The Biltmore Estate is an Asheville staple, and its gardens are a true treasure not to be missed by any visitor to the city. The three-mile approach road to the property starts you off feeling relaxed, with its natural foliage and shrubbery. You’ll then have the chance to explore 75 acres of formal gardens directly surrounding the house as well as an outdoor tea room, European statuary, and beautiful water features. Watch the video below for a sense of the unique atmosphere:
Originally built between 1889 and 1895 for George Vanderbilt, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately-owned house in the United States. The Vanderbilt family amassed a major fortune in the railroad and shipping industries during the Gilded Age and was once the wealthiest family in America. To this day, the estate is owned by George’s descendants.
If you feel as if you're walking in a park when you visit the Biltmore Gardens, George Vanderbilt would be pleased. He envisioned a park-like setting for his home and hired the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design the grounds.
The Biltmore Estate and Gardens are certainly impressive as a display of wealth and architectural achievement. Just as important to George Vanderbilt, however, was the preservation of the natural beauty of the surrounding area. His vision of a self-sustaining estate that would nurture the land led to the creation of the first planned forestry program in the United States. Carl A. Schenck, who was brought in from Germany to manage the property’s vast forest lands, started the first forestry education program in America, the Biltmore Forest School. Although it only operated for about 10 years, it's considered “the cradle of forestry in America” and Scheneck’s theories of sustainable forestry are still highly influential in the field today.
The Biltmore Gardens are accessible as part of your admission to the Biltmore Estate. Your ticket will also grant you access to the Biltmore House; Antler Hill Village for shopping, dining, and more; and a complimentary wine tasting at the Biltmore winery. Tap the link below for ticket pricing and current discounts.
Cover image by WikiLaurent [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)].