Friday, October 23, 2009
A visit to this area would not be complete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore House was built by George W. Vanderbilt and was officially opened in 1895. The estate originally included 125, 000 acres. After his death in 1914, his widow Edith and only child Cornelia continued to live in the house. They began opening the house to the public in 1930, to help local tourist business and obtain funding to support the estate.
Today the property remains in the family and consists of the house, winery, farmland, the Biltmore Inn and 8000 acres. The house is huge with 175, 000 square feet and 250 rooms. Also on site are gift shops, restaurants, and other related attractions.
We visited mid-week, but still found it very busy, with a well controlled system for pushing every one thru the house. No photography is allowed inside, but there are numerous web sites with interior photos. It took over two hours to walk the four floors plus basement. It was indeed impressive, but made me wonder what of ego led to its building for a family of three and guests. The term robber baron comes to mind. It was an interesting place to visit, but not a very warm place to live, in my opinion. It was more like a upscale hotel then a home.
The gardens and grounds are also on a grand scale and there is a lot to do besides the house tour. It is indeed a must see, despite the rather high entry fee for the tour.