(Photo I took of my wine box that I purchased from the Biltmore Winery)
Visiting The Biltmore Estate
So you want to visit the Biltmore?!?! I don’t blame you, it was on my bucket list for a loooooooooooooong time; it still is actually. I want to go back at Christmas time and see it covered in all the holiday cheer because it’s my favorite time of year. Any who, I want to tell you a little bit about what we seen, how to do it cheaply, and learned about America’s Largest Home.
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First some history of this gorgeous home that was built by George W. Vanderbilt. Construction started on this amazing estate in 1889 and took them 6 years to build this 250 room masterpiece. That’s right 6 years! When you walk through the estate it you can see why; the attention to detail is astounding! Even the pins that hold the doors on had such fabulous detail (see photo below), they literally out did themselves.
While my husband and I were resting and enjoying our view under the pergola a worker asked if we wanted to visit the back of the estate. Of course we said YES! We didn’t know you were allowed to walk about the back of the estate because there were no signs or no other visitors viewing the back. The worker was educating us on the history of the home and what I found most interesting was that the wall you see below the home that looks like the basement isn’t the lowest point of the home. I believe he said it goes down another 20 feet past the grass! THAT IS CRAZY to think how long the workers had to dig to get that dug, my goodness! Below is the photo of the back of the estate. You can see the basement then add another 20 feet below the grass!
He also let us know it is still family owned. Also, he said……(true or not he said it) that before the estate became a tourist attraction it was just about to be let go do to the money it took to fund such a grand estate. He said that some family members spoke up and saved their family estate. SHEW! Thankful they did, so we all can see such an amazing place.
1. One way we took a mini vacation to the Biltmore for cheap was by CAMPING! We camped at Asheville East KOA Holiday; it was a great camping location and saved us a few hundred dollars compared to staying at The Inn or Village on Biltmore Estate. The two hotels look great but I am a frugal girl and love my deals and saving money, honey, and also love camping!
I recommend this camping location with its large pond for fishing, duck watching, or kayaking. There is another smaller pond also that is good for fishing. There is also a little creek that goes through the campground that you can take a walk by. The reviews talked negative about the train that goes by the campground, however, the train didn’t bother us. Maybe tent camping would be a problem, I am unsure since we have a camper. If you don’t want to haul your camper there or tent camp you can rent one of their cabins on the pond and still save.
2. Another way to save for your visit is to buy your tickets ahead of time online. Buy them 7 or more days in advance and say $10 on admission and 20% on audio guides at the same time! You can also save if you plan to attend on the next day. Next day consecutive visits are $25 dollars and require you to upgrade the day of your visit at a guest service location. Seniors age 65+ save $10 on regular adult daytime admission at the Reception & Ticketing Sales Center every Tuesday and Wednesday. Don’t forget about military discount too. U.S. military can save $10 on regular adult daytime admission when you show your Military ID at the Reception & Ticketing Sales Center. Last but not least if you buy an annual pass you can save. I believe with the pass you can go two times a year and get your moneys worth of what the pass costs.
Visiting the Biltmore
I’m going to go ahead and put this out there because it kept being told to us before our tour began. THERE ARE NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS INSIDE BILTMORE. No worries, they have restrooms over by the shops and restaurants in the Carriage House by the Estate.
Let’s discuss, parking! You have the option to park and ride a shuttle or you can park and walk. There is a parking lot not to far from the estate that you can walk from. The shuttles come every 10-30 minutes. If it is a busy day you might not be able to get on right away. Needless to say, it was a waiting game trying to get to the Estate and then back to the parking lot. Going back I would do the parking lot where you can walk to the Estate.
There are a few tours that the Biltmore offers, I didn’t realize there were so many options until I actually got there and was talking to an older couple that was also celebrating their anniversary.
The tours currently available at this time are:
- Self-guided visit of Biltmore House and Gardens
- Roof top tour
- Biltmore House Revealed Tour
- Legacy of the Land Tour
- Guided Biltmore House Tour
- Premium Biltmore House Tour
- Wine & Cheese Hour
- Behind the Scenes Winery Tour & Tasting
- Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting
- Celebration of Sparkling Wine
- Vine to Wine Tour & Tasting
You can find more information about the above tours here. My husband and I done the self guided audio tour. I really enjoyed being able to visit the house at my own pace. If I wanted to stay in a room longer than another, I could. We weren’t to impressed with the audio that came along with it. We were hoping for history about the house, the room, the person whose room we were in but it wasn’t nothing like that at all. It was a story based audio about the family in their daily life. The experience was like you were there and listing to them talking to each other about the day and/or events. We eventually stopped listening to the audio and just look at everything and read whatever we could.
The self guided tour is also for the Gardens. It was in full bloom with roses and other flowers. Their conservatory was amazing also!
(The above photo is the Estate made out of wood in the conservatory.)
After the house and gardens we made our way to Antler Hill. Antler Hill is where the hotels, winery, shops, stables, restaurants are located on the Estate property. You have to drive there no matter where you park…….or take the shuttle.
At the winery you are able to have free complimentary wine tasting that is included in your daytime admission and they say
Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the U.S. and they have a distinctive portfolio of multi-award-winning reds, whites, and rosés. -Biltmore website.
If you don’t end up taking the winery tour, there is a little section you can walk through that gives some history on the winery.
We also visited the shops, blacksmith, woodworker, and stables. We skipped the farm animals because we were worn out by this time. We were there for 8 or 9 hours! Make sure you stay hydrated and get food on your belly. Speaking of food we ate at The Creamery. I got a delicious sandwich, forgive me I forgot the name, but it was really good. Especially, on an empty stomach.
You are able to watch demonstrations of the blacksmith and the woodworker while your there. Very interesting because they were very knowledgeable in their trade.
The stables I thought were beautiful. Unfortunately, there were no horses, darn. They do have the original bricks laid on the floor. They have settled and are not perfectly straight and flat. The stables have toys in there for children to play with if needed.
I believe I have covered everything from our fantastic trip. It was well worth it and I am thankful I can scratch it off my bucket list. Would I go back, absolutely! I was told they change the tour every so often so you can see inside other rooms. I would also probably do the Premium House Tour so I can see all I can see and just ask them to go slower if I want to soak it all in. It truly is an amazing place to see at least once.
Below are a few additional photos of the house. As always I don’t want to show everything so you can experience it for yourself. Enjoy! If you plan on going let me know or if you have any questions before your trip don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or reach out on Facebook.