Monday, April 23, 2012


100_1548We had passed through Asheville, North Carolina back in September.  At that time, we passed on the Biltmore tour as the entry fee was $55 each.  But we then somewhat regretted not having visited even though it was pricey.  In conjunction with the rally, we were able to get an advance-purchase group discount and at $40 each this time we went.

The Biltmore was constructed  in the late 1800s by an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune.  He commissioned renowned architects including the landscape architect who designed New York’s Central Park.  A railroad spur was built into the site to transport construction materials.  The house has 250 rooms and is billed as the country’s largest residence.

100_1528Off to the side of the house are some beautiful gardens including a conservatory filled with exotic species.  The azaleas were still in bloom, but it was just a bit early for the roses.

It is speculated that the construction and operation of the Biltmore took most all of George Vanderbilt’s fortune.  However, his heirs have been able to continue ownership of it, maintaining it through the entry fees.  We were glad to think that it was self-sustaining and not relying on government subsidies and earmarks.

No one is allowed to take pictures inside the house, but we got a lot of great shots of the gardens and flowers:

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