AAA Editor Notes
Biltmore is on US 25, 3 blks. n. of I-40 exit 50 or 50B to 1 Lodge St. George Washington Vanderbilt, grandson of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, supervised construction of the 250-room mansion, which is surrounded by 8,000 acres of land, beginning in 1889; it opened on Christmas Eve 6 years later.
Vanderbilt provided his guests and made available to staff many labor-saving devices unavailable to the general public at the end of the 19th century, such as electric elevators and lights and central hot water. He also traveled the world acquiring art and other treasures for the house, and visitors will see—in addition to Vanderbilt family china, crystal and 16th-century tapestries—works by such masters as Albrecht Dürer, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler.
Self-guiding tours include three floors of Biltmore House, 75 acres of formal gardens and Antler Hill Village, which includes the winery, exhibition hall, farm and village green. The Walled Garden features tulips in the spring, annuals and perennials in the summer and a carpet of chrysanthemums in the fall. The Rose Garden blooms June through October with more than 250 varieties. The 15-acre Azalea Garden is vibrant in late April and May. The formal Italian Garden, intended to function as an “outdoor room” as well as a recreation space, features three symmetrical pools in a Renaissance-inspired arrangement. The Biltmore Winery, housed in the renovated dairy, produces red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. A self-guiding tour of the winery includes a video presentation of the winemaking process, exhibits in the production areas and cellars and wine tastings.
Special events are featured seasonally and include Biltmore Blooms, held in the spring; Christmas at Biltmore, a holiday event showcasing the house in all its yuletide splendor; and Candlelight Christmas Evenings.
Special guided tours of the house are available for an additional fee; reservations are required. Candlelight Christmas Evenings tours are offered in November and December.
Note: All tours of the property involve considerable walking and climbing. Access for physically impaired guests is provided to most parts of the estate, except for some sections of Biltmore House and the gardens; reduced admission is offered.
Time: Allow 4 hours minimum.