We spent the better part of a day visiting the Biltmore Estate and it was AWESOME! It took us a few days to decide if we wanted to spend the money because it was expensive, but I have to say that it was worth it. We were able to see so much and we even brought the pups along! Huge bonus in my book. It is obvious that Asheville, in general, is very dog friendly. However, when it comes to their most popular attraction you wouldn’t expect that they too would be lovers of the furry four leggers. All of the employees were so nice and helpful. After my experience working at a tourist attraction, I tend to evaluate the employees at other attractions a little too much. It was clear that they genuinely enjoyed their jobs and that took the whole experience to a new level.
We ordered our tickets ahead of time online and picked them up at will call, which worked out nicely. We got there around 9:00 AM. We wanted to get there early to avoid some of the crowds. After parking we walked to the mansion and were in shock and awe of how huge the house was and just how beautiful it was, even from a distance. It felt as though we were stepping back in time to 1895. George Vanderbilt opened the Biltmore House on Christmas Eve of 1895. It took 6 years to construct. They didn’t open the house to the public until 1930 to generate income during the Great Depression.
I’m pretty sure Oakley felt like royalty all day. Or excuse me, Princess Annie Oakley, she pretty much owned the place.
Gerrit set up shop right outside the bake shop to work for the morning. Their WiFi was excellent and so was the coffee. He loved being able to work outside in the sunshine and was actually able to get a lot done even with the background noise of other people walking about.
Meanwhile, the pups and I explored the gardens. We hiked as far as the Bass Pond & Boat House. The architecture along the way was beautiful. There were tons of different trees planted everywhere, and it was nice that there was informational plaques along the way so you knew what you were looking at. The entire estate is 8,000 acres and in addition to the gardens and the mansion itself, there is a winery, a farm, and a hotel.
After our hike I took the pups to the complimentary self-serve dog kennels so Gerrit and I could tour the house during his lunch break. Having this available was really awesome! We had never done anything like it and the pups didn’t seem to mind too much. It was really simple and we had the added comfort knowing that they were safe while we enjoyed the areas they couldn’t go. I have loved using bringfido.com while planning this trip! It’s super helpful to see where dogs are welcome in the area you’re in. This website is where I learned about the dog kennels. The Biltmore doesn’t advertise it and it’s not even on the map.
The Biltmore House is the largest home in America with 250 rooms. That includes 35 guest and family rooms, 43 bathrooms (none of which you can actually use), three kitchens and 65 fire places. Not to mention the indoor swimming pool and bowling ally that are located in the basement. It was even more spectacular seeing it all decorated for Christmas.
Gerrit’s favorite room was the Banquet Hall. The ceiling is seven stories high and has three magnificent fire places.
I’m torn between the library and the smoke/gun room being my favorite. The Library only contains half of Vanderbilt’s 22,000 book collection. The chess set and game table were once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte (the emperor of France, not Napoleon Dynomite). The smoking/gun room just looked really cool and that is where most of his mounts are hung. 🙂
Overall, we had a great visit and would definitely recommend visiting the Biltmore House to our family and friends!