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Buckspring Lodge: A Summer Retreat for Sheep

All Things Biltmore • 06/23/21

Written By Jean Sexton

In addition to Biltmore House, George Vanderbilt had another home on the estate’s original 125,000 acres: Buckspring Lodge.

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 terrain surrounding America’s Largest Home®.

George and Edith Vanderbilt at buckspring Lodge
George and Edith Vanderbilt sitting on the front steps of Buckspring Lodge.

An Elevated View

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

A flock of sheep being tended near Buckspring Lodge with Mount Pisgah in the background.
A flock of sheep being tended near Buckspring Lodge with Mount Pisgah in the background.

Family, Friends & Biltmore Sheep

In 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. 

Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village
Today, our Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village is your headquarters for estate exploration.

New Life for an Old Cabin

After 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.

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Laura Laplace
1 month ago

Im just curious what made her sell most of the Estate to the Federal Government in the first place. Then it states her Grandson inherited the property and then selling it to allow construction of Mt. Pisgah. My family comes from St. Barths in the French West Indies and my Grandfathers Family the LaPlace”s which is a huge family we are 1/17 sold property to their Government to build a Canal out to the Ocean. Iam my fathers only child. This has been going on for decades. I will be 57 next month. St. Barths when I went there was… Read more »

Ted M. Glasgow
1 month ago

Jean–here is my question. You mention “Point d’Acadie.” I have seen two letters to the Olmsted firm in which GWV spelled it both ways, with and without the “E” in “Point.” Any chance the Estate has a letter with the Estate’s name on top or some other piece of paper that clearly defines the way GWV spelled his estate in Maine? Always been hugely confusing. Olmsted’s firm continuously spelled it “Point” from the beginning. A French scholar has written a treatise about that it should be “Point,” but it only matters what GWV decided. a couple of years ago, I… Read more »

25 days ago
Reply to  Ted M. Glasgow

Thanks for the question, Ted. We will share it with Museum Services and see if they can provide an answer.

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