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The Biltmore Estate Kind of Rules…

December 5, 2007

Okay. For those in need of a refresher (or a fresher, for that matter), the Biltmore Estate encompasses 4,000 acres adjacent to Asheville, NC.  It is the site of America’s largest home, commissioned by George Vanderbilt and built in the 1890s.  The house is not only massive, but was very progressive for its time, employing the latest advances including electricity and running water. The dining hall and grand staircase are marvelous, and the two-story library is simply breathtaking.

We didn’t make for the home straightaway. Instead, we began the day yesterday with a tour of the grounds via segways. Yes, I had concerns about looking the dork.  After riding one, I still do. You wouldn’t catch me dead on one anywhere near a major urban center. But for touring the grounds of a 4,000 acre estate, or similar, it makes a lot of sense. And it’s an absolute blast.

Hot Wheels         She's Got a Ticket to Ride

Last night we went on a candlelight tour of the house itself. In terms of awe-inspiring interior spaces, the Biltmore is in a league with St. Peter’s in Rome and the Doge’s Palace in Venice. It is without doubt the grandest indoor space I have ever seen on this continent. Alas, no pictures are allowed inside. Which is stupid, in my opinion. How many potential tourists stay away every year, unconvinced by their friends’ assurances?

This morning we went back. Jamie wanted to do the audio tour again (we did this when we were here in 2006). I took the opportunity to wander the grounds, which I hadn’t done last time. And wow, am I glad I did! Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (who also did Central Park), the outdoor space surrounding the main house is a thing of wonder. In some parts, it is perfectly manicured in an exact replica of an English garden. In others, trees are planted with almost perfect randomness, giving the illusion of wilderness. I was amazed at the attention paid to proportions and sightlines. The Biltmore Estate is landscape architecture at its absolute finest. Here are a sampling of images. Head over to my Flickr page (see right) for more.

Watching Over All Along The... Biltmore Bass Pond View from the Shrubbery

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kay permalink
    December 5, 2007 7:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing all your photos. It looks incredible.

  2. December 8, 2007 4:38 pm


  3. Matt permalink
    December 10, 2007 10:38 pm

    Glad you like. My HDR skills are improving.

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