Touring the Biltmore

Since we will be living less than an hour away, Audley and I treated each other to annual passes to the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC for Christmas this year.   I first fell in love with this amazing castle when I was in college as we passed through while on chorus tour 20 years ago.  Audley and I have visited a couple of times throughout our marriage, and the weekend before Christmas we took off on a lovely family get-away with some of our  fabulous friends.

 

Although I am certain the Biltmore Estates are beautiful in any weather, we could not have asked for a more perfect weekend to make our visit.  The air was chilly (which just made it feel more like Christmas), but the sky was ever so beautiful and clear.
Looking towards the stables.
Taking six years to build, this majestic home, built by George Washington Vanderbilt and tucked in the mountains of North Carolina, has welcomed visitors for 117 years now.
From the very moment you drive through the gated entry, you are immediately transported to a time long forgotten.  I can only image the feeling guests of the Vanderbilt’s had when their carriages drove through this grand gateway and then travelled the three miles to the main house.

 

When Mr. Vanderbilt built this stately home, he did so with the desire to create a fabulous get-away for friends and vacation home for his own family.  He had a vision of creating a “farm” that was completely self-sufficient, one that would help the people of the mountains with jobs and resources for personal use as well.  Mr. Vanderbilt passed away before all of this was completely realized, but over the last 117 years his family has carried on his legacy making the dream a reality.

Now, the Biltmore is breathtaking anytime of year, but especially so at Christmas.  Of course you can’t take pictures inside the house, but everywhere else, photography is welcomed.  Here is a peak of the some of the beauty around the house.

  I have a 10-inch high concrete Georgia Bulldog that greets our guests when they arrive on our doorstep, but wouldn’t you just love to have majestic lions flanking your entryway to greet friends and family?
When George W. Vanderbilt had this home built, he didn’t skimp on the details.  I love all of the surprises found lurking in the architecture as he incorporated a little French country (many of the house features) and a little Italian Renaissance (with the trim and details). George W. was a very studious and well-traveled man who very much used what he had learned when he planned this beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now housing restaurants and shops, this is the roofline of the old stables.

No detail was spared in the building of this beauty.  And if just the architectural details around the stables and front of the house aren’t enough, the details and view from the terrace in the back of the house are stunning!

Walking out onto the terrace 

 

 

Entry to the terrace

 

When the house was completed in 1895 was it wired for electric lighting, this included the porch areas which showcased beautiful lamps.

 

I loved all the expressions found on the gargoyles that flanked the windows.

 

Window that looks into the library; 10,000 plus books are shelved there!
Seriously, check out the detail from the rain spout!

 

Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom was located in this rounded area.

 

My girls had a good time posing for the camera.  A lovely setting for sure!

 

 

And the view from the terrace?  Oh my, just breathtaking!

 

I think the things that captured my attention more than any around the house were the little details.  From the doorbell to a bust of Mr. Vanderbilt you find elements that homes today would never incorporate.

A fresh flower Arrangement on the front “porch” entryway…. 95% of the floral arrangements (and most all of the garlands and wreaths) are fresh year round.  

 

Ceiling in the entryway.

 

The Christmas decorations were simple, and in flavor of the period. I was so inspired!  Audley found it quite comical that I was jotting down notes as we toured the house.

 

Exiting the house.

 

In the front entrance.
I think one of the the best parts of our trip was that the kiddos enjoyed the entire experience as much as the adults!  They were completely in awe of this grand old lady and all of her treasures.

 

 

There is so much more to the Biltmore Estates than the house, but too much for one post.  We enjoyed   fabulous food as well as experiencing first-hand a bit of George Vanderbilt’s dream of self-sufficiency in the winery on the estate.  I’ll share a bit later.

3 thoughts on “Touring the Biltmore

  1. Having only visited the Biltmore via other's blogs, I must say that this was a very pleasant tour because you pointed out the details. They can be overlooked. Now how do you really feel about those gargoyles?

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