A weekend trip at the Biltmore Estates, Asheville, North Carolina

Alison Christie


    Are you looking for a nice weekend getaway for this fall but don’t know where you want to go?  I have your answer – a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, and The Biltmore Estates.

    The Biltmore Estates is much more than just a big mansion to tour.  Of course, the house is spectacular and you won’t want to miss taking a tour of it but there is so much more to do and see.

    If you go this fall, you will have the beautiful, colorful leaves for your drive to Asheville and get to see the vibrant colors when experiencing all of the outdoor activities that are available at the Biltmore and surrounding areas.  It can be as simple as strolling the gardens and the grounds, taking a stand-up paddleboard trip down the French Broad River or renting a bike and taking a ride along the river or through the surrounding woodlands. Enjoy the scenery on a carriage ride through the estate, go fly-fishing or tour the grounds on horseback (what I want to do on my next visit).

    The Gang – my sons Alex and Austin and their best friend Greg Stump and I - spent my birthday weekend there four years ago. They surprised me with the trip for my birthday, thinking that would be something I would enjoy.

     While most of the autumn foliage was gone, we had the bonus of the Estate being decked out with Christmas decorations.  It was beautiful and made up for missing the fall colors.  So, if a fall trip for you is not in the cards, visit in November or December.

    Here is a little history regarding the Biltmore Estate: The Biltmore Estate was built by American magnate George Washington Vanderbilt II and it was modeled after the mansions of Europe when it was constructed in the late 19th century. The Biltmore House is the largest home in the United States—a staggering 178,926-square-feet (16,623-square-meters) sitting on more than 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares)—and a prominent example of America’s Gilded Age.

The Biltmore House is the highlight of the estate and provides for hours of exploration and enjoyment. Its 250 rooms include 36 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens and a 10,000-volume library. The impressive house is surrounded by a manicured park landscape, including a timber forest, formal gardens, and quiet ponds.

     Some things you should know before you go: The number of visitors allowed inside the Biltmore House is controlled, so it is best to buy tickets in advance to guarantee entry. Advance reservations are required on certain days.

     The self-guided tour along a marked route through the home takes at least two hours. Guided, 90-minute tours are available for an additional fee.

     You need a car to travel between locations on the Biltmore Estate. A shuttle is available between the Biltmore House parking lot and the front door. Only the first and second floors of the Biltmore House are wheelchair accessible.

     How to Get There: From Ashland take US 23 South and then I-26 East to Asheville. Go this fall and enjoy the beautiful leaves alongside this beautiful drive.

The Biltmore Estate is in the countryside outside of Asheville and is four miles north of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free parking is available with a shuttle from the lot to the estate entrance. If you’re staying in Charlotte, North Carolina consider booking a full-day group tour to the estate.

     When to Get There: The estate admissions gate is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The best time to visit the Biltmore Estate is first thing in the morning on a weekday, as it can get very crowded on the weekends. Crowds are sparse in winter but you miss out on the blooming gardens and all the outdoor activities available. But like I mentioned earlier, it’s a treat to see the mansion all decorated with Christmas decorations in November and December.

    Wine aficionados may also want to visit the winery in Antler Hill Village and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting. Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, North Carolina 28803. Open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

   Biltmore Christmas Lights Dates: November 3 2018 to January 5, 2018.

Ticket Pricing During Christmas Lights: (Pricing is per adult) General Admission: $77; Audio Guide: $14.28; Bistro Dining Voucher: $38.50; Deer Park Dining Voucher: (Saturday Lunch) $48.40

Here are some lodging options

    Hampton Inn Ashville Biltmore Village: 4.5-star rating; 0.5 Miles from Biltmore Estate; free breakfast! Two queen beds with micro fridge and microwave from $170 per night or studio one king non-Smoking from $187 per night.

     Grand Bohemian Ashville, Autograph Collection: 4.5-star rating; 463 feet from Biltmore Estate! Two queens from $375 per night or King from $384 per night.

     Manor House: Across the Street! One king from $395 per night or executive studio 1 King with Sofa bed from $556 per night.

     Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate: 4.5-star rating! Located next to the winery, dining and

shopping, and outdoor activities! Village King from $349 per night.

     The Inn on Biltmore Estate: 4-star rating; deluxe room one double from $439 per night.

     Cottage on Biltmore Estate: 5-star rating; historic estate cottage. Truly unique experience. One standard accommodation from $1870 per night.

     These are prices quoted as of Monday, September 10 and are subject to change due to availability.  Call us at Christie Cruise and Travel Masters at 606.324.4555. 

     As always, safe travels and Godspeed.