Visit Biltmore! by Kathleen White

Nestled among the Blue Ridge mountains lies a gem, or rather a castle. As the largest private residence in the United States, Biltmore Estate spans over ten miles and is home to 250 rooms. Constructed from 1889-1895 for George Vanderbilt, the house and grounds look like pure fairy tale fiction. Although used as a private home, it was opened to the public in 1930 with the hope of increasing tourism amidst the Great Depression. Since then Biltmore has been a treasured destination, made even more magical by its different exhibits. Currently the exhibit Designed for Drama lives within the home. Costumes from award winning movies and mini series ranging from Pride and Prejudice to Sherlock Holmes create charming tableaus in the various rooms. Each period piece fits with the decor of the estate, but the connection is more than just aesthetic. All of the movies are based on the books that George Vanderbilt read. In addition to enjoying the exhibit, guests at Biltmore are encouraged to traipse from room to room listening to an audio tour. The audio tour not only details the history of the estate, but also doles out tidbits like the secret hallway that connects to the library that allowed guests to grab a book and sneak back to their rooms without being seen. From there I would recommend grabbing a refreshing ice cream cone in the courtyard before moving to walk on the grounds and enjoy the serenity of the gardens. One could spend an entire day in Biltmore and it still wouldn’t be enough time to fully explore and enjoy the estate. The sheer beauty of Biltmore is too elusive for words, so do yourself a favor and plan your trip now!

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