Last weekend I traveled to Asheville, NC to visit my best friend of 27 years, Erin, with my other bff, Karen, for her birthday. Luckily for Karen and I, Erin is a fabulous host and made plans for our stay which included a trip to the Biltmore Estate, which is a must see while in Asheville. Erin also happens to work for Biltmore so we got the inside scoop on all the history, facts, and legends of the estate.
The Biltmore Estate served as the country home to the Vanderbilt family and was constructed in 1895. The estate encompasses 8,000 acres of gardens and grounds and the house was modeled after a French Renaissance chateau and contains 250 rooms- in other words, its massive! The drive alone into the estate is called the "Approach Road" and is a winding 3-mile long road filled with beautiful landscaping, making you eager upon each turn that you will see the house and builds up anticipation. When we finally arrived at the house, the view was nothing short of what I was expecting- a gorgeous architecture masterpiece.
The Gardens & Grounds
We started our tour with the gardens which were absolutely stunning, colorful, and seriously impressive from a gardening perspective. The gardens have hundreds of plant and flower varieties, with the Rose Garden alone containing over 250 varieties! The landscaping was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who was America's first landscape architect and the Biltmore pays tribute to Olmsted by maintaining his original landscape designs on the grounds to this day.
After walking through the gardens, we lucked out in getting a tour time immediately and hurried into the house to start our self guided tour. The current exhibit in the house, Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film, includes the costumes from famous award-nominated films such as Emma and Sense and Sensibility throughout the rooms of the house and were displayed in a beautiful way with floral arrangements and soft lighting surrounding many of the costumes. I was mesmerized by the intricate design of the costumes and the detailing on them. I loved looking at the designs and comparing them to modern gowns we see today on the red carpets. Some of the costumes even had accompanying jewelry which included chokers- which is a huge trend right now! In fact, I was wearing a choker on the tour.
The tour takes you through three floors of the house showing the living and entertaining rooms, bedrooms, guests quarters, and the basement which includes a bowling alley, swimming pool, kitchen, and servants quarters. I was surprised to learn that many of the objects and artwork seen in the house are from the Vanderbilt's original collection! My favorite parts of the tour other than the exhibit were seeing the 16th century tapestries and wallpaper in each room. I know, this sounds silly, but the wallpaper was so cool- one room had leather wallpaper and another one had gold wallpaper. My favorite rooms were the Tapestry Room and Corneila Vanderbilt's luxurious bedroom. After our tour we treated ourselves to ice cream and then hit the Biltmore Village for wine tasting. The wine tasting and wine tours are included in the price of admission and definitely worth doing.
I was so impressed with all aspects of the Biltmore Estate- I cannot stress how beautiful the estate is, and the views of the mountains from the grounds are stunning. I'm eager to return to the estate to spend more time in the Biltmore Village area to try more wines from the winery, the restaurants, and the spa! Check out the Biltmore Estate online for more information and plan your visit.
Blonde in the District