One of the most spectacular places in the US is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. After moving to the area in 2014, my parents quickly became members. They visit multiple times per year, which means every time I make the trip out to see them, Biltmore is on the itinerary.
You'd think visiting the same place over and over could get old. It doesn't.
One reason it's worth repeat visits is that it is so immense it's impossible to see everything in one go. At 178,926 square feet, it's the largest privately-owned house in the country. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II (of THE Vanderbilts) between 1889 and 1895, it's still owned by his descendants. I've taken multiple tours of the house and every time I learn something new (and drool over the library).
Another is that they've always got something happening. Whether it's the clothing of Downton Abbey or the Titanic, or glass sculptures by famed artist Dale Chihuly, or their seasonal Christmas display, Biltmore provides reasons to return again and again.
My new favorite reason to visit the Biltmore is their grounds and gardens. In a word, they're stunning. The 8,000 acre estate was designed by the Father of American Landscape Architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. His other works, with partner Calvert Vaux, include NYC's Central Park and multiple parks in Chicago, including Jackson Park, Washington Park, and the Midway Plaisance, all three part of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.
If you've been to any of those, you've seen first-hand that Olmsted's work is genius. Exploring Biltmore will reinforce and magnify that opinion. The sheer scale of the landscape, with its managed forests, walled garden, greenhouse, and 2 1/2 miles of paths, would be overwhelming if it weren't so expertly designed.
In the spring the gardens awaken with a cacophony of color. Biltmore Blooms is a riotous explosion of tulips, daffodils, azaleas, hyacinths, and more.
I could try to describe it, but my words would never do this beauty justice, so I've tried to capture it in photos. Scroll to the bottom for details on visiting this American treasure.
Details on visiting the Biltmore Estate:
Biltmore is located at 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803. The estate includes the house itself, Antler Hill Village & Winery, a total of 15 dining venues, 13 shops, three overnight properties, the gardens, and walking paths, all on 8,000 acres.
The admissions gate opens daily at 8:30am and closes at 6:30pm Spring through Fall and at 5:30pm during the winter.
Tours are offered daily, and reservations are required on weekends except late January through March.
Check the Bloom Report to see what's blooming each week.