Asheville, North Carolina

Thursday 12th December 2019

-4C to 7C

Carmel and I spent the day at the Biltmore Estate. Biltmore House is the former home of George Washington Vanderbilt, his wife Edith and daughter Cornelia. It took 10 years to plan and build the home which officially opened in 1895. It is the largest privately owned house in the US. The Vanderbilt wealth was created by George Vanderbilt’s grandfather’s investment in railroads.

It is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau. George had a keen eye for design and was an avid collector of art from around the world, but more particularly from Europe. We saw some huge tapestries, dining tables that could seat more than 30 guests and being Christmas time the entire house is decorated in the Christmas There are more than 60 Christmas trees all decorated and lit up. The biggest tree is in the main dining room, stands about 30ft tall and has 500 lights.

We spent 2 hours exploring this stunning residence before seeking out refreshment via the wine tasting room which is located about 5 miles from the main house. The estate has a vineyard, a thriving resort, various restaurants, a working farm, a deer park and employs more than 2000 locals. Being in the grip of winter the gardens were mostly dormant, although the conservatory plants were in full bloom. We also checked out the Downton Abbey exhibition in Amherst Hall.

The estate is still owned and operated by the family since opening to the public in 1930

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