Welcome to my Biltmore Estate travel blog! 💜 If you missed part one, head over to read all about our stay at the Biltmore Village Inn Bed & Breakfast! I underestimated (I tend to do that often) the amount of video and photos I had taken for part two, so apologize for this post coming a week late! A new blog and video are finally up for you to read. I hope you feel as if you’re on the trip with us! xo
I have been to the Biltmore before, but it was during the colder months. I didn’t get to see the gorgeous gardens in full bloom or even the colors of the changing leaves during the fall. I think if you’re going to visit the Biltmore, plan it for Christmas, Spring, Fall, or Summer! I had such an amazing day with my mom, and I loved seeing her excitement for this gorgeous estate. Did you know that the Biltmore is the largest home in America? It’s incredible. My entire house could probably fit in some of their bedrooms.
It took George Vanderbilt six years of construction to finish his home and finally moved in on Christmas Eve of 1895. He built the home for himself, his wife, and his daughter. Eventually, his daughter married, becoming a Cecil, and they too lived in the home. I mean, it would be silly not to.
The Biltmore became a moneymaker during the Great Depression when the Cecils opened it up to tourism to generate income to keep the estate thriving in 1930. There were many requests from curious travelers and residents of the town to see the inside of the gorgeous estate. We took a bus from the designated parking lot and headed to the house to get an early tour.
Here we are 88 years later, still curious as to what this gorgeous estate looks like inside.
The estate is still a family business, with fourth and fifth generations of Mr. Vanderbilt’s descendants running the day to day operations. They do such a great job preserving this gem and all the history from the Biltmore, and I’m so excited that we get the chance to explore the history.
There are several tours you can choose from. We chose the cheapest one (usually comes with the admission) and did the exploring on our own with the little pamphlets provided.
The banquet hall took my breath away. It had seven-story high ceilings and tapestries from the mid-1500s. The Vanderbilt’s had many celebrations in this room and put on an annual Christmas party for Biltmore workers and their families. I can’t wait to visit the Biltmore at Christmas time, so I can see it all lit up. I hear so many amazing things about the estate during the holidays.
If you watch my video, you’ll get a better glimpse of the organ loft. It contains a 1916 Skinner pipe organ. I remember reading somewhere that the original pipe organ was given away by George Vanderbilt, and the one in the home now was donated as a replacement.
Dinners were extravagant and elegant events. Only the finest linens, family silver, and crystal wine glasses were used. George Vanderbilt enjoyed fine wines, so they used up to five crystal wine glasses per guest when tasting new wines throughout the dinner courses.
The large oak table seated 60 guests, but the Vanderbilt’s sat at the smaller table near the fireplaces enjoying a 7-10-course meal.
One of my favorite spaces was the winter garden. We came at an amazing time because the Chihuly exhibit was being featured, and the amazing artwork surrounded the estate. Dale Chihuly is an American artist working with glass as his medium. His art holds color, light, and gorgeous unique shapes. To me, some of his art resembles tropical flowers or hair from mythical creatures. You’ll see a lot of them in the garden pictures. The winter garden has a glass roof that brings in natural light to shine down on the center fountain sculpture Boy Stealing Geese by Karl Bitter. It was placed in the home a few weeks before the house was finished in 1895. It’s absolutely breathtaking.
Make sure to watch the video so you can see how beautiful the garden is, and to get a glimpse at the sculpture.
The breakfast room was for, of course, breakfast, but often for luncheons as well.
The portraits in this room display Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Vanderbilt’s grandfather, and George’s father, William Henry Vanderbilt. William was the real founder of the family fortune. William was a famed art collector, which is how George came to enjoy art as well.
Some of the art in this room include Young Algerian Girl and Child with an Orange.
The salon is a formal sitting area that was never fully finished during the time George Vanderbilt had lived in the home. He was very interested in technology and wanted his home to have state-of-the-art systems, including electricity, so he had a black heating grate, part of the Biltmore’s central heating system, in this area if the home.
The salon had a French style, and his descendants later furnished the room from the original collection.
Another room left unfinished during George Vanderbilt’s time was the music room.
One of the most incredible things you’ll find in this room is the rare collection of twelve Meissen porcelain apostle figures and twelve candlesticks, made in the 1730’s and 1740’s for Empresses Amalia and Maria Theresa of the Austrian Hapsburgs.
Are you prepared to be blown away with this next fact? See the gorgeous ceiling? The artwork is called the Chariot of Aurora. It was painted in 1720’s by Italian artist Giovanni Pellegrini. It was painted for the Pisani Palace in Venice and then sent all the way to Asheville by canvas. It was pieced together on the ceiling of the library.
The library was a special room for Mr. Vanderbilt because he had a passion for books like no other. I guess we all would be if we didn’t grow up in a world filled with quick technology distractions. The library contains over 22,000 books. He liked to read about American and English fiction to world history, religion, philosophy, art, and architecture.
The tapestry gallery consisted of a 90-foot long room. This is where the guest would go for music and refreshments. The Flemish tapestries on the wall are part of a 1530s set known as The Triumph of the Seven Virtues. If you go back up to the breakfast room photo, there is another photo of the tapestry in the collage. The tapestries represent Charity, Faith, and Prudence.
In the tapestry gallery, you’ll find a portrait of Edith Vanderbilt. It was created by artist Giovanni Boldini. I think it’s one of the most beautiful works of art in the house. Other portraits of the family members hang in the tapestry gallery as well.
The Biltmore house had many staircases, but the grand staircase was just that, grand. It was cool to look down at the multiple floors from the top. It made you feel dizzy after a while.
George Vanderbilt visited Asheville in 1888. He was rumored to have “looked out from the ridge where the house is now built and declared his wish to own everything he could see.”
On the second floor, you’ll be greeted with the living hall. It’s a formal hallway to display portraits.
There is also an oak sitting room (above) on the second floor where the Vanderbilts shared breakfast and planned the day with the head housekeeper. Edith’s job was to keep track of the arriving guest, plan the needs, and make meal plans and social activities.
Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt each had their own bedrooms. Of course, Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom was a dream.
There purple and gold silk fabrics and furnishings in the Louis XV style decorating this oval-shaped room. There was a back hallway that leads to the closet and to the Lady’s Maid’s room, bathroom, and more.
The Morland room was one of my favorites. I’m tempted to paint my master bedroom or a guest bedroom this color. Or hey, maybe I’ll get some wallpaper! It was named after English painter George Morland. The house is filled with endless bedrooms and hallways. The house has 43 bathrooms…😮
This is the Madonna room. Each guest room was decorated in a different style. This was a decor trend in the late 1800’s. The room has famous prints from the Renaissance era. The Madonna and Child painting hang in this room.
The Watson room. These rooms (comfortable retreats) were made for visiting guests. This was the only room of 33 guest bedrooms with twin beds. Guest spent their time having breakfast before the day, playing lawn tennis, reading, letter writing, croquet, hiking, hunting, and fishing. They called them “amusements.” The Watson room was named after James Watson, the engraver.
Next, you’ll go through the stone hallway. Make sure to check this out on my video. It’s very cool!
It’ll lead you into the Halloween room. These were paintings done by the Cecil family for a New Year’s party in 1925. They spent weeks painting the walls. I just think this room is so cool. It’s quite random.
This bowling alley was the first bowling alley to ever be built in a resident’s house. The servants had to set up the pins each time since they were not electric.
The gymnasium is also on this floor. Keeping healthy and fit were very popular in the twenties. When you don’t have phones and t.v. to waste your time with, you hit up the gym as a past time.
They say that the swimming pool is the most haunted room in the Biltmore, and I believe it. Each time I’ve been down there, I get the heavy feeling in my legs. It’s actually been experienced by many people! The pool held 70,000 gallons of water and was heated. It also still has it’s original underwater lights.
Down the hall are the vegetable pantry, the servant’s bedrooms, the pastry kitchen, rotisserie kitchen, main kitchen, laundry room, walk-in refrigerator, service entrance, kitchen pantry, and the list goes on…
One of the most important staff positions in the house was held by the Biltmore’s head chef. He lead a team of more than a dozen workers who were responsible for preparing all the meals for the Vanderbilts and their guests.
The pastry kitchen was kept separate from the main kitchen to protect Edith and Cornelia’s favorite cakes from the heat.
The servants had their own bedrooms and dining area. The servants each had their own private bedrooms that were comfortably furnished, which is very rare for that era. They were allowed two hours off daily, but were on call during that time, one afternoon and one evening off per week as well as a half-day every other Sunday. That is a ridiculous amount of time spent working.
Up to 30 servants had three meals a day in their designated dining room.
The Bachelor’s wing.
The billiard room did not deter females in this room. It was meant for enjoying refreshments and playing games like dominoes. The smoking room was meant for male gues to enjoy cigars, pipes, and brandy after dinner (like they did on the Titanic 😉) The gun room was to store their collection of guns used on their excursions.
There are some shops located on the right of the Biltmore estate. We stopped into the Bake Shop to grab a bottled water and some fruit before touring the gardens.
Outside, you’ll find gorgeous shaded terraces that have the most amazing views of the mountains. They’re covered in wisteria and trumpet creeper vines. The glass conservatory is breathtaking. If you love plants, don’t go in here, You’ll have a heart attack from the happiness overload! There is also a cafe and gardener’s shop on the lower level. I need to come back just to finish exploring this conservatory.
The conservatory was designed by Richard Morris Hunt. It provided all the flowers and plants to decorate the Biltmore house during its time.
I think my favorite was the rose garden. The garden is filled with giant rose displays and have over 40 rose varieties.
The gardens are filled with azaleas, shrub gardens, walled gardens, and Italian garden, and so much more.
We didn’t get to walk over to the bass pond and boathouse, but I’m saving that for fall. I’ve been twice now, but still feel like there is so much more to explore! You’ll definitely want to go multiple days if you’re visiting.
The ceiling of the conservatory was gorgeous.
I need this for my front porch 😊
The dress I’m wearing is from Target (imagine that?) And I even bought a similar one in black because I loved it so much. It’s the most comfortable overall dress I own! It’s a soft blush pink and under $30! You can find it here! It was one of those days where I was like “why not try it on?” without the intention of buying it, and then fell in love. I would never go for something like that, but that’s how we find the best pieces!
I’m the J.Crew t-shirt queen. I have about 100 of them because I wear them ALL THE TIME! This is one of my favorite white t-shirts. It fits so comfortably!
The bag is also from Target and my favorite bag ever. I also have the one that says “chives.” I think it’s only available in the stores because I couldn’t find it available online.
SO much walking. Make sure to wear light comfortable shoes!
After touring the gardens, we took a shuttle back to the car and drove to the winery!
On the drive to the winery, you’ll pass so much farmland, ponds, and horses! It’s just an overload of beauty to take in, and I love that there are no power lines or ugly street signs taking over this estate.
We pulled over a couple of times to take some photos and videos.
Last time I was here, I had lunch at Cedric’s Tavern! It’s really good. I’m still thinking about their honey mustard butter that went with their soft homemade butter rolls…
These did NOT look real….so gorgeous!
Off to the Biltmore winery! The last time I went here, I tried 24 wines on my 24th birthday…yikes!
Wine drinker or not, the winery is definitely a fun experience. And it’s free with your Biltmore ticket.
My favorite was the dessert wine 😊 We walked around the gift shops and bought a few things before leaving the winery.
We stopped in the creamery to pick up some baked goods after the winery but the line was so long. We decided to stop somewhere local on our drive home.
Time to pet some animals!
The two goats cuddling are brother and sister twins. Melts my heart ♥️
Baby chickens for sale. Not gonna lie, I wanted to take them all home.
I should probably get one of these if I’m going to have a farm one day (a girl can dream.)
We had so much fun at the Biltmore Estate and cannot wait to come back for another visit! I’m really hoping Christmas time.
We stopped in the Asheville Art District for coffee at Summit Coffe. If you can, definitely go explore this area! It’s pretty dang neat.
We both ordered oat milk lattes. I had to stay up for the drive home and still had Meighan’s going away party to attend as soon as I got back.
I also bought some local roasts to bring home for the week. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ll let you know how they are! I also bought the Biltmore’s roast.
Asheville is such a neat place to visit because there are so many different parts of the city to experience.
On the road back home! Thank you guys so much for reading this blog, and joining me for the adventure! Make sure to check out my video tour and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more!
I have another trip coming up next week, so let me know if you want me to do a video again!
Questions for you!
- Have you visited the Biltmore?
- Which room in the house was your favorite?
- Do you have any fall getaways planned?