatory. When you take the bus back to your car, you can drive to the Deerpark or Antler Hill Village & Winery, which is worth a stop. Depending on what you would like to see, you should plan on anywhere from three hours to a full day. Well worth a visit, and if you have time for an overnight, stay at the Inn at Biltmore, located right on the estate above the Antler Hill Village.

Related Articles:

Home for the Holidays: Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC – Bucket List Publications
Visiting The Vanderbilt’s Homestead a.k.a. “The Biltmore Estate” – Lil’ Suburban Homestead
The Biltmore Estate Gardens – Garden Walk Garden Talk

19 thoughts on “An American Marvel ~ The Biltmore Estate

    1. The Travel Wench Post author

      It does slow things down a lot and people still took pictures with their phones. The photographs in the book are so much better anyways, they have the lighting set up, no people in the photos and a wide enough lens to get most of the room in the photo. The book I bought was just under $15.00. Can’t beat that for beautiful photos of every room, even some that were closed off to the public when we were there!
      The Travel Wench recently posted…An American Marvel ~ The Biltmore EstateMy Profile

  1. Tiana Kai

    Gorgeous shots! I went there years ago and check out the winery. So gorgeous and crazy to believe children grew up there… so massive, imagine playing hide and go seek?

    1. MIchelle Grabuski

      I agree with you on the entrance fee, so buying in advance helps a little bit. It is worth it though to see the largest home in America, especially with how well it’s decorated. I loved the furniture, paintings and tapestries.

    1. The Travel Wench Post author

      You must really enjoy it if you’ve been there five times! 🙂 I can see why though, and there are so many extras that make it worthwhile. I would love to see it decorated for Christmas, it’s probably beautiful.

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