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A summer retreat for sheep

Posted on 04/26/2016 by Jean Sexton Comments(1)

After George Vanderbilt officially opened Biltmore House to his friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895, you might imagine that the building projects he envisioned for his grand estate were finished. That was not the case, however; the following year, Mr. Vanderbilt created a rustic, Adirondack-style retreat on the slopes of Mt. Pisgah. Located about 20 miles from Biltmore House, Buckspring Lodge was a world away from the elegantly landscaped estate in terms of elevation and terrain.

It was fashionable at that time for wealthy families to create summer retreats in the mountains or by the seashore, often spending the entire season away from their main residence. George Vanderbilt had already acquired a cottage in Bar Harbor, Maine which he enlarged and renamed Pointe d'Acadie, but he spent less time there after making Biltmore his permanent home, choosing instead to enjoy the cool heights and splendid views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

George and Edith Vanderbilt at Bucksprings LodgeIn addition to the main Buckspring Lodge building, which was designed by Biltmore architect Richard Morris Hunt and completed under the direction of his son Richard Howland Hunt, there was separate kitchen structure, a smaller guest cottage, and a stable that would eventually become a garage. Edith Vanderbilt added a garden and a tennis court to the site, and  guests could hike and hunt to their hearts' content. Family and friends weren’t the only visitors; however—a flock of Biltmore sheep spent time there, as well, providing effective "grounds maintenance" in return for their room and board. The sheep kept the grass short and added a pleasant pastoral note to the ambience of the Vanderbilt's private mountain retreat. 

Restored ranger's cabin in Antler Hill VillageAfter George Vanderbilt's death in 1914, Edith Vanderbilt sold most of the estate's Pisgah Forest land to the federal government to become a national forest. Her grandson George Cecil inherited the property, eventually selling it to allow unobstructed construction of the Mount Pisgah section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A ranger's cabin, constructed in 1912 of decades-old logs salvaged from early settler’s cabins on Vanderbilt’s Pisgah Forest tract, was removed from the site at that time and rebuilt in Asheville as a family home. In 2015, this historic cabin and some of its furnishings were donated to Biltmore. Now restored in Antler Hill Village, the cabin serves as the headquarters for our Outdoor Adventure Center and Land Rover Experience Driving School

Featured photo: woman feeding sheep at Buckspring Lodge

First photo above: George and Edith Vanderbilt on the porch of Buckspring Lodge

Second photo above: newly restored ranger's cabin in Antler Hill Village

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Posted on 08/18/2016 By Tamara B

I'm looking for pictures of an old farmhouse located on Antler Hill rd. from 1950-1975, my grandparents owned this home were i grew up since 1969, they both retired from the estate. The old house was tore down so i heard, broke my heart as we had wonderful memories. Any photos would be most appreciated.

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