Dan recently surprised me with a weekend getaway to Asheville, NC. I had no idea where we were going until we got a little closer. All he told me was the weather forecast, how long a drive it was, and to request a certain Friday off. We’ve went on plenty of trips, but never one that I didn’t know the details of. I was pretty excited, and honestly didn’t try to guess the destination. The Biltmore Estate has been on my list of things to do, and it didn’t disappoint.
Day 1: We had plans to leave Friday morning after getting the kids off to school, so of course there was a two hour fog delay. After a little re-arranging, we headed out around 8;30. It was about a seven hour drive which, for us, is not bad at all. We usually drive everywhere we go. If you prefer to stay on property there are several choices. The Cottage on Biltmore Estate, The Inn on Biltmore Estate, or Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate. Dan had booked us a room at the Country Inn & Suites near downtown Asheville, and about 15 minutes from the Biltmore Estate . When we arrived I found out that we had tickets for the Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore. How romantic 😉 Before making our way there, we went to Bone & Broth for dinner.
On to the Biltmore. A little history before we get started….George Vanderbilt started building the house in 1889, and it was finished in 1895. He was single when the construction started! The house boasts 65 fire places, along with 35 bedrooms, and 43 bathrooms. If you are interested in the history of it at all, I would highly recommend doing the audio guide. It was very informative.
This picture was in the basement on our way to see the bowling alley, indoor swimming pool, and workout area. How crazy is that since this house was built in the late 1800s?!
That wraps up day 1. Our tickets were for 9:15PM, and we finished the tour up at about 11:30 , to give you an idea of how much time you will need.
Day 2: We were up fairly early to eat the complimentary breakfast. We’re always willing to save a little money, so we can go on more trips. 🙂 Then it was back to the Biltmore to tour the grounds and gardens. Unfortunately the rain from day 1 continued into day 2, but we made the best of it. A little info on the grounds, the estate covers 8,000 acres! Sounds like a lot, right? But, it originally covered 125,000 acres. Since we were visiting for the Christmas tours, we didn’t see a lot of the gardens. The flowers and plant life in the conservatory were beautiful, however, so I can imagine the gardens are as well.
After leaving the garden area, we drove over to Antler Hill Village & Winery where we had reservations for lunch at Cedric’s Tavern. There are a few restaurants to choose from on property, along with some shopping, and an exhibit on The Biltmore Legacy. Also in the Antler Hill area is the barn where you can see some of the farm equipment that was used in the 1900s, woodworkers, and blacksmiths.
That wraps up day 2 at the Biltmore Estate. It is somewhere we both said we would visit again in warmer weather to experience the gardens in bloom, and more of the property. There are also several outdoor activities to choose from when the weather permits, such as hiking, horseback riding, and river float trips to name a few.
We weren’t finished yet though….on to Asheville for a comedy bus tour with Lazoom . We learned some things about Asheville we otherwise would not have, all while laughing and having a good time. We enjoyed the downtown area. It was very walkable, albeit a little hilly (or maybe we just need to get in shape), so many stores to look in, coffee shops like City Bakery where we enjoyed a cheese danish and coffee. Dinner was at white duck taco shop, and no trip would be complete without a stop at an outlet mall. We didn’t have much time there, but the Asheville Outlets looked like we (who am I kidding…I really mean I)…I could’ve spent some more money…er, time there.
If you have the chance to visit Asheville and the Biltmore Estate, I would definitely do it. It made for a great weekend getaway, and it’s only a short 90 minute drive from the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area if you happen to be visiting that area, and want to venture a little further away.