Biltmore Estate is much more than just a sight
on a tour, it’s an enchanting destination to visit. Each
visit to Biltmore Estate is a new experience. Festivals, concerts
and holiday celebrations often move from day to night, with as
many visitors being found on the grounds of the estate, as touring
the Biltmore House.
The Vanderbilt’s, the Cecil’s and
their guests, along with many of the staff spent their days and
nights on this property. They witnessed the sun rising and
setting on the estate. They all felt the heart and spirit
of the property and saw the beauty that was restored, preserved
and created for the enjoyment of so many.
Within the lush gardens and parklands, visitors
are often found quietly meditating as they stroll about. Historical
tours, carriage and horseback rides, wine tasting and leisurely
drives along the miles of roads are a few of the many way you
can fill your day during a visit to Biltmore Estate. You
can dine early at one of the many eateries at the Estate or relax
at the days end with a fine dining menu in hand.
For many years at the end of the day, headlights
from visitor’s cars were seen slowly exiting through the
arch of the Lodge Gate, leaving the quite hours of twilight and
solitude at Biltmore Estate to the caretakers and crickets. That
all changed in March 2001 with the grand opening of the Inn on
George Vanderbilt always planned to build a
lodge on the estate to accommodate additional guests. In
1900 George gathered estimates for his lodge that included 43,000
feet of flooring, 449 doors and windows, 188,000 shingles all
at the cost of $18,000. Considering the constant investment
needed for the ever-growing Biltmore Estate, George decided to
put the idea on the side for a while. George and his guests
would have to make do with Biltmore House and its 250 rooms,
with 34 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms.
George's descendants, the Cecil’s decided
to fulfill his plans to build the Inn on Biltmore Estate. The
Inn was built to compliment the style and architectural design
of the Biltmore House and has achieved a Four Star, Five Diamond
Whether you’re looking to spend those
quiet hours at the Estate as Mrs. Highlander and I did, or if
your just looking for a great Inn to stay at while visiting Asheville,
we highly recommend the Inn on Biltmore Estate.
When we decided to cover Asheville,
North Carolina and write the story on Biltmore Estate,
Mrs. Highlander and I made three trips. On the last trip
we decided to spend three nights at the Inn, this helped us
get in touch with the natural spirit of the property. During
the mornings and evenings we stayed on the Estate, enjoying
all it had to offer. We ventured into neighboring Asheville in
the afternoons, to take in the sights of this historic mountain
city. Below you will see Biltmore House on the right
North Carolina on the left, with the beautiful Blue Ridge
Mountains as the backdrop.
Staying at the Inn on Biltmore Estate also gave
us the opportunity to venture along the Blue
Ridge Parkway, which borders the southern end of the Estate,
a great way to take in more beautiful mountain scenery. On our
return trip we caught a view of the Biltmore House in the valley
and were astounded by how enormous the Biltmore House actually
is, the best view is from one of the lower overlooks.
The 204 room Inn on Biltmore Estate is fashioned with continuity
to the Biltmore House. The Inn has an atmosphere of style
and service that George would have been proud of. The
comfort and harmony of family, friends and guests were essential
to Mr. Vanderbilt’s concerns for the perfect estate experience.
Located on the estate grounds, several miles
from the Biltmore House, the Inn rests atop Antler Hill with
captivating mountain views to the north and south. The
eastern and southern facades of the Inn reflect the style of
the Biltmore House with its towers and balconies, chimney stacks,
grand terrace, rocking chair terrace and manicured landscapes.
checking in we made way to our room to unpack and get settled
in. The room was beautifully decorated with a full window
view of mountains to the east and the Biltmore House rising in
the center above the trees, capturing our attention. The
king size bed was equipped with a feather mattress, we were as
comfortable at the Inn as we were at home in our own bed. The
bath was spacious and elegant with a Jacuzzi tub and separate
We changed from our driving clothes into our
mountain cabaña clothes (basically better clothes less
wrinkles) and headed out to tour the Inn. Returning to
the lobby we followed the hall past the front desk and checked
out two of the Inn’s shops, the Cottage Door shop and the
Marble Lion shop. On the opposite end of the lobby the
center floor opened up into a grand stairwell that flowed down
to the private dining room on the first floor. The large
open room had walnut floors and oak moldings that were cut from
trees harvested from the property. Seating was concentrated
nearest to the windows offering views of the Estate.
We rounded the top of the stairs back into the
lobby, followed around the rail and entered a large hall with
several tables and chairs. The scene reminded me of historically
classic Inns and Hotels that I’ve visited that had writing
rooms with desks for travelers writing home. We saw guests,
sitting at the tables with cell phones and laptops, communicating
electronically…the art of letter writing has taken on
a new face.
At the end of this two story hall is the Inn
Library, located on the 2nd floor in a large tower room. Its
furnishings, drapery, fireplace and mantel had that wonderful
feel of one of the formal sitting rooms at Biltmore House, offering
an intimate setting to relax, read a book, and enjoy the room
and the views out the windows. Unlike the sitting rooms
at Biltmore House, you can sit on the furniture in the Inn Library…the
furniture is top quality not historically priceless antiques. We
sat and enjoyed the sunset and then strolled around the lit paths
on the grounds of the Inn before retiring to our room.
The next day we awoke early and had breakfast
in the main Dining Room, the breakfast buffet was outstanding,
I still wake up fantasizing about being back at the Inn enjoying
exited the Inn onto the Grand Terrace with our coffee and tasted
the crisp morning air. Just in front of the terrace is
a manicured grassy knoll, from there the sky opened up onto one
of the most beautiful mountain vistas anywhere on earth. A
picture can’t cover it and a painting couldn’t depict
it in its true glory. Afterward we enjoyed the pool and
hot tub, laying back and watching the clouds kiss the mountains
A paved path winds from the Inn down to the
bottom of Antler Hill passing along a modest vineyard before
arriving at the Winery and Farm Village. The Historic Horse Barn
next to the Winery exhibits 19th century farm life at Biltmore
Our tour of the Winery took us through the full
wine creation process and culminated in the Tasting Room. Here
we had the pleasure of sampling a few of the Biltmore’s
many varieties of fine wine. We exited the Tasting Room
into the Wine and Gift Shop and the conveniently located Bistro
restaurant where we enjoyed a late lunch.
Walking back to the Inn was a pleasant walk. We
went back to our room to find our bed turned down and chocolates
on the pillow, the personal care given to the Inn’s guests
was excellent and well appreciated. Seeing the Biltmore House
out of the window of our room made the experience surreal.
rose early to photograph the sunrise from the window in our room. After
the sun broke on the horizon, I headed out onto the grounds for
a few more shots. While photographing I met several early risers
out enjoying the gift of another day.
When I started to reflect back on the spirit
of Biltmore Estate, I felt many things. The creativity in thought
George had when he first conceived his vision, the excitement
he must have had while watching his vision come to life, his
pride in creating a self-sufficient vision, and the joy he had
for sharing that vision with family and friends. And, the
reverence the Cecil family gives to the estate in George’s
From the hospitality of the staff we felt welcome,
cared for and comfortable, they would make George very proud.
Our thanks to Biltmore Estate and its staff
for their service, hospitality, care. and their help in bringing
this story to the friends of the Blue Ridge Highlander and its
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