This was the high light of my Asheville trip. I didn't know that America's largest home was in this town, and when I found out that it was I could not miss it for the world. Anticipation grew as we drove in trough the entrance. We passed through a beautiful arched stone gate and drove for about two miles in before reaching the visitor center. Just the drive had turned out to be more than I expected.
After purchasing the $38 ticket to get in we had to drive another 4 miles to the parking lot near the Biltmore mansion. I could not believe the vastness of the land and that one family owned this. It was way too much to take. Winding roads lead to forest areas, meadows, and small bridges. Anticipation was growing even more. After leaving the car in the parking lot we had to walk through this path to the house. It seemed like a never ending thing to get to this house.
After less than five minutes of walking through trees you come to the side of the road and as you take a peak through the plants you can see the iron gates open for cars to go in. This was it, I was finally going to see it.
And there it was, the Biltmore House in all its grandeur. This was the creation of George Vanderbilt more than 100 years ago. He was the youngest son of Cornelius Vanderbilt "The Commodore," who made his wealth with a line of 100 steamboats and later increased his business in the railroad industry.
Unlike his father and brother William Henry Vanderbilt, George was interested in cultural qualities such as learning, art, and travel. It was on one of his trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina when he found the land where in 1889-1895 he would build a working estate that would sustain itself and benefit the community. This estate would feature acres of gardens, parklands, and managed forests and would be called the Biltmore Estate.
As you can see from these pictures the architecture is amazing. But it gets better and better. Unfortunately when you go into the house to take the self tour of most of the house you are greeted with a sign that says "NO CAMERAS." What a bummer, there was so much to look at inside. Have never seen so much splendor and grandness in my life.
Of course, being the bad boy that I am I snuck a few pictures here and there while inside. These images will be part of the next post. For now enjoy the outside of this house.