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A house full of guests
George Vanderbilt created Biltmore as a private retreat, and often invited family and friends to stay and enjoy all the estate offered. The Vanderbilts were noted for their gracious hospitality and attention to detail that made a visit to Biltmore such a welcome experience.
From entries in the Biltmore House guest book, we have a wonderful record of those who visited the Vanderbilts, including political figures, authors, and industrialists—many of whom were close friends of George and Edith Vanderbilt.
Because travel was still a lengthy and unpredictable process at the turn of the last century, guests often planned to stay at Biltmore for several weeks at a time. If their maid or valet came with them, the visiting staff would also be graciously accommodated.
A Biltmore house party or special occasion might include any number of visitors who had arrived at different times. As author Edith Wharton noted in a letter written just after a 1905 Christmas celebration:
“Yesterday we had a big Xmas fete for the 350 people on the estate – a tree 30 ft. high, Punch & Judy, conjuror, presents & “refreshments.” It would have interested you, it was done so well & sympathetically, each person’s wants being thought of, from mother to last baby.”
The party of which she speaks included not only house guests, but also the families who lived and worked on the estate—a Vanderbilt Christmas tradition that continues today.
As we celebrate the opening of Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, we invite you to join us for a delightful new way experience America’s largest home in the heart of Antler Hill Village. From its comfortable, charming décor reminiscent of estate farmhouses and cottages to its lively gathering spaces, Village Hotel puts you in the center of activities, from shopping and dining to exploring America’s most-visited winery, outdoor adventures, and more.
Featured image: George Vanderbilt and "Cedric" with Vanderbilt's niece Adele, and her new husband Jay Burden; June 1896Return to Blog