Completed in 1895, the Biltmore is the largest privately-owned home in the United States. Built by George Vanderbilt, the heir to the Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt fortune (ya know Staten Island Ferry guy), this home has everything a gilded age gentleman would want. Biltmore boasts 250 rooms, mountain views, a swimming pool, bowling alley, Renoir paintings in the breakfast room, 8,000 acres of land, and formal gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (yeah, THAT Olmstead, the one who designed Central Park in NYC). This is the GOLD STANDARD of house museums in the US. And Literally the closest thing we have to a castle experience and I was ready to take that place by storm!
Here is are the top 3 things you need to know about staying at The Biltmore!
One walk through the house is never enough.
The crown jewel of Biltmore is clearly the house. However, if you think that you will be able to walk through the house just once and see everything you are wrong. It’s impossible. So, I would suggest planning on going through a few times and picking what you’re going to focus on. For my first time through the house I chose to JUST focus on the architecture of the house, the second time just on the art and textiles, the third just the servant’s quarters. I was lucky to have the luxury of a few days and unlimited access to the house but if you only have one day pick which is more important to you.
Schedule a Tour
Biltmore Estate is freaking HUGE. Don’t worry about seeing everything on your own, there are tons of special activities and tours to help you see everything in a fun way. If you want to know more about the house you can sign up for a specialty tour. I took the rooftop tour (which to be honest was super interesting but not for the faint of heart. This tour takes you really high into some tight fit and adventurous spaces. If nature is more your deal sign up for a Legacy of the Land tour to learn more about what it took for Olmstead to return a forest that had been stripped of its resources into a lush and healthy natural oasis. Long story short there are tons and tons of tour options to help you get the most out of your Biltmore experience.
Eat, Drink, and be a Vanderbilt
Can we take a second to talk about food…. Yeah, I don’t think I found ANY bad meals while visiting Biltmore. This joint even has ITS OWN WINERY! Yep, and it’s the most visited winery in the entire US. What’s the Biltmore secret? Well, Biltmore is a fully sustainable estate. Many of the meals you eat at Biltmore come from the estate. The eggs are from their chickens, the meat from the cattle, the vegetables from their gardens.
Biltmore is so good at sustainability! While driving through the estate you may see fields of yellow flowers well the seeds from these plants are where canola oil comes from, that oil is what they use in their fryers, the byproduct of that oil is compressed down to become feed for the animals, and then the manure from those animals go back to fertilize those same canola fields!!
Now, this sounds all grand but if you really want the full Vanderbilt experience, I would suggest booking yourself some spa time. The Spa at Biltmore is a demi spa but packs a full punch in service. Get yourself that Carolina mud wrap before you head home to your normal non-Vanderbilt life. If you have a chance to visit the Biltmore Estate it will not disappoint and there really isn’t a bad time of year to visit.
Now go and live your best Vanderbilt life!