8 Great Reasons for a Fall Visit to Biltmore

Biltmore Estate’s ever-changing autumnal color, plus its many seasonal activities and offerings, make it the perfect home base for a fall visit. While there are certainly more than 8 great reasons to plan a fall visit to Biltmore, like the fact that the season is prime vacation time for those who love “leaf-peeping” in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite reasons to add Biltmore to your travel list this fall.

8 great reasons to visit Biltmore this fall
Biltmore House surrounded by gorgeous fall color

1. A prime location in Asheville, NC

Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Biltmore is located minutes from downtown Asheville—a vibrant city known for great dining, quaint shops, and its strong arts community—and just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. In addition to soaking in all that your fall visit to Biltmore has to offer, we recommend enjoying the natural beauty and history of the surrounding area, including Pisgah National Forest.

8 great reasons to visit Biltmore this fall
In addition to enjoying our Building Biltmore House exhibition, enhance your visit with a Rooftop Tour that includes spectacular views and stories.

2. Long-range views from the rooftop of America’s Largest Home®

Discover spectacular views boasting every shade of fall color as far as the eye can see from Biltmore’s rooftops! This guest-favorite guided tour offers wildly impressive photo ops—during autumn, especially—and provides a closer look at the design and construction of Biltmore House in areas that many guests never visit.

Each year, the Walled Garden boasts a new, vibrant display of mums!
Each year, the Walled Garden boasts a new, vibrant display of mums!

3. A festive display of fall colors

In addition to the ever-changing hues of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, Biltmore’s gardens and grounds come alive with vibrant mums, colorful floral displays, and fall foliage that you will not want to miss! Even though we don’t officially kick off our Christmas season until early November, you’ll also have the chance to catch a sneak peek of what our team has in store for the upcoming festivities during your fall visit to Biltmore!

Learn about Biltmore's farming history at The Farmyard!
Learn about Biltmore’s farming history at The Farmyard!

5. Afternoons in Antler Hill Village

All aboard for family fun around our charming, European-inspired Antler Hill Village! What better time of year to learn about Biltmore’s farming legacy at Antler Hill Barn and The Farmyard than during harvest season? Savor the bounty of our fields at our estate restaurants and award-winning Winery. Discover stories of the Vanderbilt family and their travels as you experience your own getaway with your loved ones.

Deerpark Carriage & Trail Ride Barn
Explore our 8,000-acre estate by carriage, horseback, and more.

6. Outdoor adventures for all

A fall visit to Biltmore beckons you to enjoy the crisp air and glorious fall colors of our great outdoors! Go hiking or biking along our nearly 22 miles of paved and unpaved trails on our private, 8,000-acre estate. Admire the scenery along the French Broad River, through lush green forests, or in the open meadows of the estate. Stop by the Bike Barn or Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village for a detailed trail map and orientation. Whether you prefer a relaxing journey in an elegant Carriage Ride or Horseback Trail Ride, few things are as majestic as traveling our woodland trails enveloped in fall color.

Grapes are picked by hand in Biltmore’s vineyard on the west side of the estate.
Grapes are picked by hand in Biltmore’s vineyard on the west side of the estate.

7. Vineyard harvest season

Biltmore’s bounty takes center stage at the Winery in Antler Hill Village as we celebrate the harvest season. Savor complimentary tastings of handcrafted wines and learn how science and nature intersect as you learn about the estate’s vineyards, discover the unique factors that affect grapes grown in North Carolina, and take an in-depth look at our winemaking process.

Fall color at The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Autumn’s beauty is right outside your door with an overnight stay on Biltmore Estate!

8. The ultimate fall getaway

An overnight stay on Biltmore Estate offers the unique experience of waking up with sprawling autumnal beauty just outside your door. Enjoy warm hospitality in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere at the charming Village Hotel, experience world-class service with a luxurious four-star stay at The Inn, or truly get away this fall with a stay in one of our private, historic Cottages.  

Plan your getaway and discover for yourself why Biltmore is the perfect home base for your fall visit and year-round with an Annual Pass membership.

Live “La Dolce Vita” at Biltmore

Live la dolce vita–the sweet life–at Biltmore this summer, just as the Vanderbilts and their guests did more than a century ago.

Inspiration from Italy and Europe

Family taking a selfie in front of Biltmore House
Capture each memorable moment of the sweet life at Biltmore this summer!

“The idea of la dolce vita is Italian, and it translates to ‘the sweet life’,” said Lauren Henry, Curator of Interpretation. “It embodies the idea of living each moment as it unfolds, and enjoying it for itself. It’s an inspirational way of life that George Vanderbilt experienced during his travels in Italy and other delightful destinations, and it helped him envision Biltmore as a place where his family and friends could enjoy the same timeless feeling.”

The Conservatory at Biltmore surrounded by summer gardens
Biltmore’s historic grounds, including the Conservatory in the English-style Walled Garden, are the perfect place to experience the sweet life.

From the French Renaissance-style architecture of Biltmore House, designed by famed architect Richard Morris Hunt, to the glorious gardens and grounds created by legendary landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, Biltmore Estate brought classic European sensibilities to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.

“George Vanderbilt assembled a real ‘dream team’ to bring Biltmore to life,” Lauren said. “Together they created a distinctly European-style estate, but with an expansive feel and modern technologies that were hallmarks of the American Gilded Age.”

Discover la dolce vita at Biltmore

Painted ceiling of the Library at Biltmore
The Chariot of Aurora by Italian artist Giovanni Pelligrini graces the ceiling of the Library in Biltmore House

You can still capture the magic of la dolce vita as you explore Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, touched at every turn by inspiration from the Vanderbilts’ journeys around the world.

Inside Biltmore House you’ll discover paintings, sculptures, and objets d’art to delight your mind and buoy your spirits in true la dolce vita fashion, including these highlights:

  • Salon—look for two original landscapes by French Impressionist artist Claude Monet. Both Strada Romana à Bordighera and Belle-Île, le chenal de Port-Goulphar have recently been restored to their late-19th-century vibrance.
  • Tapestry Gallery—Study the three Renaissance-era silk and wool tapestries that this 90-foot-long room was designed to display. Woven in Brussels circa 1530, the set was originally part of the The Triumph of the Seven Virtues.
  • Library—the ceiling was created to showcase Chariot of Aurora by Giovanni Pelligrini, an 18th-century painting comprised of thirteen separate canvases that depict the Roman goddess of the dawn.

Fresh air gives fresh perspectives

Couple in the Conservatory at Biltmore
The Conservatory at Biltmore is a a wonderful way to experience a tropical getaway while visiting the estate!

Explore miles of scenic trails across the estate by walking, hiking, or biking at your own preferred pace. Here are some of our favorite spots:

  • Conservatory—this elegant, glass-topped greenhouse captures the historic and modern balance of the estate as exotic botanicals popular in the Vanderbilt era overlap with plants we propagate for seasonal displays.
  • Bass Pond—walk down from the gardens to view the newly restored island that was part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s original landscape design.
  • Lagoon—spend some time at this scenic spot on the road to Antler Hill Village—it’s perfect for picnicking and for admiring the reflection of Biltmore House in the water.

Savor la dolce vita

Mother and daughter enjoying ice cream cones at Biltmore
The sweet life is even sweeter with ice cream treats from the Creamery in Antler Hill Village.

Whether you’ve worked up a bona fide appetite or simply need a refreshment respite, there are choices to please every palate when you dine at Biltmore:

Ice cream—indulge in a scoop (or two!) of fresh-churned ice cream and other sweet treats from The Biltmore Dairy Bar® adjacent to Biltmore House or the Creamery in Antler Hill Village.

Biltmore wine—Savor a complimentary tasting at Biltmore’s Winery to sip award-winning vintages, then pair your favorites–including Italian varietals like our Biltmore Estate® Pinot Grigio and Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sangiovese–with charcuterie, cheeses, and chocolates next door at our relaxing Wine Bar. Choose outdoor seating to make la vita as dolce as possible!

Field-to-table freshness

Couple dining outdoors at Biltmore
Enjoy a wide range of fine and casual dining options while visiting Biltmore.

Enjoy fine and casual dining options featuring estate-raised and locally sourced dishes. Favorites include our European-style Bistro at the Winery, English pub far at Cedric’s® Tavern in Antler Hill Village, and four-star, white-linen luxury at The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.

Encounter Europe like never before

Several guests immersed in the Italian Renaissance Alive exhibition at Biltmore
Immerse yourself in the grand multi-sensory experience of Italian Renaissance Alive at Biltmore!

You won’t need a passport to undertake a European odyssey when you visit our newest exhibition as we host Italian Renaissance Alive, created and produced by Grande Experiences, now through January 7, 2024, on the grounds of the estate.

With the purchase of an exhibition ticket, you’ll be surrounded on all sides by the sights and sounds of some of the most remarkable masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, and more. There’s even a signature scent to enhance your experience.

Postcard exhibition at Biltmore
Ciao! From Italy features large-scale sculptural postcards based on the Vanderbilts’ travels in Italy.

Continue your old-world travels with our Ciao! From Italy Sculptural Postcards display in Antler Hill Village. Created by the artists from Applied Imagination using botanical materials such as bark, pine cones, pods, and leaves, each oversized 4’x6’ image highlights the Vanderbilts’ visits to Italy, complete with quotes from George Vanderbilt himself.

This charming complement to Italian Renaissance Alive is including with estate admission now through February 19, 2024.

Discover la dolce vita at Biltmore for yourself!

Woman in a bathrobe admiring the view at The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Embrace la dolce vita at The Inn on Biltmore Estate or one of our other properties.

Come to Biltmore this summer to create your own memories of living la dolce vita, and make your visit even sweeter with an overnight stay at The Inn on Biltmore Estate®️, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate®️, or one of our private historic Cottages on Biltmore Estate.

Featured blog image: A Biltmore guest enjoys la dolce vita with a flute of sparkling wine on the terrace of The Inn on Biltmore Estate. Photo courtesy of @georgia_sheffield.

Every Day is Earth Day: Sustainability at Biltmore

Sustainability is at the heart of what we do here at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, but we treat every day as Earth Day.

“Biltmore prides itself on its commitment to environmental stewardship, and as a company, we are always searching for ways to make our business practices more sustainable,” says Kimber Jones, our Agriculture & Natural Resources Coordinator. One of Kimber’s primary responsibilities is leading our environmental programs.

“Earth Day is a great opportunity to recognize the work we already have done, as well as our continued dedication to being good stewards of this planet and the natural resources on the estate.”

Kimber Jones, head of Biltmore’s sustainability efforts, is pictured here at the estate’s apiary—one of our many environmental programs.
Kimber Jones, head of Biltmore’s sustainability efforts, is pictured here at the estate’s apiary—one of our many environmental programs.

Honoring George Vanderbilt’s Vision of Sustainability

When George Vanderbilt began planning his grand estate, his vision was twofold. First, he wanted to create a place where he could relax and entertain friends and family.

Second, he envisioned a self-sustaining estate that would nurture the land and its resources for years to come. From this vision came the nation’s first scientific forestry program and the beginning of a family focus on the environment.

We continue to honor his vision today by acting as good stewards of our land, forest, and livestock resources. Here are some highlights of our sustainability efforts here at Biltmore:

Kimber Jones and Eli Winkenwerder take us behind the scenes to look at Biltmore’s state-of-the-art composting facility that began operating in early 2023.

Estate Composting

In the early years of Biltmore Estate, Frederick Law Olmsted recommended that George W. Vanderbilt use manure to fertilize and restore the depleted farmland he had purchased in Asheville, North Carolina. Over a century later, our teams at Biltmore operate a state-of-the-art composting facility that serves a vital role in converting waste into valuable, usable products to be used elsewhere on our 8,000-acre estate.

One of our most steadfast sustainability programs is our hydroponic greenhouses, which provide greens for all of our full-service restaurants.
One of our most steadfast sustainability programs is our hydroponic greenhouses, which provide greens for all of our full-service restaurants.

Cultivating Hydroponic Greens

To honor our legacy of agricultural excellence, the benefits of hydroponics are undeniable. In addition to higher and more consistent yields, the system is more efficient in protecting plants from pests and uses less water than standard field irrigation. We currently grow almost a dozen varieties of lettuce and other leafy greens in the estate hydroponic greenhouse.

Goats on the estate work hard and play hard, spending time in kidding around in the Farmyard as well as working to clear various estate areas of invasive species.
Goats on the estate work hard and play hard, spending time in kidding around in the Farmyard as well as working to clear various estate areas of invasive species.

Working Goats

Land is one of Biltmore’s most valuable resources, and to help preserve it more sustainably, larger pastures for livestock are divided into smaller paddocks with animals rotated through them every few days.

The practice of rotational grazing is a prime example of sustainability, allowing plants more time to regrow and replenish their root systems, increasing the quality and quantity of on-site foraging, reducing the need for labor-intensive harvesting, and increasing soil health for better agricultural outcomes.

Additionally, our goats eat invasive plant species such as autumn olive and porcelain berry. They are especially useful in keeping steep slopes trimmed and tidy, allowing maintenance crews to take on other projects and reducing some diesel fuel usage in equipment.

Biltmore is a certified Monarch Waystation, meaning the estate provides resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.
Biltmore is a certified Monarch Waystation, meaning the estate provides resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.

Protecting Pollinators

We have also embarked on an effort to support the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) by planting native milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) to provide vital habitat for this threatened species. Milkweed is the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs—and it is the only plant that their young caterpillars eat before transforming into beautiful orange and black butterflies.

In becoming a certified Monarch Waystation, our hope is that as the monarchs’ path of migration takes them through Asheville and the mountains of Western North Carolina on their way to Mexico, we can encourage growth in their waning populations.

Sustainability can mean beauty! Wildflowers on the estate helps to encourage a robust ecosystem on the estate—and provides gorgeous color for our guests.
Cultivating wildflowers on the estate helps to encourage a robust ecosystem on the estate—and provides additional beauty for our guests.

Welcoming Wildflowers

Beyond milkweed, we plant other pollinator-friendly wildflowers to help play our part in preventing the widespread demise of a variety of important species—including hummingbirds, bees, moths, and more.

We cultivate more than 30 varieties of wildflowers across 2.5 acres in order to attract and support these small, but vital native animals. This program encourages a more diverse, and thus resilient, ecosystem both on the estate and in the surrounding region.

Our solar panels occupy just 9 acres on the estate, but are able to support up to 20% of the estate’s energy needs.
Our solar panels occupy just 9 acres on the estate, but are able to support up to 20% of the estate’s energy needs.

Harnessing Solar Energy

Along with the sustainability initiatives noted above, Biltmore has implemented a 9-acre, 1.7-megawatt solar system with 7,000 solar panels and uses advanced technology to perform, even on cloudy days.

These panels provide up to 20% of the estate’s energy needs. Sheep and chickens occasionally graze in the solar fields, keeping the land agricultural.  

Our cork recycling efforts are just one of the many estate initiatives led by employees on our Corporate Social Responsibility Team.
Our cork recycling efforts are just one of the many estate initiatives led by employees on our Corporate Social Responsibility Team.

Practicing Sustainability through Corporate Social Responsibility

In addition to these sustainability practices, Biltmore encourages employees to become members of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Team that focuses on reducing, reusing, and recycling for the estate.

From the efforts mentioned here to so many more, we invite you to learn more about our ever-growing program of sustainable estate practices as we work to be great stewards of the land—just as George Vanderbilt intended.

Painting Conservation For A Landmark Destination

A painting conservation project for two original landscapes by Impressionist artist Claude Monet is just one of many preservation-related efforts that help make Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, such a landmark destination.

Creating an impression

Claude Monet's signature on an original oil painting
Along with his signature, Claude Monet’s paintings show the characteristic style of his brush strokes.

“From 1860–1905, a dynamic group of Paris-based artists led by Claude Monet challenged the norm and began painting in a much less formal manner than the Old Masters who came before them,” said Meghan Forest, Associate Curator.

Monet’s work followed the textures of his subjects; the length of his brush strokes mimicked flowers and foliage, rippling water, and boats and structures. It was his 1872 painting Impression, Sunrise that sparked the term “Impressionists” from an art critic who felt this new style had an unfinished look.

The trailblazing group of artists took the name as their own, arousing even more interest and curiosity about the new way of creating and viewing art.

George Vanderbilt collected Impressionist art

Two paintings of children by Renoir
(L-R) “Young Algerian Girl” and “Child with an Orange” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Both are on display in the Breakfast Room of Biltmore House.

True to his visionary approach, George Vanderbilt was an early adopter of the new Impressionist movement. His affinity for the style ultimately resulted in a collection of 16 Impressionist paintings by Monet, Renoir, Maufra, Manet, and Whistler.

Strada Romana a Bordighera
“Strada Romana a Bordighera,” an Italian landscape by Claude Monet, is installed in the Salon at Biltmore House.

“Mr. Vanderbilt purchased three paintings by Claude Monet, and two of them remain in the Biltmore collection,” said Meghan. “One is a landscape entitled Strada Romana à Bordighera. Monet captured this colorful Italian scene in 1884 and Vanderbilt purchased it from Durand-Ruel, a noted dealer of Impressionist art, in 1892.”

Belle-Île, le chenal de Port-Goulphar seascape painting by Claude Monet
“Belle-Île, le chenal de Port-Goulphar” by Claude Monet is part of the Biltmore collection and is now displayed in the Salon of Biltmore House.

In addition, Vanderbilt acquired a Monet seascape entitled Belle-Île, le chenal de Port-Goulphar, painted in 1886.

“When we examined the paintings for display in Biltmore House, we found that they were structurally stable, but there was a layer of varnish that was added in the early 1980s that had grayed and dulled over time and there were a few areas where paint had begun to flake off,” Meghan said.

The process of painting conservation

Meghan Forest, Associate Curator with Biltmore’s Museum Services team, gives an overview of George Vanderbilt as a collector and shows highlights of the painting conservation process for the two Monets in the collection.

Biltmore worked with painting conservator Ruth Cox who has treated a number of works in our private collection.

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Ruth offers a wide range of professional services for the conservation of easel paintings in museum and private collections.

“Ruth worked in stages to carefully remove the synthetic varnish and add paint to the areas where there was paint loss so that the paintings could look as close as possible to how they would’ve looked when Monet completed them in the late 1800s,” said Meghan.

In addition, the materials Ruth used for painting conservation are readily distinguishable by scholars and reversible so that future conversation can be accomplished more easily.

“The total conservation process for each painting took about 4-6 months, so it was nearly a year before both were ready for display,” Meghan noted.

See the results for yourself

Two men handle a landscape painting by Claude Monet
Trip Hudgins and Greg Schmidt carefully lift Monet’s “Strada Romana a Bordighera” painting in its ornate frame.

Plan a visit to Biltmore so you can see the results of this painting conservation work for yourself. Both paintings are displayed in the Salon on the First Floor of Biltmore House. Take time to see Monet’s process up close, including his brushwork, atmospheric effects, and study of light.

Featured blog image: (L-R) Trip Hudgins, Engineering Operation Manager; Lori Garst, Curator; Nancy Rosebrock, Director of Conservation and Collections; and Greg Schmidt, Engineering Services, examine Belle-Île, le chenal de Port-Goulphar by Monet before hanging it in the Salon at Biltmore House.

Outstanding In Our Field: Biltmore’s Farming Legacy

When it comes to our farm history, Biltmore is truly outstanding in the field. We continue to honor our agricultural legacy today by connecting our present and future initiatives to our historic past.

As part of our farm history, we raise heritage hog breeds that George Vanderbilt favored
One way we continue our farming legacy is by raising some of the same heritage breeds that George Vanderbilt favored like these Berkshire hogs.

When George Vanderbilt began planning his grand estate in Asheville, North Carolina, his vision was twofold. First, he wanted to create a place where he could relax and entertain friends and family. Just as important, however, was his desire to preserve the Blue Ridge Mountain beauty surrounding his him.

In choosing Frederick Law Olmsted, world-renown landscape architect, to design the grounds of Biltmore, Vanderbilt was not only setting the stage for some of the most remarkable gardens in America, he was also availing himself of Olmsted’s years of experience in managing vast tracts of public and private land.

Olmsted’s advice

Archival image of men cutting hay at Biltmore
Archival photograph of our farming history: estate workers harvesting hay at Biltmore

After visiting the property in 1889 with Vanderbilt, Olmsted wrote: “My advice would be to make a small park into which to look from your house; make a small pleasure ground and garden, farm your river bottom chiefly to keep and fatten live stock with view to manure; and make the rest a forest, improving the existing woods and planting the old fields.”

Vanderbilt agreed with Olmsted’s recommendations, including the suggestion that agricultural operations be developed and that Vanderbilt implement Olmsted’s long-term plan for sustainability. From this decision came the nation’s first planned forestry program and the beginning of a family focus on environmental stewardship that continues today with George Vanderbilt’s descendants who still own and manage Biltmore.

Farmer Vanderbilt

An archival photo of our farming history at Biltmore
Archival image of the Historic Horse Barn and Line House Cottages for Biltmore Dairy employees.

Agricultural operations at Biltmore were intended to achieve three goals: supplying dairy products, meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables for use in Biltmore House; providing income through sales of farm products; and serving as a learning laboratory in successful farming for farmers and educators.

Receipts and invoices in the estate’s archives document the construction of farm buildings and cottages, the purchase of animals, supplies and equipment, and the hiring of farm staff beginning as early as September 1889.

Archival photo of estate workers and residents at the Market Gardener's Cottage at Biltmore
Agricultural workers and estate residents at the Market Gardener’s Cottage, photographed in front of an elaborate display of estate-raised produce,

Agricultural programs included beef, pork, and poultry farms, an apiary, vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, hay for livestock, and more. The most successful of these initiatives would be Biltmore Dairy, which eventually became one of the largest operations in the southeast.

Modern forestry

Biltmore Forestry
Our emphasis on managed forestry continues today across the estate.

Today, more than 4,000 acres of the estate are managed under a plan written by a certified consulting forester. We utilize selection harvest in 15-year rotations, allowing a chance for different species to grow and mature.

Instead of focusing on just a profitable bottom line, Biltmore strives to create a true multiuse sustainable forest: one that provides healthy wildlife habitats, beautiful aesthetics, recreation opportunities, and the ability to persist for generations to come.

Today’s agricultural operations

Man standing in front of cattle
Kyle Mayberry, Director of Agriculture, oversees Biltmore’s current farming operations.

Biltmore currently farms approximately 2,500 acres of land. This includes our estate vineyards, cropland for grains and forages, pasturage for cattle, chickens, hogs, sheep, and horses, and greenhouses that supply estate restaurants with fresh produce.

To help preserve one of its most valuable resources—the land—Biltmore seeks to continue the tradition of resource stewardship by following best agricultural practices including rotational grazing of livestock; rotating crops on a four-year cycle to help reduce soil erosion and increase soil fertility; and using goats to control invasive plant species in areas of steep terrain, which allows maintenance crews to take on other projects while reducing some diesel fuel usage in equipment.

Connect past and present farm history in Antler Hill Village

Young girl with chickens at Farmyard in Antler Hill Village
Hidden gems: meet friendly farm animals at the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village.

Biltmore continues to honor George Vanderbilt’s legacy of preserving the land and protecting the environment through many ecological, recycling, and alternative energy programs.

In addition, we showcase our agricultural history at Antler Hill Barn located in Antler Hill Village where you can see antique farming equipment, watch craft demonstrations, and visit friendly farm animals at the Farmyard.

Featured image: Archival image of Edith Vanderbilt operating a farm tractor while her daughter Cornelia and others watch.

George Vanderbilt: A Thoughtful Wine Collector

George Vanderbilt was a thoughtful wine collector, whether at home or abroad.

Taste and style were two hallmarks of his life, and both are reflected throughout Biltmore—his private country estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

Visually stunning and technologically advanced, Biltmore House is a testament to Vanderbilt’s vision.

A Thoughtful Collector

Discover Biltmore white wines for outdoor entertaining
George Vanderbilt’s legacy of gracious hospitality lives on with Biltmore wines handcrafted from grapes grown in the estate’s own vineyard or selected from trusted west coast partners

George Vanderbilt was well-known as a collector, travelling the world gathering art, sculpture, furniture, and books. He also enjoyed wine, frequently purchasing it abroad and bringing cases of wine back to his home in Asheville to share with his family and friends.

Vanderbilt’s gracious hospitality was legendary, and a visit to his home was characterized by the best in comfort, entertainment, and attention to every detail, including the wines that graced his table and delighted his guests.

Man in a suit examining the library of Biltmore wines in the Winery
Wine cellars don’t have to be stuffy–evaluate your space and your lifestyle for options!

Wine research at Biltmore

In 2008, wine consultant John Hailman visited Biltmore to look at Vanderbilt’s wine cellar and the vintages stored there, and to review wine-related notes and correspondence from the Vanderbilt era.

Having been a wine columnist for the Washington Post, with his work nationally syndicated for more than a decade, Hailman is considered one of the foremost authorities on wine. In 2006, he wrote Thomas Jefferson on Wine, an examination of Jefferson’s influence as a wine connoisseur and collector in the early days of the nation.

Archival Bltmore wine receipt
A portion of an archival receipt for a wine and spirits order to be delivered to Biltmore House

Through Hailman’s research, we now have a better understanding of George Vanderbilt as a thoughtful wine collector. Archival correspondence, notes, and receipts suggest that Vanderbilt was well-versed in wines, purchasing those he enjoyed sharing.

Vanderbilt was also a practical buyer, preferring high quality vintages at reasonable prices, such as wines from Chateau Pontet-Canet which is still in business today in the Bordeaux wine region of France.

“Good enough for anybody”

Celebrate with Biltmore sparkling wines
Our handcrafted Biltmore bubbles make any occasion more special

Vanderbilt’s trusted wine purveyor Alexander Morten was known for his excellent taste and recommendations, and would have been a worthy provisioner for the Vanderbilt lifestyle. George Vanderbilt relied upon Morten’s suggestions and his outstanding contacts in the industry. In one letter dated February 14, 1914, Morten advises Vanderbilt on a particular vintage for an upcoming ball, suggesting:

“As to Champagne for a ball:- I can strongly recommend Pierlot 1906. This is a good, sound vintage wine, price $32.50, and is used almost exclusively by many of our customers for dances and entertainments of that ilk. If you have the slightest hesitation, however, I can recommend Pol Roger 1906; price $36. We also have Krug, Clicquot and Pommery of 1906 and 1904; but these are more expensive. The Pierlot is good enough for anybody.”

This letter is particularly poignant, as George Vanderbilt passed away in Washington, DC, just a month after he received this letter. We don’t know what type of ball the Vanderbilts might have been planning, but the preparations were apparently abandoned after Mr. Vanderbilt’s unexpected death.

“You have only to examine the amount and variety of crystal and stemware in the Biltmore collection—glasses for every possible occasion and type of beverage—to see the importance of wines and spirits as an integral part of dining and entertaining,” said Lauren Henry, curator of interpretation.

Crystal glasses with George Vanderbilt's monogram
Delicate crystal glasses with George Vanderbilt’s monogram on the Banquet Hall table

“Knowing that George Vanderbilt collected and enjoyed wine—and served it to his guests—forges a very real and logical connection between the Vanderbilts and the wine business their descendants have developed and continue to nurture today,” Lauren said.

Savor Biltmore Wines

Two couples enjoying white wine outdoors
Enjoy Biltmore wines while visiting the estate or savor them at home

Be sure to visit Biltmore’s Winery and enjoy a complimentary tasting of some of our most popular wines. Relax and enjoy our wines by the bottle or glass at the adjacent Wine Bar, then stock up on your favorite vintages at estate shops or online.

Featured blog image: John Singer Sargent portrait of George Vanderbilt paired with a selection of our fine Biltmore wines, including our Antler Hill series

Moving into America’s Largest Home®

Moving into America’s Largest Home would be a work in progress for George Vanderbilt as Biltmore House was not quite finished for his October 1895 move-in date.

Have you ever moved into a custom-designed new home? If you have, you know that the punch list never seems quite buttoned-up on moving day. Little details seem to linger even after the last box is unpacked—and it was no different for George Vanderbilt’s magnificent new house in Asheville, North Carolina.

A ground-breaking project

Archival image of America's Largest Home under construction
Archival image of Biltmore House under construction, May 8, 1894

Ground was broken in 1889, and during the course of the six years that followed, George Vanderbilt remained in close touch with Biltmore House lead architect Richard Morris Hunt, supervising architect Richard Sharp Smith, and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Hunt passed away in August 1895, just months before Vanderbilt moved in, but Sharp Smith was able to complete the plan.

Archival image of the Brick Farm House, circa 1889
Archival image of the Brick Farm House, circa 1889

When he came to stay for periods of time at the construction site, George Vanderbilt stayed in what was called the Brick Farm House, a property he purchased from Asheville entrepreneur B. J. Alexander in 1889. Sharp Smith renovated the property, which included a mill and farm buildings, so that it was comfortable enough to accommodate Vanderbilt and his project team when they visited to check on the estate’s progress.

In the months leading up to the official opening, carpentry and cabinetry were among the final touches. With George Vanderbilt’s move-in scheduled for October, archival information shows that Richard Sharp Smith hired 16 additional cabinetmakers to speed up progress.

Archival photo of some of the contractors who built America's Largest Home
Biltmore House contractors, including Richard Sharp Smith (second from right), circa 1892

Finishing the last details of America’s Largest Home

On his first night at Biltmore, George Vanderbilt slept in the Bachelors’ Wing because his bedroom wasn’t finished. There was another issue, too, described in the papers of Frederick Law Olmsted:

When the water was turned on in the stable… to get ready for the servants to occupy, it was found that it would not go up to the second floor where the servants [sic] rooms are.

The problem was soon fixed and water flowed a few days later, but there were still a few outstanding details to hammer out. With family and friends expected for Christmas 1895, Sharp Smith hired an additional 10 cabinetmakers in December. While almost all the carpentry was finally completed in 1896, additional cabinetry projects extended into 1897.

Front façade of America's Largest Home
View of front façade of Biltmore House

Plan your visit today

Today, when you visit Biltmore Estate, you can see first-hand the incredible attention to detail that went into every aspect of America’s Largest Home. But as you might imagine, even this architectural masterpiece was subject to the challenges faced in any home-building project. By seeing the vision of the project through until the end, George Vanderbilt and his design and construction team created a landmark with enduring quality that we still enjoy today, more than 125 years later.

Biltmore: Olmsted’s Living Masterpiece of Landscape Design

Biltmore is a living masterpiece of landscape design thanks to the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, the estate’s landscape architect.

Celebrating Olmsted’s Bicentennial

Family walking in Olmsted's mature landscape design at Biltmore
From formal gardens to woodland spaces, explore Olmsted’s living masterpiece at Biltmore

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth, and Biltmore is one of 120 organizations nationwide coming together as Olmsted 200: Parks for All People to create 12 months of programming and events designed to strengthen and expand parks, open space, and the American quality of life.

“For our part of the national celebration, we have added a collection of scenic stops across the property to provide details on the work Olmsted accomplished here at Biltmore,” said Lauren Henry, Associate Curator. “These interpretive signs present a rich and detailed overview of Olmsted’s final masterpiece and his enduring legacy of landscape design architecture.”

This virtual tour of Biltmore’s historic gardens and grounds provides an exciting perspective on the landscape design that Olmsted created for George Vanderbilt’s magnificent estate.

Early years

A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Frederick Law Olmsted’s early years included a wide variety of work opportunities that shaped his views and helped cultivate his interest and skill in landscape design.

In addition to his best-known career as a landscape architect, Olmsted managed a gold mine in California; he spearheaded the U.S. Sanitary Commission for the North during the Civil War; and he established The Nation, a weekly journal that is still in existence. His impact on America ranges far beyond the field of landscape design.

Other notable landscape design projects

Olmsted's landscape design: Bass Pond waterfall at Biltmore
The Bass Pond waterfall is a hidden gem in the gardens at Biltmore. Find your way to it following the trail around the Bass Pond.

In 1857, Olmsted became the superintendent overseeing work on Central Park in New York City. During the course of that complex project, he evolved into an expert in the planning of parks and landscapes. For the rest of his professional career, Olmsted would plan, design, and oversee some of the most important public and private outdoor spaces in the nation.

  • Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY (1866)
  • U. S. Capitol Grounds, Washington, DC (1874)
  • Emerald Necklace, Boston, MA (1878)
  • Niagara Reservation, Niagara Falls, NY (1887)
  • World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, IL (1893)

Biltmore: a living masterpiece of landscape design

Landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, George Vanderbilt, and other key Biltmore figures, 1892
Landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted (seated, center) and George Vanderbilt (standing, center-right) with other key Biltmore figures, 1892.

Before considering designs for his future home, George Vanderbilt brought Olmsted to the land he had purchased to assess its potential. Olmsted agreed with Vanderbilt that distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains were pleasant, though the land itself was poor.

In order to restore this land, which was not suitable for the extensive parks Vanderbilt envisioned, Olmsted advised undertaking scientific forestry—a first for America, though the practice existed in Europe.

Portrait of Olmsted by Sargent and aerial view of landscape design at Biltmore, ca. 1950
(L-R) Portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted at Biltmore by John Singer Sargent; commissioned by George Vanderbilt, ca. 1895; aerial photograph of Biltmore House & Gardens, ca. 1950

The success of the final design of Biltmore House and its extensive home grounds, fields, and managed forests was the result of the strong collaborative effort between George Vanderbilt, architect Richard Morris Hunt, and Frederick Law Olmsted.

Though Hunt’s focus was the house and Olmsted’s the grounds, there were times when they shared ideas, with the goal of a functional and harmonious final product in mind. Vanderbilt encouraged the ambitious ideas of both men, paving the way for some of their finest work.

Discover Olmsted’s legacy at Biltmore today

Couple hiking in the woods at Biltmore
Enjoy the landscape designs that Olmsted envisioned for Biltmore more than a century ago

Biltmore was a project that stretched Olmsted’s design abilities and was unique among his body of work for its fusion of French and English (or formal and naturalistic) design influences.

The scope and variety of his endeavors here were made possible through the support of George Vanderbilt, who also saw the value in his vision. Today, Biltmore works to maintain Olmsted’s design intent and remains a key part of Olmsted’s legacy as his last great project.

We invite you to discover Olmsted’s ongoing legacy at Biltmore for yourself by enjoying our historic gardens and grounds as a guest or Annual Passholder.

Biltmore’s Historic Honeymooners

Did you know Biltmore has historically been the site of many honeymoons and romantic occasions?

Perhaps it’s the warm, pink glow of the mountains as the sun sets over the Deer Park, the way the wind carries a sweet perfume from the gardens into the air, or the subtle whisper of a bottle of sparkling wine being masterfully uncorked nearby, but one thing is for sure—love is certainly in the air at Biltmore.

From before construction of Biltmore House was completed all the way to our modern day guests who visit, there is no denying that this historic estate offers a desirable destination for a romantic getaway any time of year.

Get to know some of Cupid’s earliest captives and the historic honeymooners who spent their precious time together at Biltmore many moons ago.

Jay & Adele Burden’s Honeymoon

Jay and Adele Burden honeymooned at River Cliff Cottage on Biltmore Estate, c. 1895
Jay and Adele Burden honeymooned at River Cliff Cottage on Biltmore Estate, c. 1895

One of Biltmore’s earliest guests included newlyweds, Jay Burden and Adele Sloane, George Vanderbilt’s niece. The darling young couple spent their honeymoon with a romantic retreat to River Cliff Cottage at Biltmore in June of 1895, months before Biltmore House was completed.

“Adele, actually Lila Sloane’s older sister, wrote about Biltmore being terribly romantic years before she married Jay Burden—it seems her opinion didn’t change!” says Meghan Forest, Biltmore’s Archives and Curatorial Assistant.

Ernesto & Edith Fabbri’s Honeymoon

Biltmore Honeymooners Ernesto and Edith Fabbri, c. 1896
Biltmore Honeymooners Ernesto and Edith Fabbri, c. 1896

Ernesto Fabbri and Edith Shepard, another one of George Vanderbilt’s nieces, celebrated their nuptials with a honeymoon at Biltmore after their 1896 wedding.

Records indicate that Biltmore remained a special place for the Fabbris as they visited Biltmore six more times together over the next nine years, bringing along their children after they were born.

George & Edith Vanderbilt’s Homecoming

George and Edith Vanderbilt, c. 1900
George and Edith Vanderbilt, c. 1900

George Vanderbilt was a bachelor when he first moved into Biltmore House. It would only be a few short years before he met his bride-to-be, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser.

After whirlwind courtship abroad, George and Edith were married in Paris in a 15-minute civil ceremony on June 1, 1898. The couple honeymooned in Italy for three months before arriving home to Biltmore in October.

Ever the romantic, a 1910 correspondence shows that George coordinated some modifications to Biltmore House as a surprise for Edith when she returned home from a trip abroad, including adding stairs by the Porte Cochere to provide access to a forest trail.

Willie & Lila Field’s Honeymoon

Biltmore Honeymooners Willie and Lila Field, c. 1902
Biltmore Honeymooners Willie and Lila Field, c. 1902

One of George Vanderbilt’s closest comrades, William B. Osgood Field, was a frequent guest at Biltmore. During subsequent visits, “Willie” was introduced to one of George Vanderbilt’s nieces, Lila Sloane. It seems there was some matchmaking at play as the duo may have been deliberately encouraged to do activities together. The couple became engaged at Biltmore and spent their honeymoon on the estate, as well.

An interest piece about the Willie and Lila Field honeymoon from society columnist “Cholly Knickerbocker” read:

“[George Vanderbilt] is fond of paying this particular kind of compliment to his young relatives, and Biltmore, one of the most fairy-like country seats in this country, has been the scene of quite a number of honeymoons, and of the inauguration of what have turned out to be happy marriages. In this case the selection of Biltmore for the honeymoon will be especially appropriate. For it was there that Willie Field and Lila Sloan first plighted their troth and became engaged.”

Cornelia & John F.A. Cecil’s Wedding

Portrait of the Honorable and Mrs. John F.A. Cecil’s wedding party inside the Tapestry Gallery, c. 1924
Portrait of the Honorable and Mrs. John F.A. Cecil’s wedding party inside the Tapestry Gallery, c. 1924

Wedding bells rang as Cornelia, George and Edith Vanderbilt’s daughter, married the Honorable John Francis Amherst Cecil at All Souls Church in Biltmore Village on April 29, 1924.

No detail was spared in this elaborate celebration that welcomed notable guests from around the globe and intrigued society columns.

Biltmore is a Romantic Getaway for the Ages

Romantic sunset view of the Deer Park from Biltmore's Library Terrace
Romantic sunset view of the Deer Park from Biltmore’s Library Terrace

Whether it’s warming up together by the fireside at The Inn on Biltmore Estate, taking a mini tropical vacation inside the Conservatory, marveling at the grandeur and history inside Biltmore House, sharing a sweet treat in Antler Hill Village, or spending time exploring the gardens and grounds at dusk, we can say confidently that Biltmore’s reputation as a romantic getaway for sweethearts has aged like a fine wine.

No matter the time of year, we invite you to find, rekindle, or celebrate your love at Biltmore. For the ultimate romantic getaway, join us as an overnight guest at our four-star Inn, cozy Village Hotel, or one of our private historic Cottages and enjoy the beauty of this “fairy-like” country estate as George Vanderbilt intended.

Exhibition Explores Construction of Biltmore House

Our Building Biltmore House exhibition explores the construction of George Vanderbilt’s magnificent home—a massive project that took hundreds of workers seven years to complete.

A new take on our construction story

“For nearly two decades, we displayed photographs and stories about the construction of Biltmore House in the Basement area known as the Halloween Room. It was a favorite of our guests, but we removed the panels in 2019 to make room for components of a different exhibition,” said Meghan Forest, Curator of Interpretation.

According to Meghan, the Building Biltmore House exhibition, also located in the Halloween Room, uncovers additional in-depth information about the people, circumstances, and innovations surrounding the building of America’s Largest Home®.

“One important goal of the exhibition is to focus more on the craftsmanship and labor of the employees who worked on the project rather than just the construction techniques,” noted Meghan. “Through continuing research in our own archives and outreach to descendants of some of the original workers, we have been able to share new stories that add depth and context to Building Biltmore House.”

Discovering personal connections

In the course of the archival research for this exhibition, Biltmore worked closely with Dr. Darin Waters who serves as North Carolina Deputy Secretary for Archives and History in the Office of Archives and History for the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

His personal connection with Biltmore dates back more than two decades, and his ancestors’ history with the estate dates back more than a century, presenting a thematic through-line for his own life story. Guests are able to learn more about Dr. Waters’ research and family discoveries as they take in the details of Building Biltmore House.

Design dream team

(L-R) purchasing agent and agricultural consultant Edward Burnett, architect Richard Morris Hunt, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, George Washington Vanderbilt, and architect Richard Howland Hunt, son of Richard Morris Hunt, 1892

In 1889, 26-year-old George Vanderbilt recruited two of the nation’s most sought-after design professionals, architect Richard Morris Hunt, and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, to assist him in building a grand estate that would serve as a scenic retreat for the young man’s family and friends.

Both Hunt and Olmsted had been instrumental in shaping the look of late-19th-century New York, with Hunt having designed the Statue of Liberty pedestal and the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Olmsted creating the tranquil greenspace of Central Park and advocating for the preservation of Niagara Falls State Park.

Planning and inspiration

Sketch of Biltmore House
Archival sketch of Biltmore House façade, drafted prior to construction, does not include the glass-roofed Winter Garden that was added as plans were finalized

Having purchased a total of 125,000 acres since his first visit to Asheville in 1888, Vanderbilt charged Olmsted with choosing the site of his future country home along with designing the manicured gardens and grounds that would rehabilitate the acreage’s former farms and cutover woodlands.

Vanderbilt, Hunt, and Hunt’s wife Catharine then embarked on a two-month trip across England and France to gather ideas. The journey proved a success, as Hunt eventually designed a 175,000-square-foot French Renaissance Revival-style château influenced by the exteriors of France’s Blois, Chambord, and Chenonceau estates, and the interiors of Knole Palace, Hatfield House, and Haddon Hall in England.

Vanderbilt named his estate “Biltmore” for Bildt, the Dutch town of his ancestry, and the old English word “more” meaning open, rolling land.

Building Biltmore House

Building Biltmore House
George Vanderbilt escorts a group of guests on the South Terrace during contruction. 1893

When construction began hundreds of workers and tradesmen arrived daily to perform general labor as well as blacksmithing, painting, carpentry, and stone carving. While many materials such as bricks and stone were sourced locally, others were imported from across the country and overseas.

Men, materials, and supplies arrived at the construction area on standard gauge rail lines supported by trestles designed by Olmsted to span the mountainous terrain without damaging the forests below. The construction site became a bustling city of its own, with workers occupying temporarily built offices, workshops, and sheds.

Biltmore House comes to life

Watch archival footage of George Vanderbilt’s magnificent estate “rising” from its foundations!

Month by month, George Vanderbilt’s vision took shape as Biltmore House rose from its foundation. The home consisted of 250 rooms, including 101 guest and servant bedrooms, 65 fireplaces, and 43 bathrooms.

Luxurious, state-of-the-art conveniences like indoor plumbing and electricity were included in the house, along with a fire alarm system, two elevators, and a telephone system. A bowling alley, gymnasium, and 70,000-gallon indoor swimming pool were built to provide entertainment and exercise during inclement weather.

The end of a long journey

Archival photo of a marble lion statue at Biltmore
One of two iconic lion sculptures, crafted from Rosso di’Verona marble, await installation at Biltmore House. March 1894

As with any significant undertaking, one must aim for a deadline, and George Vanderbilt declared December 24, 1895, as the date that his labor of love would be unveiled.

Final touches on the landscaping took place, the makeshift workshops on the property were disassembled, and cabinetmakers and carpenters hastened to finish the endless custom details within the home. Although several areas including the Library and his own bedroom were still incomplete, George Vanderbilt welcomed his mother and 26 other relatives to celebrate Christmas Eve in his new home.

Experience Building Biltmore House and more

“We invite all of our guests to visit our Building Biltmore House exhibition located in the Halloween Room to learn about the inspiring individuals who came together during the construction of Biltmore House and its surrounding gardens and grounds,” said Meghan.

8 great reasons to visit Biltmore this fall
In addition to enjoying our Building Biltmore House exhibition, enhance your visit with a Rooftop Tour that includes spectacular views and stories.

This exhibition is included with regular estate admission and is part of the normal visit route.
Important Note: Because of the historic architecture, only the First and Second Floors are accessible. Guests who are unable to go to the Third Floor and Basement may visit our designated Second Floor rest area and watch a video of the rooms they are unable to access. Go here to learn more about accessibility at Biltmore.

To experience more fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of this Gilded Age estate, consider reserving one of our specialty tours such as a Rooftop Tour or other option.

Featured image: Visible through a third floor window faced with decorative limestone veneer above the Porte Cochere are the brick walls and iron joists that provide structure for Biltmore House, ca. 1893