The Biltmore Estate in the Springtime
Just a few weeks ago, our lovely grandmother took us to Asheville, North Carolina to visit the Biltmore Estate and Gardens. If you’re not familiar, this is the epic French chateau-inspired home of George Vanderbilt (along with his wife Edith, their daughter Cornelia, and all their many household maids, butlers, cooks, servers, etc.). The house itself is an opulent display of craftsmanship, especially for being built in rural North Carolina in the late 1800s (1889-1895).
By the time we left the tour of the house, we all felt like we knew George and Edith! I was especially impressed with their incredible spirit of hospitality, generosity, fun, and warmth. They invited friends to stay in their many guest rooms for extended visits and parties quite often. Edith would take baskets of food to servant families with new babies in their homes on the north side of the property. In the spring, she would carry flower seeds in her pockets when she visited, knowing that many of the families would have to save their money for necessities rather than luxuries like flowers. She and George also began education and training programs for youth.
Cornelia and her husband opened the house to the public in the 1930s and in the 1980s, Biltmore Winery was opened inside the old dairy barn in an attempt to make the estate completely self-sufficient.
They’ve also created a mini farm area for visitors to tour, complete with goats, chickens, horses, and a working blacksmith area. This man is the estate’s blacksmith and he has had a blacksmith in his family for almost 400 years! It was fascinating to watch him create a beautiful leaf shaped key ring right in front of us.
Here we are petting the baby goats and otherwise being goofy at the farm.
One of our favorite parts of the estate was the gardens. Please please please visit the Biltmore in the spring so you can walk through the gardens! I almost passed out from inhaling so deeply through the azalea gardens. It smelled so wonderful!