Top 5 Biltmore Family Favorites for Summer

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, is a family-friendly destination all year long, but there’s something extra special about a summer getaway with the family on our 8,000-acre retreat!

Make the most of your summer vacation with our Top 5 Biltmore Family Favorite Activities for Summer that are sure to please your entire clan, from grandparents to grandchildren.

Winkie Bar Sundae in a waffle bowl
Try all the ice cream treats, including this delicious Winkie Bar Sundae served in a waffle bowl

5. Savor Our Favorite Flavors

Did you know that the vanilla ice cream served on the estate is based on a delicious original Biltmore Dairy recipe? With a visit to the Biltmore Dairy Bar® near Biltmore House and the Creamery in Antler Hill Village, you and your family can enjoy the same rich flavor enjoyed by estate guests more than a century ago!

Tip: Get sandwiches and ice cream to go from the Creamery in Antler Hill Village and have a picnic on the nearby Village Green. Celebrate summer with Biltmore wine for the grownups and Biltmore sparkling grape juice for the younger set.

Family biking at Biltmore
Bring the whole family along on your next biking adventure at Biltmore

4. Biking for All Ages

Ready to explore our wide-open spaces? Guests are welcome to bring their own bikes in tow or visit the Outdoor Adventure Center or Bike Barn in Antler Hill Village and choose from a selection of rentable mountain bikes for rugged trails or comfort cruisers for paved paths. Tandem rentals are also available so the younger members of the family can join the fun.

Tip: Consider a guided bike ride or other outdoor activities for more exciting ways to explore our 8,000 estate this summer!

Group enjoying a guided river experience at Biltmore.
Biltmore’s Outdoor Adventure Center offers multiple experiences that venture out onto the French Broad River!

3. Outdoor Fun for Everyone!

Whether you’re up for a Vanderbilt-era-inspired game of croquet, rafting on the French Broad River, or venturing out on guided nature experiences (or all three!), our Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village boasts an ever-changing variety of activities that are fun for the whole family.

Tip: Activities offered may sell out or have specific dates and times offered, so we strongly recommend checking our current offerings online and making reservations in advance to ensure availability during your visit.

Goat mother and
Meet our working farm animals at the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village!

2. Family Fun at the Farmyard

Bring YOUR kids to meet OUR kids at the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village! From learning about the working farm animals that are a part of our agricultural history at the Farmyard to handicrafts demonstrations and seasonal activities offered at The Barn nearby, your kiddos will have plenty to choose from for engaging and educational fun.

Tip: Did you know that Biltmore Annual Passholders can bring their kids ages 16 and younger to enjoy Antler Hill Village for free year-round?

Family activities at Biltmore
Explore our glorious gardens and grounds all year long!

1. All-Time Family Favorite: Hiking in Our 8,000-Acre Backyard!

With 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain backyard, you’ll never run out of places to explore at Biltmore! Enjoy more than 20 miles of hiking trails along the French Broad River, through lush green forests, or in the open meadows of the estate.

Tip: Visit the Bike Barn or Outdoor Adventure Center for a detailed trail map and orientation to the trails.

Aerial view of Biltmore's sprawling mountain landscape in Asheville, NC.

Discover Even More of Biltmore This Summer

In addition to our top 5 family-favorite activities, we invite you to explore all of our activities currently offered so you can make the most of your quick summer getaway, family vacation, or long holiday weekends to Biltmore!

Need more time to explore? Extend your Biltmore visit with an overnight stay at The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, or our private historic Cottages on Biltmore Estate. Become a Biltmore Annual Passholder and enjoy year-round visits and exclusive member discounts on special events, dining, and more.

Providing Gracious Hospitality, One Bite at a Time

Cloreitha Fenton, Biltmore House Food & Beverage Outlets General Manager, has 23 years of providing gracious hospitality, one bite at a time.

Providing gracious hospitality at Biltmore
Cloreitha Fenton provides gracious hospitality with a smile

“I’ve been working here half my life,” said Clo, as she’s know by her friends and coworkers. “I like to tell people I’m ‘Biltmore-grown’.”

As General Manager, Clo oversees a department of all the employees who operate the food and beverage outlets for Biltmore House & Gardens, including The Bake Shop, Biltmore Dairy Bar®, and Courtyard Market in the Stable Courtyard, Conservatory Café located behind the Conservatory, and all the satellite food carts that pop up for special dates and events.

Guests entering Biltmore Dairy Bar®
Located in the Stable Courtyard adjacent to Biltmore House, Biltmore Dairy Bar® serves a wide range of sweet treats

In the past two decades, Clo has served in a variety of different roles at Biltmore. She joined the estate as a cook at Stable Café, then moved to Deerpark Restaurant. In 2000 she switched her focus to work in purchasing for Food & Beverage, but eventually returned to the Stable Complex as a supervisor for the outlets there.

In 2003 she became assistant manager of all estate food outlets, eventually helping open both The Creamery and Smokehouse for the launch of Antler Hill Village in 2010.

Guests enjoying gracious hospitality at The Creamery
Guests enjoy ice cream and other delicious treats and snacks at The Creamery in Antler Hill Village

Clo became a general manager in 2014 and is responsible for overseeing a team of supervisors, daily operations for the outlets, financials, and ensuring that her dedicated team of employees have everything they need to provide excellent service to guests.

Biltmore staff members provide gracious hospitality one bite at a time
Clo offers a training moment to a member of her team

“We’re in the mix every day, and we’re very hands-on. Sometimes we have to make decisions on the fly and make things happen,” she said. “In addition to the day-to-day work, my focus is to grow my team, make sure we’re profitable, and make sure my employees are taken care of.”

Clo embraces all the values Biltmore represents, but there is one that resonates with her in particular.

Family enjoying ice cream and treats at Biltmore
Biltmore Dairy Bar® offers something special for everyone, including vanilla ice cream inspired by an original Biltmore recipe

“I was raised to be gracious, to say ‘ma’am’ and ‘thank you’ and to be kind, and I make sure I maintain that sense of gracious hospitality. I try my best to help all my employees succeed and focus on those who want to grow,” she said. “I want to come in every day and give 100 percent, to give all I can.”

Join our gracious hospitality team today!

Culinary staff holds career sign in front of Biltmore House
Apply now to become a member of the Biltmore team

Biltmore is interested in people who strive for excellence; who are committed to working together, supporting each other, and sharing a sense of stewardship to protect this special place. Our employees shape and enrich extraordinary experiences for guests, using judgment and skills based on our Vanderbilt-inspired legacy of hospitality.

In addition, Biltmore has been recognized as one of the Best and Brightest Companies To Work For® in 2021. We invite you to consider joining our dedicated team by viewing careers and applying online.

Featured image: Clo Fenton showcases a Winky Bar Sundae in a waffle bowl–a delightful creation inspired by a treat served at the original Biltmore Dairy Bar®.

Biltmore Dairy: An Udderly Fascinating History

George Vanderbilt established Biltmore Dairy operations at his estate in Asheville, North Carolina for three main reasons: to supply dairy products to Biltmore House, to provide an example to others on how to run a successful farm, and to generate income through commercial product sales.

Imagine having a Vanderbilt for your milkman—flavoring your coffee with cream from the dairy of a multi-millionaire. It is enough to make one smack his lips and imagine the product is richer than that of ordinary dairymen.
– “A Millionaire Farmer,” St. Louis Globe Democrat, 1894

Biltmore Dairy delivery wagon, ca. 1900
Biltmore Dairy delivery wagon, ca. 1900

Beyond the dairy, original agricultural operations included sheep, hog, and poultry farms, and a substantial market garden for produce. All of these endeavors, collectively named Biltmore Farms, contributed to George Vanderbilt’s ability to fulfill the estate’s mission of self-sufficiency.

However, Biltmore Dairy was the most successful of all of Biltmore’s enterprises, providing the estate with a financial cushion that would see it through George Vanderbilt’s death, two world wars, the Great Depression, and beyond.

Cows in main dairy barn
Cow stalls in the main dairy barn, ca. 1930

The Legacy of Biltmore Dairy

Much of this success was thanks to the Vanderbilts’ prized herd of Jersey cows. Of all major dairy breeds, Jerseys produce the richest milk—high in butterfat, protein, and calcium. They also produce a higher volume of milk per each pound of body weight than other type of cattle.

The Biltmore Dairy Farms herd, believed to be the largest herd of registered Jerseys in the world, is unquestionably one of the finest and best known.
– “Souvenir Edition Annual Meeting of the American Jersey Cattle Club,” June 3, 1942

Biltmore Dairy workers, ca. 1910
Biltmore Dairy workers, ca. 1910

To ensure that the herd maintained excellent health, staff included a full-time veterinarian and a dairy bacteriologist. Dairy workers kept detailed records on the herd and conducted regular inspections to ensure their living conditions were of the highest quality.

The herd was primarily housed in the estate’s Main Dairy Barn—what is now Biltmore’s Winery. Just down the road was the Creamery, where cream was separated from the milk. Milk was then bottled and sold, while the cream was made into butter, buttermilk, cottage cheese, and, of course, ice cream.

Biltmore's Main Dairy Barn
Biltmore’s Dairy Barn (what is now the Winery), May 30, 1913 (Courtesy of Alice Marie Lewis)

The Tasty History of Biltmore Ice Cream

Biltmore’s ice cream played a leading role at estate gatherings, including Cornelia Vanderbilt’s birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, and May Day festivities. Almost every oral history interview in our archives that mentions a childhood memory on the estate also includes a reference to ice cream.

After Biltmore House opened to the public in 1930, guests could view the milking rooms and processing areas in the Dairy Barn, sample the milk, and buy ice cream. Biltmore Dairy was so successful, and its products were so well-known that it became an attraction in its own right for estate visitors.

Biltmore Dairy milkmen and delivery trucks, ca. 1935-1940
Biltmore Dairy milkmen and delivery trucks, ca. 1935-1940

It was around this time that the dairy’s delivery wagons were replaced with trucks and the fleet grew from 30 vehicles to over 400 in just 15 years. Salesmen were now able to market the products as far away as Charlotte, which at the time was a windy, wooded five-hour drive.

Unfortunately, the market shifted. With the advent of chain grocery stores came a cheaper, more efficient way to purchase milk, eventually making door-to-door dairy delivery obsolete. Biltmore Dairy and other smaller, family-run businesses were unable to compete with expansive commercial operations. In April of 1985, Biltmore Dairy was sold to Pet, Inc.

Mother and daughter enjoying ice cream in Antler Hill Vilalge
Enjoy our vanilla ice cream, based on a delicious original Biltmore Dairy recipe.

Enjoy Biltmore Ice Cream Today

Today, Biltmore continues to draw inspiration from Biltmore Dairy. Biltmore Dairy Bar® in the Stable Courtyard was named in honor of our agricultural heritage. Additionally, vanilla ice cream based on a delicious original Biltmore Dairy recipe is offered at both Biltmore Dairy Bar® and at the Creamery in Antler Hill Village.