Location: Ashville, North Carolina
Ticket Prices: -
The following information was researched by our volunteer team member
Toni : Thank you very much!
My goal for this new section of “The Traveling Knight” is to enlighten you about the glorious wonders to be seen in the United States. You may notice a contrast in the original building purpose of these magnificent structures between the Americans' display of wealth versus a portion of other countries' castles and their necessity for safety during battles. As time progresses forward most can be appreciated for their distinct beauty and history.
I would like to begin with my favorite, The Grand Daddy of them all. The
most famous American Castle would have to be George Washington
Vanderbilt's “country retreat”, Biltmore. A 250 room French Renaissance
Chateau surrounded by 8,000 acres of forest, located near the Blue Ridge
Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore is the largest private
residence in the United States, housing thousands of priceless antiques
and works of art, which Mr. Vanderbilt collected during his many travels.
The creation of the name Biltmore came from Bildt, the Dutch town where
his ancestors originated from, and “more” an old English word for open,
rolling land, which is so appropriate for the lay of the land of this
estate. Mr. Vanderbilt's vision was to create a self sustaining property,
which he accomplished through his forestry program and Biltmore Dairy
Farms. After six years of construction Biltmore opened on Christmas Eve
1895 with many marvels of modern technology. He married Edith in 1898 and
they welcomed one daughter, Cornelia who eventually had two sons. One of
whom currently manages the Biltmore Estate.
Reaching Biltmore requires a tranquil ride on the three mile Approach
Road. Upon rounding the last bend in the clearing the Masterpiece just
seems to appear from nowhere. Now for a few of the room highlights I
offer you the Winter Garden. A spectacular glass roofed sunken garden
room with a fountain in the center, where entertaining took place amid
the indoor jungle of plants. The Billiard Room was a retreat for the
gentlemen of the house, where they could entertain themselves and relax
with a game of pool. The largest room in the home is the Banquet Hall
which can seat 64 for dinner near the triple fireplace. During Christmas
this is the site of the Christmas tree spectacular.
Also of interest is the Music Room that “never was” during Mr.
Vanderbilt's life. The space remained empty until it was completed in
1976. The Tapestry Gallery is a ninety foot long room displaying silk and
wool tapestries, which served as a sitting area and possibly a ballroom.
My “must see” for this home is the Library which happens to be my
favorite room. It is quite impressive with the floor- to-ceiling black
marble fireplace surrounded by two stories of shelves filled with
thousands of books. The second deck can be accessed by the spiral
staircase, with an abundance of seating to read that favorite book, on
the main level. Perhaps they chose to get a bit of fresh air to
complement their book, out on the Library Terrace which presented endless
scenery, and sheltered by an arbor of fragrant blossoms.
Your passage to the second, third and fourth floors will lead you up the
102 step Grand Staircase. Hanging from the center is a large chandelier
suspended from a single point. Once upstairs, there are many bedrooms and
guest suites to admire
The downstairs level offers activities ranging from a two lane bowling alley, and an indoor swimming pool to the gymnasium filled with the equipment of that day. Across the lawn, at the lower end of the Gardens, is the Conservatory that provides the plants and flowers used on the estate.
Each season of the year offers a different delight to partake of. Spring
is just around the corner, a time which begins the transformation of a
splendid banquet of multi-colored blooms that last through fall,
enhancing the charm of Biltmore. During the Christmas Holiday season
Biltmore's interior is adorned with many wreaths, poinsettias, evergreen
roping and decorated trees making this a true winter wonderland, which
only adds to the heartwarming feeling that Biltmore shares with its
multitude of guests!
Modern day additions to the Biltmore Estate are the conversion of the old
dairy into The Winery which produces award winning wines and The Inn on
Biltmore Estate where you may inhale fresh mountain air, relish nature's
rainbow of beauty at its best and savor some temporary luxurious living.
For more information: www.biltmore.com
Photos provided by: Toni D. Mattson
Beth, 33, from New York, wrote:
I first visited Biltmore when I was in high school. I have been back at least 6 times. I am absolutely fascinated with it. Every time I visit there is something new to see, whether it is new rooms they opened or just something I missed before. It's like walking into another world. It is amazing to see the wealth and extravagant with which the Vanderbilt's lived. The fact that it is still privately by the family is also amazing. I recommend everyone to visit at least once, it is well worth it!
Nancy Warren, 40, from Missouri, wrote,
The most beautiful place in the world to me is Ashville in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I have always loved it there and seeing the castle only makes it that much more special. I took my eight year old daughter and we pretended we were Vanderbilts as we strolled the grounds and visited the castle. It was the most fun I have had in a very long time.
Betsy, 21, from Ohio, wrote:
I visited the Biltmore during Christmas vacation of my senior year of high school. I know I was going to go to college for history, but to do what? After seeing the Biltmore, I realized what kind of history I really loved. Now I'm a senior in college and planning on going to grad school for architectural history. I am the only one among my friends who has known since freshman year where I was going with my degree. The house during Christmas is gorgeous. The tree in the dinning hall in stunning. Even in the winter the grounds are delightful and I can't wait till I have the chance to see them in full bloom.
Donna Alford, 47, from Louisiana, wrote:
This is a beautiful castle. I could have stayed for days admiring the architectural design and view. Everyone should plan a trip to tour this castle.
Josh Rich, 14, from Kentucky, wrote:
Biltmore is the most exciting place I've ever been. I love the architecture and the history. It is amazing that one man built this wonderful place before ever having a family and planning for everything!
Elyce, 15, from USA, wrote:
I have been to the Biltmore Estate (Castle) and I found it very beautiful and wonderful. The house in its self was breathtaking and the gardens surrounding it were just as magical. Its setting in the gorgeous NC mountains is perfect for such a house. The Vanderbilt's mansion is a great accomplishment.
Marian Langmeyer, 50, from South Carolina, wrote:
This is often called one of Americas true castles. it was built in the late 1890's by one of the sons of the Admiral Cornelius Vander Built of the shipbuilding empire. It has always supported itself as a dairy, winery and working farm. It also supplies work to the people of the area. I believe it deserves recognition with other castles of the world.