Biltmore Estate, Asheville (1 hr from TN)
Print Leave a comment
The Biltmore Estate is a grand estate built in the most adorable French style. Inside the furnishings are rich and mostly deep red in color. There is a large balcony with a view of the countryside. An indoor pool, which was rare at the time, and had to be emptied after each swim because chlorine treatment wasn't invented yet, is in the basement. There is also an exercise room that is fun to see.
The self-guided audio tour takes you around the estate. There is one room, I think it might be at station #6, where you get stuck in this slow-moving line because photos of visitors (for sale at a steep price later) are being taken at the end. Skip out of this room to avoid the frustration.
The tour does not tell you anything about the Vanderbilts, who built the estate. It is quite flawed in that way, talking only about minute details of the rooms. My seven-year-old daughter was not interested in the kid's audio tour. The tour of the Flagler mansion in Florida was far more interesting, with information on how Henry Flagler made his riches.
After seeing the house, you can have a cookie at the bakery outside just adjacent to the house, or if the line is too long, a chocolate at the little chocolate shop.
You can walk (a short walk downhill) to the gardens. The formal Italian garden directly outside the house have lotus flowers in a pond and statues. It feels for a moment like you are in Europe.The greenhouse area is not nice but the gardens above it are filled to the brim with flowers. It's lovely!
Included in your ticket is a visit to a petting zoo and playground, and a wine tasting, all accessed on your drive out of the property.
This attraction, though gorgeous, was grossly overpriced. Even to visit Versailles in France, which is far more magical, costs less than half as much.
After your visit, walk around Asheville town and eat dinner at Mela Indian Restaurant for a real treat!
Photo GalleryClick on photo to see large version
Biltmore Estate is located at 1 Lodge St, Asheville NC 28803, call (800) 411-3812. You stop at the ticket office on your way in to buy tickets or pick up your tickets. Then you drive to another parking lot where you take a trolley to the mansion. Choose an early time to avoid crowds.
You must have a reservation to visit during busy times of year. Prices vary at different times of year and depending on whether you booked more than a week in advance or more than a day in advance. Worst price is $60 per adult aged 17 and up. Admission for children aged 10-16 at its worst is $30. Admission for children aged 9 and under is free. The price of admission is too high. Incredibly, these steep prices do not even include your audio tour- you must fork out another $10 each for it!
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.