I was so excited this last vacation, to finally see the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC. This is still the largest private home in the United States. It was originally built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895 and had 125,000 acres. It still has 8000 acres. it became a family home for George, his wife Edith and their daughter Cornelia. Cornelia married John Cecil in 1924. It is still owned by their descendants. It has over 250 rooms. It opened to the public in 1930. The tour is 60$, plus we pain another 12 for the audio guide. It seemed pretty pricey, but felt it was worth it when it was all over with.
I took a ton of photos, not all of them much good, but I whittled it down to these. I will do a separate entry for the gardens.
Although there are 250 rooms in the house, you tour about 40. You still feel like you are getting lost. This is the front door, the entrance. The house is built in a European style out of locally sourced materials.
The first thing you see is the Winter garden. You can have a wedding at the Biltmore and this area is set up for it. It was beautiful.
This was initially the billiard room, where Mr. Vanderbilt would hang out with his buddies and play pool and smoke cigars.
This is the banquet hall with seven story high ceilings and Flemish tapestries from the mid 1500's. There was also an exhibit of movie costumes and family heirlooms. It was pretty cool to see all these costumes that I had seen in many period dramas.
Music room. This room also housed paintings from the national gallery of art for safe keeping during WWII. The windows were armored.
The view is still unobstructed today, although it is in the middle of town. 8000 acres does a lot for a view.
The ceiling is the Chariot of Aurora painted in the 1720's by Pellegrini which was originally in the Pisani Palace in Venice.
Paintings of the house's architect, Richard Morris Hunt and the landscape architect, Fredrick Law Olmstead, who also designed Central Park.
The drapery over the bed was meticulously recreated, it was originally bought in Italy on George and Edith's honeymoon.
The Halloween room was once used for a party at Halloween where the guests painted murals depicting a Russian folk tale.
Time keeping was important. Everything had to be synchronized to one clock to make sure the schedule was kept.