Visiting Asheville’s Biltmore Estate is one of North Carolina’s top attractions, bringing in 1 million tourists annually. Featured in movies such as Richie Rich, Forrest Gump and The Last of the Mohicans, the property is a truly stunning reminder of America’s Gilded Age.
The 250-room estate was built in 1889 by George Washington Vanderbilt II and is still owned by his descendants. It served as an opulent summer home for the Vanderbilt family, similar to their other properties in New York and Rhode Island.
The French-style gardens were designed by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of New York’s Central Park and Montreal’s Mont Royal. The property was opened to the public in 1930 at the height of the Great Depression as a source of income for the family. They continued to live there until 1956, when the home became a full-time attraction.
While photos are not allowed inside of the home, guests can see the indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, gym and library. Also on the property are cafes, gift shops, formal gardens (pictured below), a winery and a AAA four-diamond hotel.
You could easily spend a full day at the Biltmore Estate, but many visitors choose to make a weekend trip of it, either as a romantic getaway or for a girlfriends weekend.
Tickets cost $45 for adults, so take advantage of special promotions. On Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, parents get in free. Ticket price includes a self-guided tour of the home and gardens, Antler Hill Village and a guided tour and complimentary tasting at the winery.
There are a number of accommodation options in the Historic Biltmore Village area as well as on the Biltmore grounds. Asheville also has a number of hotels and even a hostel for those budget-minded travelers.
If You Go
The Biltmore Estate is open from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm on Mondays to Fridays and until 4:30 pm on weekends. Check the website for information on holiday hours and festivals.
From downtown Asheville, take Rankin Avenue to West Walnut Street. Take the first right on West Walnut, followed by the first right onto North Lexington Avenue. From there, take the first right onto College Avenue. Turn right on Patton Avenue. Take the second left onto Asheland Avenue and continue onto McDowell Street. The entrance to the property will be straight ahead.