Biltmore Day Trip
Staying in the Pigeon Forge area and looking for a day trip? I would highly suggest you take a trip over the mountain to Asheville, NC so you can visit the grand Biltmore Estate. It is the largest privately owned house in the United States! Covering 178,926 square feet, it has over 250 rooms. The house consists of 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. Majestic mountains surround Biltmore and it is one of the most picturesque places you can visit!
George Vanderbilt first visited Asheville, North Carolina in 1888 at the age of 26. He immediately fell in love with the majestic scenery and began planning the construction of his country home immediately. Construction began in 1889 and 6 years later George Vanderbilt opened his house to friends and family at Christmas. George had traveled abroad many times and on these trips he purchased furnishings dating between the 1400’s and the late 1800’s from various countries.
George married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser in 1898, in Paris, and returned to live at Biltmore where they had their only child, Cornelia, in 1900. In 1914, following an emergency appendectomy surgery, George Vanderbilt died from complications at the young age of 51. His widow, Edith sold about 87,000 acres to the United States Forest Service to honor George’s wish that the land remain unaltered. Cornelia later married John Cecil in 1924 and they had two children, George Henry Vanderbilt Cecil and William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil.
Cornelia and John Cecil opened Biltmore to the public in March of 1930. The hopes were to help with the financial situation during the Depression. Family continued to live there until 1956 when the house was permanently opened as a museum. In 1960 William Cecil returned to Biltmore to help his brother manage the estate. He planted the first vines in 1971 and the winery opened in 1985. Today, Biltmore is still owned by Vanderbilt descendants.
Biltmore was used to shelter 62 painting and 17 sculptures from the National Gallery of Art in D.C during World War II to protect them in the event of an attack on the United States and many notorious guests visited Biltmore Estate including author Edith Wharton, novelist Henry James, The Prince of Wales and US Presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Many movies have been filmed on the Biltmore ground as well, including the Last of the Mohicans, Patch Adams and Forrest Gump.
The Estate was placed on the National Historic Landmark list in 1964 and over a million people from around the world visit Biltmore yearly. 19th century novelties such as elevators, fire alarms and an intercom system pull visitors from afar, not to mention the 70,000 gallon pool, bowling alley, exercise equipment, 2 story library and so much more! The tour takes you through bedrooms, dining halls, butler quarters, the kitchen etc. Outside the house you can tour acres of gardens where you can see ponds and a waterfall. There is so much scenery as you take one of the walking or biking trails throughout the property.
Before or after touring the house you can visit Antler Village at Biltmore. It consists of an Outdoor Adventure Center, Creamery, Restaurants, The Winery and The Biltmore Legacy, which is a museum that highlights the life of the Vanderbilt’s. Auto enthusiasts can also view George Vanderbilt’s 1913 Stevens-Duryea C-Six vehicle. It is on display at the Winery and is the only vehicle that remains on the estate. Children can also tour the farmyard where they can view and pet many animals.
As you can tell Biltmore has something for everyone. From the history enthusiast, the avid gardener and to the culture lover Biltmore has activities and fun for all ages. There are also shops for both adults and children to enjoy while visiting for the day. I would suggest you start early as visiting can be an all day event. Between walking the grounds, touring the house, visiting the shops and visiting Antler Village you will have more than enough to fill a whole day. It is well worth the hour and 45 min drive from Pigeon Forge! Be sure to pack a camera and pick up a bottle of wine at The Winery to enjoy once you return to your Pigeon Forge condo.