Twilight at Inn on Biltmore Estate
The Highlander Slept Here…Inn on Biltmore Estate

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 Biltmore Estate. 

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 status.

Inn at Biltmore Estate

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 and Asheville, North Carolina on the left, with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop.

Blue Ridge Parkway view of Biltmore Estate & Asheville North Carolina

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. Rocking Chair Terrace at the Inn on Biltmore Estate

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. 

Biltmore House from Inn on Biltmore EstateAfter 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 shower.

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. 

Lobby in the Inn on Biltmore Estate Library Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate

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. 

Restaurant at Biltmore Estate

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 breakfast. 

Grand Terrace at Inn on Biltmore EstateWe 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 peaks. 

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 Estate.

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.

Walk to Winery at Biltmore Estate

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. 

Day Break at BiltmoreI 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 honored memory. 

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 many readers.    


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