Monday, May 30, 2011

Visiting The Biltmore Estate is Much More Than Inside the "House"

Visiting The Biltmore Estate is much more than just seeing the inside of the "house," and a "must do," in my opinion.  It is not an inexpensive ticket, but well worth the price if you take advantage of all there is to do, and many B&Bs in the area offer discount tickets good for two consecutive days of entry or great room packages that might include extra savings.

Besides touring the inside of the amazing Estate, the grounds are immense and offer so much more of interest  Walking through the "conservatory," walking trails to and around The Bass Pond, picnicking in "The Lagoon" area (with a fantastic view of the Estate), new Antler Hill Village and The Winery are all additional things to do and part of the day pass.  Extras may also be purchased - from simple upgrades such as audio tours ($10), roof-top tours, to added adventures, including horseback riding, whitewater rafting, Segway tours and carriage rides.  AND, the Estate grounds are pet friendly - Fido can't go in the house, but the grounds are perfect for walking your dog.

    

Go prepared to make a day or two of it and relax with your visit - don't just think of it as a visit to see the inside of the House.  Take your time strolling through the very interesting conservatory (Green House) with interesting plants, water features and gardens.  The Rose Gardens are beautiful, Festival of Flowers is a treat every April and May, and the trails down and around to the Bass Pond are quite enjoyable with many plants labeled along the way.   Olmstead, landscape architect for Central Park of New York City, was also the landscape architect for the Biltmore Estate.

  


Pack a picnic lunch and blanket and enjoy fantastic views of the Biltmore Estate from The Lagoon area down by the French Broad River - take a frisbee and enjoy a little free play with the kids.  If you are wanting extra exercise, a paved trail begins at the Lagoon area and follows the road to the Winery and Antler Hill Village area - for a mile or two of walking, jogging or even biking (must pay $5 to bicycle on the grounds and sign a waiver first - in the Antler Hill Village area).  You might see a Segway Tour or Carriage Tour pass by while you enjoy your picnic!




Antler Hill Village is a real treat on weekends, with a band at the Gazebo, and special engaging demonstrations at the upper Barn, such as ice-cream making, butter making, wool or rabbit yarn making,  blacksmith demonstrations, arts and crafts activities for the kids (and adults!) and more.  Old fashioned games, such as bean bag toss, hoola-hoop, hoop and stick, frisbees, are always available in the center of the grassy area at the upper barn - a great place to just enjoy watching the kids play while you enjoy a bit of shade - and there is an ice-cream shop here for a great afternoon treat.  Wander down to the Animal barn to see and pet the chickens, goats, horses, rabbits and more.  You might also see a Segway Tour in progress, as they introduce Segway skills by the barn and begin the tours here.

butter making demonstration at the upper "barn"


The Winery is right by Antler Hill Village and wine tasting is included in your day ticket.  You may also upgrade your wine tasting ticket to a premier tasting if you like and they have grape juice tasting available for the kids.  

Make a day or two of your visit, relax and enjoy a slower pace.  There are many lodging options in the area, many within 1 or two miles of the entrance.  Or, stay at The Hotel right on the property.