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Your guide to Biltmore: Vanderbilt style

Intro (12)

Biltmore Estate | Photo by AVLtoday

Table of Contents

Living in Asheville you’d be surprised to learn how many locals haven’t been to Biltmore. And, if you are one of those locals *cough cough* now is the time to make it happen. This time of year is considered Asheville’s “off-season,” a.k.a. when there aren’t as many tourists, and currently Biltmore has an exciting new exhibit that is a total #MustDo.

So if you’ve ever wanted to party Vanderbilt-style now is your chance. Biltmore’s newest exhibit “A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age” opened last Friday and features more than 55 outfits + 500 individual artifacts showcased in a guided audio tour now through May 27. Basically, you get to walk the halls of America’s largest home experiencing what it was like to be a Vanderbilt guest.


A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age | Photo by AVLtoday

When preparing for this exhibition, Biltmore’s curators used the Vanderbilt’s archives as inspiration – sourcing ideas from their photos, letters, newspaper clippings, fashion magazines + other documents. They then turned to Oscar-winning designer John Bright (he has designed costumes for the film A Room with a View and even Downton Abbey) and his London-based company Cosprop, to make these costume ideas a reality. Together, Bright’s team and Biltmore’s curators reproduced the Vanderbilt’s vibrant outfits that were previously only seen in century-old black + white photos. The exhibition is included in the price of a daytime admission ticket, and the guided-audio tour is free if purchased online – or an additional fee onsite.


A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age | Photo by AVLtoday

And, while you’re on the estate, you might as well make your trip to Biltmore an all-day adventure. Especially if this is your first time. Keep reading for your guide to experiencing all-things Biltmore. ⬇️

Buying Tickets

First things first, you have to purchase your ticket to Biltmore. You have two options: purchasing your ticket online, or purchasing it onsite. If you don’t have an annual pass, that is. Weekday tickets currently start at $55 for daytime admission, and weekend admission starts at $60. Pro-tip: Purchasing a weekend ticket online is easier since you have to schedule a time to tour the house.

Bonus: Biltmore offers discounts (advance daytime, military, senior + second day pass) so be sure to check those out.


Biltmore Estate | Photo by AVLtoday

Touring the House

Now that you have your ticket, it’s time to tour the house. If you’re visiting on a weekday, odds are you won’t have to wait for a scheduled tour time. But, if you’re visiting during the weekend you will. When walking through the house be sure to plan for about one to two hours for the walkthrough. You can opt for the guided audio tour or not. There are plenty of sights to see, history to learn, and pictures to take. Just no flash photography. After you’ve toured the atrium, the Banquet Hall, Breakfast Room, the gorgeous Loggia (balcony), library, the upstairs, the downstairs, the pool, gym, servants quarters, and much moretake time to admire the architecture outside and visit the Carriage House shops + eateries. Visit the year-round Christmas shop, the confectionery, toy shop + more.


Biltmore Estate | Photo by AVLtoday

The Gardens

After you’ve enjoyed the house it’s time to make your way to the breathtaking gardens designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. As you walk through the Italian Garden, stroll through the rose garden + trails, you can daydream of being a Vanderbilt on a lovely afternoon stroll. Keep in mind, the flowers constantly change, so the flower beds will always have something new to see. My personal fav? The Biltmore Conservatory, which was completed in 1895 and is filled with a wide variety of exotic plants. Basically, your greenhouse dreamhouse.


Biltmore Estate | Photo by AVLtoday

Dining, Shopping + more

Once you’ve admired the house and gardens, you’ll probably be ready for a bite. There are plenty of dining options on the estate, with some estate favorites like the Village Social, Cedric’s Tavern + Bistro being in Antler Hill Village. DYK: Biltmore has a pretty cool Field-to-Table philosophy on the estate? After eating, you can walk around Antler Hill Village for more shopping, visit The Barn Door to learn about the former Biltmore Dairy, or try an outdoor activity like horseback riding, carriage rides, segway tours + more.

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Chicken Salad from The Bake Shop | Photo by AVLtoday

The Winery

And, for the grand finale of your day at Biltmore, it’s time to enjoy a taste of America’s most-visited winery. Simply enjoy the tasting, or try the pairing of Biltmore red wine + chocolate. If you’re interested in seeing the vineyard you can take an exclusive Vine to Wine Vineyard Tour & Tasting where you will experience a walking production tour with wine tasting. Before you leave, be sure to stock up on bottles of wine to share with friends as well as other goodies.

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Biltmore Wine Tasting | Photo by AVLtoday

Living in the same city as Biltmore is an experience in itself. And, now that I have an annual pass I enjoy making it a weekend adventure. Even my pup Luna visits to walk along the trails.

Have any tips, tricks or #MustDo advice for those new to Biltmore? Comment here to share.

Be sure to check out A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age and let us know what you enjoyed from the exhibition. My personal favorite outfit is Edith’s white lace dress located in the Oak Sitting Room.


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