Anytime I mentioned that I was going to Asheville the immediate question was, “Are you going to visit Biltmore Estate?”. I hadn’t done a lot of research on Asheville, since I was visiting Liz, and knew that she would direct me. Lo and behold, one of the things she highly recommended was none other Biltmore Estate. Liz and Lina are annual pass holders, so I was incredibly fortunate enough to be able to use one of their free guest passes! (Aren’t they so awesome?)
To be honest, even though everyone had said that Biltmore was something to see, I wan’t really anticipating to be blown away by it. I was wrong. There is so much more here than just the house and I realized that very quickly on the drive. The estate sits on almost 11 square miles! It’s crazy huge! The estate originally sat on 125,000 acres, but a large chunk of that was sold to the federal government and is now part of Pisgha National Forest. So, I was already in love by the drive to the parking lot… But how can you not be?
We walked from our car up this very short path to the actual estate, and WOW! I had seen photos, sure, but seeing it there, in person, on these gorgeous grounds, with the Blue Ridge Mountains behind it was pretty incredible. It is legitimately like a French Chateau, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the US.
Construction began on this massive house in 1889, and they finally moved in Christmas Eve of 1895. I really wish photography was allowed inside the house, so I could share the amazing beauty of the interior of this house. However, it was actually nice to be completely surprised by the beauty within this house, and to be completely in that moment: taking in the furniture, tapestries, secret passageways and everything else! Be sure, to take advantage the free audio guide because it’s full of really great information that I would have never known. (We went the day after the end of their Christmas display, which was pretty cool, because most of the house still had decorations up, and we didn’t have to pay all that extra money!)
I loved seeing all of the bedrooms and elaborately decorated rooms, but I really loved downstairs. Downstairs were the kitchens, pantries and laundry rooms, which was incredible to see how they worked and how innovative they genuinely were. Plus, I loved seeing this side of a big estate, especially after being a devoted Downton Abbey watcher. (The three of us referenced the characters all through this tour.) Other really cool parts of the downstairs of this house were the gym, bowling alley and pool! So cool!
The stables outside of the estate have been renovated into shops and restaurants and they’re absolutely beautiful, and the food all smelled really incredible! After touring the amazing estate and making a very quick run through the shops (stopping to buy some chocolate treats, of course) we drove through more of the estate grounds to get to the winery!
The drive through the grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, was incredible. I cannot wait to come back in a warmer season and take plenty of time to explore these grounds, ride my bike and picnic with friends!
A visit to the winery, while at Biltmore, is a must! It, like everything else, is really beautiful, and there are so many things to choose from besides wine, like dips, jams and many other things. However, we were there to sample wine.
This photo is from Liz while sampling wine.
The wine sampling was so much fun! We were full of giggles, talking about family, our accents, travels, and of course, the wine! It was a really fun and tasty end to our day at Biltmore Estate.
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