Biltmore Estate Then & Now -America’s Largest Home

Biltmore Estate is a historic home museum and popular tourist destination. The primary residence, Biltmore House, was a Chateauesque mansion constructed for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 In Asheville, North Carolina

America’s largest house, Biltmore, is awash in elegance and grandeur. A masterpiece of architecture, this French Renaissance castle is located in the heart of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are 250 rooms total in the house, including 65 fireplaces, 35 bedrooms, and 43 bathrooms.

Biltmore House History

Elliott kaufman photography

George Vanderbilt made the decision to settle in the area after falling in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1888. The outcome was his iconic estate, Biltmore, in Asheville, North Carolina.

Biltmore is still open to visitors more than a century later. America’s largest house, Biltmore House, is the estate’s prized possession. Enjoy breathtaking architecture, rare pieces of art, and an intriguing glimpse at life at the turn of the 20th century on your self-guided tour.

Biltmore Estate’s Top 7 Activities

Biltmore House

A self-guided tour of Biltmore House’s four stories will show you its elegance and charm. As you travel, take in the original artwork, furnishings, and antiques that George Vanderbilt amassed. Favorite spaces in the estate are the enormous Banquet Hall with its 70-foot high ceiling and the Library with 10,000 books! A comprehensive audio guide and narrated behind-the-scenes tours are offered for a fee.

Biltmore Gardens

Beautiful woodlands and gardens are ideal for leisurely strolls. Wander through gardens created by renowned landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted after leaving the mansion. A gorgeous world of garden walks is introduced by the lush and lovely reflecting ponds of the Italian Gardens. You may reach the four-acre Walled Garden, Azalea Garden, and Spring Garden by taking a short stroll.

Biltmore Winery

Follow a stunning road with views of farmland and mountains from the mansion and grounds to Antler Hill Village, where Biltmore Winery is located. You get a free wine sampling as part of your Biltmore entrance. More than 20 handcrafted vintages, including reds, whites, and rosés, are available at the winery. The chance to enjoy a guided tour of the Biltmore Winery’s production plant or of the gorgeous vineyards is ideal for the true wine aficionado.

Edith Vanderbilt’s Bedroom

Richard Morris Hunt (1828–1895), an architect, and Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape architect, were two of the most renowned designers of the 19th century whom George Vanderbilt hired (1822-1903). The stone home’s 780-foot façade and four stories were intended to match the magnificence of the nearby mountains.

Hunt based the building’s design on the ornate French Renaissance movement and borrowed details from Blois, Chenonceau, and Chambord, three renowned early 16th-century châteaux in the Loire Valley, as well as the stair tower and steeply pitched roof. The home is made of more than 11 million bricks, and the enormous stone spiral staircase has 102 steps and rises four levels. A 72-bulb iron chandelier suspended from a single point hangs through the center of the structure.

Biltmore Restaurants

During your visit, there are numerous food alternatives available. You’ll need a ticket to access any of these since they are all inside the Estate. Every day of the week, they are all open. Visit the Biltmore website to learn more.

Biltmore Dining


Six dining options, from excellent to casual, are available. Many of the dishes offered use fresh herbs, salad greens, meats, and eggs from the working farm at Biltmore Estate. The estate-raised Angus cattle and White Dorper sheep are the source of the premium cuts of hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and lamb used at Biltmore. Local farmers provide other ingredients like farmstead cheese and mountain fish.

The Cantilevered Staircase in Biltmore House

The chandelier in the Grand Staircase at Biltmore Estate. Photo: Biltmore Estate

The great staircase at Biltmore was designed employing counterbalance and was modeled after the stairway at the Chateau de Blois in the Loire Valley. The weight of the wall bearing down balances off the weight of each firm limestone step.

Grotesques vs. Gargoyles

Biltmore Estate’s ornate limestone columns. Photo: Biltmore Estate

Grotesques are stone-carved fantasy characters that were first seen in Italian grottoes in the 16th century. They frequently occur entwined with floral decorations, either on the capitals of pillars or at the base of trusses. They are everywhere at Biltmore.

Gargoyles are larger and extend farther from the wall. Although the gargoyles on the Biltmore are merely ornamental, their typical function is to deflect water away from a structure. They are placed at strategic locations around the exterior at viewing spots in an effort to fend off evil spirits.

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Baltimore Estate Restoration

Historic hallway is restored by Biltmore House renovations.

John Warner/The Biltmore Company

The second room that was restored was the connected corridor that connects George’s bedroom door at the west end of the second floor hall with Edith’s bedroom door, the oak sitting room where they would have breakfast together, and the stairs beyond.

Two huge display cabinets and three “Medici settees,” which make up half of a set of six and five of which have been restored and reupholstered with replicas of the original fabric, are placed in the corridor (from Prelle, of course). When the wood sitting room is renovated, the two additional refurbished sofas will be placed there.

After 15 years of preservation, Biltmore’s Oak Sitting Room underwent restoration.

Even the most patient historical preservationists found it difficult to wait out the 15-year-long repair of the Oak Sitting Room at the Biltmore Estate. Thankfully, the area has been repaired, and it appears to be just as opulent as it did when the Vanderbilt family lived there more than a century ago.

The Oak Sitting Room “was a component of the family apartment in Biltmore House that served as a private sitting room for George and Edith Vanderbilt,” according to Lori Garst, the Biltmore’s associate curator. In this chamber, daily meetings between the Vanderbilts and head housekeeper Emily King took place during the Vanderbilt era [from 1895 to 1914]. The family would utilize it as one of the few private spaces where they could unwind after having a party or socializing with visitors, the author continues.

Biltmore House Today

Despite leaving Biltmore’s day-to-day management in 1995, Bill Cecil remained the board of directors’ chairman until his demise in October 2017. However, the estate is still under the control of Cecil’s children; Bill Cecil Jr. is the current CEO, and Dini Pickering, a daughter of Cecil, helps with day-to-day operations.

A division of Cecil’s business, The Biltmore Company, Biltmore receives over a million visitors annually. This organization is in charge of managing the Biltmore estate and various related businesses (such as the winery). The estate, which George W. Vanderbilt II and Bill Cecil worked so hard to create, earns about $50 million USD year and serves as a symbol of the Vanderbilt family and the Gilded Age in America.

Updates on Biltmore and ticket and promotions ​​​

  • Through January 2023, Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius is on display. On the Biltmore website, purchase tickets.
  • Purchase tickets through the Biltmore website to save $8. No coupon is required.
  • Seniors 65 and over receive a $10 discount on regular adult daytime admission. Wednesday and Tuesday.
  • With a military ID, U.S. service members can enter for $10 less than usual during the day.
  • For $25, you can spend an additional day on the estate with access to the gardens, grounds, and Antler Hill Village (House admission not included). purchase on the initial visitation day.
  • New developments at The Winery.


Why is it called the Biltmore House?

Vanderbilt made a reference to his family as well as the mountains in western North Carolina when he chose a name for his estate. The name “Biltmore” comes from “Bildt,” a Dutch community with Vanderbilt ancestry residents, and “more,” an old English noun for a region of rolling mountains.

What happened to the Biltmore Estate?

The family is still the estate’s owner. Bill Cecil Jr., a great-grandson of George Vanderbilt, currently serves as the CEO of the Biltmore Company. The majority of Biltmore’s remarkable expansion was the result of his father’s efforts, along with those of William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil, George Vanderbilt’s grandson.

How much is the Biltmore Estate Worth 2023?

They calculated the total value of the Biltmore Estate to be close to $300 million, which would be closer to $344 million in today’s money after accounting for inflation. This figure included the hotels, restaurants, conservatory, outbuildings, and private residences.

Who lives in Biltmore Estate Now?

With the fourth and fifth generations of George Vanderbilt’s descendants working in day-to-day operations, Biltmore is still a family-run enterprise today. They carry out Biltmore’s goal to protect this national asset along with its more than 2,000 staff members.

How to get Biltmore Estate tickets?

Online adult daytime entrance to Biltmore House starts at $69 per person. Date and season affect price. Those aged 10 to 16 can enter for less money. 9 and younger children are free.

Have you been to Biltmore before? How did you feel? Comment below and let us know!

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