Biltmore Estate

"Biltmore Estate" by JcPollock - Self-published work by JcPollock. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“Biltmore Estate” by JcPollock – Self-published work by JcPollock. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Recently, while visiting my sister, I was fortunate to visit the Biltmore Estate, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau completed in 1895, located in Asheville, NC.

It was a beautiful, warm day and we toured the gardens (such a treat!) and the house, which covers FOUR acres! It is the largest private home in the United States with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. Can you imagine cleaning a house that size? No thanks!

cora-with-creditAn added treat was an exhibit of over 45 costumes from Downton Abbey, the popular PBS series, many of which I recognized from watching the show for the past five seasons. It was great to see the lavish beaded gowns and tailored men’s suits up close. The overlaying of the fictional series with the real lifestyle of the Vanderbilts helped us envision what day to day life was like for the ultra-rich.

The priceless art, elaborate furnishings, tapestries from the Middle Ages and floral arrangements in every room were a sight to behold.

Today, it requires a staff of 1,800 to maintain the house and 8,000 acres of grounds. Over a million people visit the estate each year, which now includes an inn, stables and winery.

IMG_4766Of course, my main interest was the grounds and 40-acres of manicured gardens, which were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. IMG_4764 IMG_4767









A stunning display of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils filled the beds of the walled garden.

IMG_4768 IMG_4770The conservatory was filled to brimming with beautiful tropical plants that are used to decorate the buildings throughout the estate.

IMG_4772IMG_4775IMG_4782Many spring shrubs were in bloom including magnolias, dogwood, eastern redbud, forsythia and cherry. It was wonderful to jump into spring, leaving my still snow-covered yard and cool weather behind. I will return renewed and expectant of the abundant growth to come. Best of all, I’ll get to enjoy two springs this year!

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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61 Responses to Biltmore Estate

  1. ladygrace33 says:

    Beautiful but, OMG that is just to much living space 😉

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    It looks so much like Waddesdon Manor in my village!

  3. georgetteann says:

    Gorgeous photographs! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  4. I’ve been there only in high summer. Note to self: GO IN SPRING!!! Absolutely stunning, Eliza. Thank you so much for this visual feast.

  5. The colors are so stunning.

  6. cindy knoke says:

    WOW, we visited in the Fall and there were no gargeous gardens like this!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I wish I lived closer… I would come back to see the rose garden (2500 plants!) My sister bought a pass, so she’ll have to send me photos, but I’ll miss the fragrance. 🙂

  7. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    That looks like an amazing place – imagine having all that ‘garden’ to play with!

  8. Robin says:

    How beautiful! The house itself looks lovely (understatement?), but I’d be more interested in the grounds and gardens. I was thrilled to see the image with the redbuds blooming. I think it will be a few years before we see many blooms on the redbuds we planted here last year.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      The redbuds down here are gorgeous (all of the shrubs really) making me quite envious! I planted one a few years ago, but it keeps getting broken by ice and snow. It really is a more southern tree, I think. I hope yours grow quickly!

  9. arlingwoman says:

    Wow, I had no idea what the place looked like this time of year. I went a few years back with my cousin and just loved the gardens. George Vanderbilt actually brought the railroad to that part of NC so that he could get supplies down there for building. The descendants seem to be very savvy business people as well. Must have been an amazing time to visit with all that blooming going on!

  10. Jenna Dee says:

    Beautiful photos Eliza. The gardens look spectacular.

  11. Trini Lind says:

    Oh, how gorgeous!!! 🙂 I wish I could have come with you! 🙂 I watch Downton Abbey too, mostly because I loooove seeing all those beautiful dresses and hats!! I wish I could dress like that and have Garden Tea Parties in an enormous flowery garden!! 🙂

  12. Maria F. says:

    Eliza, these images are simply gorgeous! Each one looks like a painting! I knew I recognized it because the film “Being There” was filmed there; and I saw this film recently (the last from Peter Sellers). How fortunate to have been there Eliza, these images are breathtaking!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you so much Maria for your kind praise. I didn’t know that about “Being There” – such a fun movie. It is a great place to visit and takes more than a day to really see it all.

  13. Kina says:

    I know it must have been a beautiful sight to behold! 😉 Your sister was lucky to have you there with her !

  14. Robbie says:

    8000 acres of ground-OMgoodness…I would be in heaven:-) Could you imagine to have a place that beautiful:-) to work with and live in and share! Beautiful photos and great post…but I have to admit, I stopped watching Downtown after “Mary” started getting on my nerves-LOL-
    she drove me nuts! The actress did a great job playing the part:-) They were spoiled people:-)

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Indeed, I understand about Mary, but the costumes and surroundings are so beautiful to see.
      Believe it or not, the estate originally was 125,000 acres! More than 90% was sold off over the years, a lot to form Pisgah Nat’l Forest.

  15. dorannrule says:

    How fortunate you are to have visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. I was there several years ago with great friends. It would have been a doubly grand visit if the Downton Abbey wardrobe had been featured then. What an experience you must have had.

  16. mk says:

    What a treat! I absolutely LOVE visiting such places. It always reminds me what’s possible if we just let our imaginations go wild, and then what the heck, go for it. Like … maybe I could have a bit of Eden too? Could it be? Yes, why not!

  17. ladyfi says:

    What a treat! Lovely shots.

  18. Mary says:

    Gorgeous Eliza – it is a beautiful place.

  19. Sounds like an awesome adventure!

  20. I visited years ago when I was looking at colleges – I don’t remember the flowers being so beautiful, though! Perhaps we were just a little too early for the flowers.

  21. Heather says:

    Lived in northern Georgia for several years and never appreciated how close this place was. I don’t want to take care of it, but I would love to see it. And to have two springs 😉

  22. Kathy Sturr says:

    Oh, I LOVE Asheville Eliza! Wonderful Vegan food, great art AND beautiful gardens. We didn’t visit the Biltmore – it seems a bit like Disney to me. Instead we opted for the artists’ galleries in the river art district and ok, I’ll confess, the many brew pubs! Our last visit we stumbled upon a gem – the North Carolina Arboretum run by the university – wonderful, beautiful gardens. We will be visiting Asheville again and I’ll have to see the Biltmore gardens – they look stunning – way over the top – Disney!

  23. Leyla says:

    Beautiful pictures ❤

  24. Marvelous post, Eliza! One day I would love to visit those grounds. It was a treat to see them~thank you 🙂

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