If you are vacationing in Cashiers NC, you can be on the grounds of one of the country’s most breath-taking estates in about 90 minutes: the Biltmore. Situated in Asheville, NC, thousands of visitors each year tour the family home of George Vanderbilt. Opened to his friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895, the home was one of the largest undertakings in residential architecture at the time, according to the Biltmore website.
A community of workers and skilled craftsmen spent six years building the house, which had its own brick factory and woodworking shop. Architect Richard Morris Hunt modeled the design on a 16th century French châteaux. The house spans 4 acres and boasts 250 rooms (35 bedrooms, 43 bedrooms and 65 fireplaces).
The 125,000 acres surrounding the house are just as spectacular with the Blue Ridge Mountain as the backdrop. They were developed by Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of landscape architecture. Many of the country’s parks were developed under Olmsted’s influence, including Central Park in New York City.
With 250 rooms in the house and 125,000 acres of outdoor space, plan to spend the day at the Biltmore so you can soak up all the attraction has to offer. Here are some summertime highlights:
- Take advantage of the deals. Kids 16 and younger receive free admission through Labor Day. Families also can purchase a value package that includes admission for two adults and two children plus a family dining voucher for $140. Regular tickets purchased at least seven days in advance receive $15 off the price of admission.
- Turn the kids loose in Antler Hill Village, a maze of 500 trees, plus the new Pisgah Playground. Tour the barn with antique farm equipment and plenty of chickens, roosters, goats, horses and sheep.
- The Biltmore winery offers wine tastings (with grape juice for kids) plus restaurants with everything from barbecue to fine dining.
- Explore the outdoors through fly fishing, courses at the Land Rover Driving School or take in the views from the rooftop of the Biltmore house. The grounds have 22 miles of trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding.
On July 25, the Biltmore kicks off a summer concert series featuring Heart, Sheryl Crow, Casting Crowns, The Beach Boys, The Temptations & The Four Tops, and comedian Bill Engvall. Be sure to check ticket availability in advance as some concerts are almost sold out. Local bands provide free entertainment each Friday through August at the Antler Hill Village Green and Bandstand.