Apparently George Vanderbilt did! He called it his “little mountain escape”.
We have been in the Asheville area before but never had the chance to tour this amazing house. Many of our friends have raved about it and it did not disappoint.
Some interesting facts:
Construction of the house began in 1889 and continued well into 1896. In order to facilitate such a large project, a woodworking factory and brick kiln, which produced 32,000 bricks a day, were built onsite and a three-mile railroad spur was constructed to bring materials to the building site. Construction on the main house required the labor of well over 1,000 workers and 60 stonemasons.
In an attempt to bolster the estate’s financial situation during the Great Depression, the family opened Biltmore to the public in March 1930 at the request of the City of Asheville, which hoped the attraction would revitalize the area with tourism.
Biltmore closed during World War II and in 1942, 62 paintings and 17 sculptures were moved to the estate by train from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. to protect them in the event of an attack on the United States.
The house is assessed at $157.2 million but due to an agricultural parcels, county property taxes are paid on only $79.1 million.
Biltmore has four acres of floor space and a total of 250 rooms in the house including 35 bedrooms for family and guests, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens and 19th-century novelties such as electric elevators, forced-air heating and centrally controlled clocks.
One of my favorite features was the indoor swimming pool and the gym. Unfortunately the pool was empty due to a leak and the gym didn’t quite match the quality of the Anytime Fitness locations we visit while on the road.
The winter garden room was stunning.
Who even thinks of a 3 story chandelier.
Even more amazing were the gardens! The gardens were created by Frederick Law Olmsted and if you are from Chicago you might remember that he helped design the landscaping for the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893. He was known as the father of American landscape architecture, also designed Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, and many other parks. He considered Biltmore is last great project.
There are 6 different kinds of gardens on the grounds, each with a specific theme. We were lucky to be there while the Chihuly exhibition was on display. The American Artist Dale Chihuly is well known for his glass works of art. It was stunning. From planning to installation, it has taken two years of preparation to host the exhibition at Biltmore.
2 perfectly posed angels ! Can you guess which one is real?
Well, we can mark that one off the bucket list.
Next stop, Chicago to see friends and family.