Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

Let's start out by saying WOWI  The Biltmore is the largest private home in the US and probably the continent. This mansion was built by George Vanderbilt II (one of several grandsons to the family patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt) and completed in 1895 on a125,000 acre (Currently 8,000 acres) estate near Asheville, NC. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the home, so we took pictures of some of the beautiful gardens at the estate grounds
The Biltmore has 250 rooms and is lavishly decorated with priceless pieces from Europe. The outside and inside of the home is nothing short of amazing. The mansion was built during the gilded age of our country, before income tax, so it’s not really known the size of the family’s wealth at the time or how much the mansion cost to build. We asked several of the docents in the mansion and none would even venture a guess (likely they were instructed not to provide an estimate…weird), so a quick internet search and  found one estimate to be $10 million dollars back then or around $250 million today. George named his mansion after the family’s ancestral home in Bildt, Holland.
Today the Biltmore is a tourist attraction that is still owned by the family.When visiting Biltmore there are several options and ways to experience the house, gardens and estate. The admission fee if $59 the day or you can save $15 with a 7 day advance purchase (which we did). This fee allows you to do a self-guided tour of several floors of house, all the gardens, free wine tasting at the Biltmore winery and the ability to drive around the estate. There are multiple add-on tours and options if you want to see and learn about the mansion and family in more in-depth. We toured ourselves and found the provided informational guide informative enough for our interests.
It's a bit pricey, but well worth the price even if you are mildly interest in this kind of thing. One should plan on spending no less than 4 to 5 hours. There are several eateries on-site that provide quality food or you can also bring your lunch and have a nice picnic in one of the many gardens. Enjoy!

PS - We' are heading to the Great Smoky Mountains, and not sure about Internet connection, so hang tight if there aren't any blog updates for a bit, There may be......there may not be........ 
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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