While the colder months might seem like a dead period for some, I see it as an opportunity to take advantage of “touristy” places being less crowded. Even better, I look to see if they are less expensive to visit. Case and point: The Biltmore Estate. Built by George and Edith Vanderbilt during the Guilded Age in Asheville, North Carolina, this mansion holds the title of the largest privately owned home in the United States. With great title comes great ticket price, so touring the colossal Biltmore Estate is undoubtedly more affordable during the month of January. Self-guided tours (with information via headset) can be as little as $40 which saves you anywhere from $10-$45 depending on the season. I saved so much in the cost of the ticket I added on the “Upstairs-Downstairs” guided tour so that Christopher could see the estate’s electrical wiring as well as a behind the scenes look at the lives of butlers, maids, and other house staff.
I wanted to share a few photos of my favorite parts of this impeccably restored piece of history.
As soon as you walk in out of the cold you are greeted by the lush greenery of the Atrium.
Next to the Atrium is the Banquet Hall. Remember to look up at the 70 foot ceiling.
The first leg of the tour also includes a library that would make any scholar beam with pride. Disney lovers will think of Belle, I’m sure.
Speaking of Disney, the living quarters pictured below could make any woman feel like a princess.
Next up is the Louis XV room where ladies of the house would give birth. This suite was also used during the postpartum period due to the amount of natural light available and the desirable views of the estate.
My favorite parts of the house are elements that prove the extravagant wealth of the Vanderbilt family. We must remember that George and Edith Vanderbilt finished this house in 1895. People didn’t spend the night for a weekend. Guests could stay for weeks or even months at a time. The bowling alley and indoor pool are only a sampling of luxury amenities offered to guests of the estate. Servants would stand at the end of the lane in order to return pins to the correct position and bring back bowling balls to players after each turn.
As many times as I’ve been to Biltmore, I still enjoy going downstairs to see the butler’s pantry and the kitchen area. Not too far from here lies servants quarters as well as an enormous laundry room.
I would suggest visiting the Biltmore Estate in January due to the benefit of fewer crowds and a more affordable price tag. The interior of the house is equally as beautiful as any time of year with the exception of Christmas. If you’re visiting Asheville for an extended period and are looking for accommodations you have the option to stay on the property and choose from 3 different locations ranging in cost. During our next visit Christopher and I want to eat at one of the six restaurants on the property and indulge in a free tasting at the Biltmore Winery. Visiting the Biltmore Estate is a truly breathtaking experience. The amount of care put into every square inch of this home is astounding. Unexpected as it may be, the epitome of elegance and opulence sits tucked away in Asheville, North Carolina waiting to transport you.
Until next time,