Guest post by Bob Robert Foster
Most people sleep in the same bed each night. They shower in the same bathroom each morning, and brush their teeth at the same sink. While it’s true that people are creatures of habit, most of us don’t really have a choice about this-we have one bedroom, and if we are lucky, one bathroom associated with it.
But what if your home had 34 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms? Would you sleep in the same one each night, or would you try them all?
Asheville, North Carolina is home to George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House and Gardens, a magnificent mansion on 8,000 acres of beautifully landscaped ground. Built in 1895, the 250 room home is the largest privately owned home in the United States-undoubtedly explaining why it is the region’s most popular tourist attraction.
Over six years, 1000 workers built the 175,000 square foot home. They included 65 fireplaces, three kitchens, a banquet hall, a lagoon and a functional winery in the plans. There is no shortage of things to see, so be sure to set aside enough time in your trip to take it all in. The home is open to visitors 365 days a year.
This incredible feat of construction is home to a priceless collection of art and antiques, collected by Mr. Vanderbilt himself. The entire collection, as well as the family’s original furnishings, has been preserved for visitors to see on a self-guided tour with or without an audio companion.
Every so often, tear yourself away from the man-made splendor to look out the window-the Biltmore overlooks 75 acres of gardens. This amazing space was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who is best known for designing another famous “backyard”: New York’s Central Park. This one isn’t a typical patch of grass, however-not unless your lawn has reflecting pools, a walled garden, a conservatory, a bass pond and many paths and trails.
The Biltmore Estate Winery offers its own tour of the grapes that make the South’s most popular wine. They offer wine tasting classes and cooking demonstrations, as well as fine dining at the Bistro Restaurant.
For history buffs, take a look at the Farm Village, Biltmore’s functional farm. Over 100 years old, the Farm Village is a great place for kids to get up close to horses, cows, chickens and sheep while watching blacksmiths and woodworkers in action. Check out the historic farm equipment and be amazed at how far technology has come!
About the author:
Born and raised in the Smoky Mountain region, Bob Foster became a passionate expert on this part of the country even as a child. Years later Bob turned that childhood passion and expertise into a profession when Bob became a general manager for the family business that specializes in rentals of Gatlinburg cabins and Pigeon Forge cabins, both towns being in the heart of the Smokies. The company motto is “Creating guests for life by offering an experience of a lifetime” and it is with that thought in mind that Bob started a blog fully dedicated to information about the Smokies, which can be found at blog.patriotgetaways.com.