Since Hurricane Mathew interrupted our time on the North Carolina coast, we headed to the Asheville area to escape the weather. Asheville is where you’ll find The Biltmore.
Built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, The Biltmore was just one of the Vanderbilt family homes. It’s huge. Let me see if I can remember the details…thirty-three bedrooms, forty-three bathrooms, 250 rooms, and sixty-five fireplaces all add up to a grand total of about four acres of floor space.
We opted to take the ninety minute guided audio tour. We feel like audio tours really add to the experience. In the photo above, you can see the Winter Garden. The Winter Garden is actually inside the mansion. That’s a glass roof you’re looking at and what used to be a working fountain.
On one side of the massive banquet hall is this set of built in shelves with the organ loft. The organ actually works. In the basement, there’s a room that has the air pump for the organ. I love the shelves!
On the other side of the banquet hall is a wall of triple fireplaces. Because three is always better than one, right? This room was huge. The pictures can’t even begin to portray the true size of it. The ceiling in the banquet hall is seven stories high!
Here you can see the Breakfast Room where the Vanderbilt family ate lunch. Yep, you read that right. They named it The Breakfast Room, but they would eat lunch there. Maybe it was a really late breakfast…more like brunch?
The ceilings in The Biltmore were just as ornate and thought out as the rest of the rooms.
The Tapestry Gallery is more like a wide hallway. There are three tapestries hanging here that are a part of seven. Each tapestry depicted one of the Seven Virtues.
This fireplace was in the Tapestry Gallery. I love how ornate it is! Check out the turtles on the bottom of the lamps.
We’ve made it to my favorite room in the whole place. The Library.
I took more photos of the Library than any other room at The Biltmore. I mean…look at that fireplace! Can you imagine perusing the books to find that perfect read and curling up by the fireplace to have a quiet afternoon? Oh! See the big blue and white urn type thing? It once belonged to a Chinese Emperor about 500 years ago. He used it as a fish bowl.
This was George Vanderbilt’s bedroom. It’s huge! And I love all of the woodwork in it. All hand carved by super important artsy people. I don’t remember all of their names…there were so many different names said during this tour. Can you see the gold colored walls? That’s real gold. It’s gilded 24 Karat gold burlap.
All of the fireplaces were different. Different colors, different materials, different style. This one was in George Vanderbilt’s bedroom.
This sitting room joined the family bedrooms. There was a small table for food, a writing desk, and a game table. This is where the family would have breakfast while they planned the day’s events.
Edith Vanderbilt’s room was oval shaped and decorated in gold and purple. Edith made sure she knew all the names of everyone working at The Biltmore during a time when it was improper for the family to speak to the staff. She also made sure to send care baskets when children were born. Edith went so far as to start a trade-school that taught weaving and wood working so the servant’s children would be able to learn a craft or trade that they could use to earn a living.
The Biltmore was really built so the family could entertain guests. The third floor living hall was right outside all of the guest suites. The guests would wait to go down to breakfast here as they sat around and chatted.
I loved looking at all of the old family photographs. Notice the books against the wall? George Vanderbilt had a 23,000 volume collection of books. That alone makes me like him. I mean, anyone who takes the time to accumulate that many beloved books has to be good, right?
This is in one of the guest suites. I really enjoy the way they have the rooms set up. It’s like we’re getting to take a peak back in time. With the dress on the bed with the gloves over the footboard…it’s like catching a fleeting glimpse into their lives.
This is in the same guest suite. The vanity table all set up and waiting. This guest suite was just for single ladies. The single ladies and single gentlemen were kept in separate suits since it was inappropriate for them to sleep in the same area of the house.
Check out this chandelier. It’s three stories high with three chandeliers on it. Can you imagine trying to dust that thing?
In the basement you’ll find the recreation area. Complete with a bowling alley,
a 70,000 gallon heated swimming pool that they only kept filled for a few days at a time,
and a gymnasium because even back then being healthy was important.
They supplied private dressing rooms because no self-respecting lady of that time would be caught walking though the house in a “bathing costume”. There was a row for the women and a separate row (on the other side of the wall) for the men.
The library was my favorite room…the pastry kitchen is a close second. Imagine having an entire kitchen solely for the purpose of baking…
There would’ve been more than a dozen people in here working to prepare the meals for the Vanderbilt family and their guests. The copper pots hanging above the worktable are actually original.
Check out the mortar and pestle! Huge!
This was the servant’s dining room. The dining room maid would have served the servants three meals a day here.
There were sooo many pantry rooms. Each dedicated to different things. This one is mainly for the canned goods.
Most people have one room for the laundry. At The Biltmore, there was a sewing room, main laundry room, drying room,
and a dying room. Notice the box and bottles of dyes?
This was the smoking room. More books. The books were everywhere! It was a book lovers dream!
This pic gives you a good idea of the many different levels at The Biltmore.
This is the view the Vanderbilt Family and their guests enjoyed. George Vanderbilt and his architect used a ladder to determine what the best view would be before they began building.
We got to The Biltmore around 2’ish…we didn’t leave until around 8. There are so many things to look at.
We took a quick walk through some of the gardens, but we didn’t have time to look at everything.
Here area some of the pretties…
look how bright and vibrant they are!
I would love to see the gardens during each season.
There was a wine tasting included with the house ticket. If you know me, you know I’m not really into wine. The boys thought it was funny to watch my face as I tasted each wine.
The boys all got grape juice to try. They also had their fill of these pallet cleansing little biscuits that were sitting out.
We ended up getting three bottles of wine! lol! I found two white’s that I actually like.
When we left it was dark. There were several hummingbirds flitting between these big flowers and we stood there for a few minutes watching them. The picture’s not the best. It was dark and I only had my phone…but this little hummingbird decided to see what The Dude tasted like and flew down to lick his leg. It was pretty funny!
We had a great time exploring The Biltmore!
See y’all down the road!