Biltmore House, a Chateauesque-style historic house museum in Ashville, North Carolina is true marvel of architecture and artistry. It is must visit for all castle lovers. Biltmore house is created in 1895 and now owned by George Vanderbilt’s descendants. The touch of European feel in the architecture of Biltmore house and Antler hill village is simply impressive. Admission Ticket to the house gives you access to entire estate. It will take a full day visit to explore this property.
Biltmore House Gate
Biltmore house gate and windows have impressive carved human characters. Archaic warriors on Mansion’s windows and human faces carved on sides of the doors depict different emotions.
Now let’s have a look inside the America’s largest house.
Octagonal Winter Garden surrounded by stone archways with a ceiling of beautifully sculptured wood and multifaceted glass is centerpiece of first floor. Next to winter garden is Billiard room with rich oak paneling interior. The room has custom-made pool table and a carrom table.
This impressive room with a seven-story-high ceiling and Flemish tapestries from mid1500s was the scene of evening parties and celebrations. This magnificent room has dining capacity of 64 people.
Breakfast Room and Salon Room
Breakfasts and Lunch were served to Vanderbilt’s guests in this elegantly designed Breakfast room. Salon room is an unfinished room which was supposed to be French style formal sitting area.
After passing beautifully maintained Breakfast room and Salon room, you will be in Music room. During world war II many valuable paintings and sculptures were moved from Washington D.C. to Biltmore Estate and kept secured in this room. On Second floor living hall you will see a painting of Vanderbilt’s family clicked in music room.
This is the most charming room of the house. 10,000+ collection of books, spiral staircase, The Chariot of Aurora painting on ceiling, walnut paneling, globe of 18th century, sculptures and every small antique make this room the most attractive room of the house.
This is the last room under guided tour on first floor. In this 90-foot-long room, the Flemish tapestries on the wall are part of a 1530s The Triumph of the Seven Virtues; these three tapestries woven from silk and wool represent Charity, Faith and Prudence.
Second Floor Living hall
Grand spiral staircase around impressive chandelier takes you to the second floor. It’s a galley with portraits of Vanderbilt family and architects Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted.
Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedrooms
Next to portrait gallery is George Vanderbilt’s bedroom. The room has grand bed on elevated surface which appears to be very small as compared to size of the room. His room is full of 17th century Portuguese Baroque furniture. His wife’s oval shaped bedroom amaze its visitors with its richly painted ceiling, silky purple and gold fabrics and furnishings.
Third floor living hallway
Guests in nearby rooms came here to relax, listen to music and read before and after dinner. The room has Piano, Gramophone, paintings and collection of books.
Louis XV Suite is the room with architecturally enriched furnishings, red velvet curtains, balcony with spectacular vistas of gardens and mountains. Tyrolean Chimney Room is another lavish room with delicate floral designed chimney and gold wallpaper in background. Another remarkable room is Claude Room, a luxurious room named after Vanderbilt’s artist Claude Lorrain. This room has impressive ivory inlaid commode with mirror and a background of Cobalt wallpaper. forth grand suite is Damask room with silk damask draperies. Guests could choose to have breakfast in their rooms before enjoying the day.
The basement of this 19th century house has bowling alley, Halloween room, swimming pool, gym, three kitchens, walk-in refrigerators and many other room. There is an impressive stone hallway that leads to all these rooms. It has foundation walls which were built in almost 2 years. The bowling alley in Biltmore house is the first to be installed in private house. A small room next to Kitchen has caged elevator to transport food directly to the suit on any floor. Its impressive to see so many facilities in 19th century house.
Vintage Biltmore bus travels to and fro Biltmore house and parking lot for visitors. You can also opt to walk but bus is much more fun because of its vintage interior.
Biltmore Estate Conservatory and Gardens
The beauty of Biltmore estate gardens change with season. Walled garden, Estate entry look wonderful and different in each season. Tulips make them shine in April-May ,Chrysanthemums and Salvias show them vibrant in mid-September and October. Christmas lightings glow them in November-December. Conservatory has great collection of exotic plants in carefully designed spaces. Italian Garden features classic water gardens. In warm weather, koi and goldfish swim in the pools among giant water lilies, lotus and papyrus.
Antler Hill Village and Winery
After exploring around 2-2.5 hours in experiencing Biltmore house now is the time to visit Antler hill village. It is on a drive of 5-7 minutes from Biltmore house. It has something for everybody especially delicious food. Two main attractions at Antler village are Outdoor Railway stations display and Winery. Outdoor railway station displays replica of all railway stations where Mr. Vanderbilt travelled. Model trains travel on 250 feet of track, passing replicas of Eiffel Tower in Paris and London’s Tower Bridge. The landscape is designed by Biltmore’s gardeners using shrubs, trees, and flowers. Winery has impressive collection of local wines. Also complimentary wine tasting is not to miss. Tip: If you are going in couple the best thing will be you can taste all limited edition wines. My favorite wine is Limited Edition Biltmore white wine.
If you are planning your weekend trip, Biltmore Estate is the best gateway.
Entry to Estate : $94-$300 depending on what package you choose.
Open hours : House- Daytime 9 am-5 pm and Candlelight 5:30 pm -9:30 pm Antler Village- 10 am – 9 pm.
Restaurants– At Biltmore House try The Bake Shop and Stable Cafe. At Antler Hill village we ate at Bistro and Village Social both were delicious. Try Creamery ice-cream in dessert.
Hotels: If you are not on budget, staying inside Biltmore estate would be great experience. If you are on budget trip don’t worry there are many good hotel and motel options on 5-20 minutes drive from Estate.
I would love to hear your thoughts on visiting Biltmore Estate. Don’t forget to visit Biltmore.com for more information.