Off The Beaten Path: Hidden Gems of Biltmore
Written By Jean Sexton
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Discover the “hidden gems” of Biltmore Estate–special spots that may be off the beaten path, but are worth exploring during your next visit to this welcoming destination in Asheville, NC.
“Our guests tend to be familiar with Biltmore House and its historic gardens, but there are many hidden gems around the property that you might miss if you’re not looking for them,” said Bill Quade, Director of Horticulture.
The Vista and statue of Diana
At the top of the long, sloping Vista overlooking Biltmore House, you’ll find a marble statue of Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt, under a wooden arbor. Accompanied by one of her dogs, she gazes out over the landscape.
“The statue is beautiful all by itself,” said Bill, “but when you combine it with a perfect view of Biltmore House framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond it, it’s a spectacular place to have a picnic or watch the sunset.”
The Bass Pond is one of Biltmore’s hidden gems
The Bass Pond is located at the end of Biltmore’s formal gardens, and though it’s a bit of a walk, the end result is well worth it.
“Keep following the path through the Azalea Garden and you’ll come out at the Bass Pond,” Bill said. “There’s a rustic boathouse on the shore and a bridge over the waterfall at the far end. It’s a beautiful spot for seasonal color and birdwatching.”
Tip: The return trip to Biltmore House is uphill, so take your time and set your own pace. If you don’t have time to walk to the Bass Pond, you can drive to it and use one of the convenient pullouts along the way to park your car and admire this hidden gem designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the estate’s landscape architect.
Explore the Conservatory
Created as both an indoor garden filled with tropical treasures and a production greenhouse for nurturing plants, the Conservatory forms the back wall of the formal English-style Walled Garden.
“The design of Biltmore’s Conservatory was a collaboration between Biltmore’s architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted,” Bill said. “And we still maintain the original intent to showcase exotic specimens like orchids and palms, and we also grow some of the plants we use around the estate, like a portion of our Christmas poinsettias.”
Tip: There is always something blooming in the Conservatory, but orchids reach their peak during the cooler winter months.
Linger by the Lagoon
Just below the 250-acre Deer Park portion of the estate, Frederick Law Olmsted created the Lagoon as a peaceful, natural water feature that also serves to reflect the west facade of Biltmore House.
“The Lagoon is raised above the level of the French Broad River that flanks it, which helps keep the water at a more consistent level,” Bill noted. “It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy a picnic or watch for wildlife and waterfowl in every season. Many guests drive right by it on their way to Antler Hill Village and don’t realize they’ve missed another of Biltmore’s hidden gems.”
Tip: If you’re looking for a flat, easy trail with lovely views, park at Antler Hill Village and bike or walk the paved path all the way to the Lagoon and back.
More hidden gems of Biltmore Estate:
While we invite all our guests to enjoy finding some of these often-overlooked areas during your next visit, you may want to consider the benefits of purchasing a Biltmore Annual Pass. As a Passholder, you’ll receive exclusive benefits such as FREE unlimited visits for the next 12 months to discover your own hidden gems in every season!
Featured image: The Conservatory is a hidden gem of Biltmore that offers a tropical escape any time of year!