The Biltmore, a summer getaway built by 32-year-old bachelor George Washington Vanderbilt II, grandson of Cornelius.
Interesting that I-40 is built right atop the entrance road to the house. Granted the driveway is 2.5 miles long and I-40 is at the gate, I still wonder if there was any consideration given to the positioning of I-40 given the importance of the home.
Much to my surprise and chagrin, there was NO PHOTOGRAPHY allowed once inside the house. I can’t imagine why it’s not permitted – after all, one can take photos inside the best museums of the world today and most every other attraction I know. I’d love to know their reasoning. Anyone know?
Soooooooo, the next few photos are NOT MINE, rather culled from the Biltmore website and other sources.
The first room was our favorite – called The Winter Room – a conservatory with the smartest rod system method of opening the windows up at the tippy top of the dome – something Mr. EOS is thinking about for the windows in the Carriage House cupola.
Then George’s master bedroom Gold papered walls and a rather large walk-in closet. Each of main bedrooms of the house has its own bath, and baths that look like they are done today – classic white subway tiles. George had money AND good taste.
George married shortly after building Biltmore and we were told that his wife Edith saw the home for the first time when she was brought here after their honeymoon. I don’t know about you, but I’d be thinking I married well and might even break into a happy dance!
The banquet hall is simply enormous with an organ loft that has a 1916 Skinner pipe organ (which was being played when we walked through!) It’s hard to see in this photo, but in the upper right corner is a red flag with crossed swords on it, saying Liberty or Death. Someone tell me what flag that is please.
Nothing was forgotten in this summer house – an indoor pool and bowling alley, a full gymnasium, changing rooms, and so many guest rooms, I lost count – each one beautifully simple, yet ornate at the same time.
It was tons of fun to see the downstairs of the mansion too – the kitchens, huge pantries, walk-in refrigerators, the laundry room, the female staff quarters, each given a private bedroom with a shared bath. The male staff were shuffled off to the stables.
Where I could stop and take a photo was outside in the loggia, a place George designed to take advantage of the North Carolina views, which aren’t too shabby.
Found online, a photo of the back of the house, looking at the loggia
Once outside and a chance to sit down a second, I plopped down to a woman on the phone. She kept saying Biltmore, Biltmore Biltmore, each time louder than the previous iteration. Whoever she was talking to didn’t know the house so she explained a bit, by saying it was an old estate, then added the house really wasn’t much to look at. I almost fell off the bench!
The grounds are equally fabulous, a long walk through it was seeing roses that were at the end of their life and gardeners busy planting fall annuals that will blossom that in a few weeks. No doubt people flock here in the fall, for the foliage and the fall gardens.
The estate has an equally beautiful garden conservatory – back to my photos.
A perfect day all around. I’d like to come back at Christmas, stay at the hotel on the grounds and see the house in all its Christmas finery.
Just for some perspective on the enormity of the estate….once 125,000 acres, here’s an aerial photo.