The beauty of Biltmore is that it’s so much more than it appears. Certainly, it’s a grand chateau nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But it’s more than just an architectural wonder—it’s a legacy of gracious hospitality, a working estate with over 100 years of history, and a family home kept alive today by the descendants of George and Edith Vanderbilt.
Biltmore is a living testament to the uncompromising ideals of George Vanderbilt who chose its location when he was just 25. Over the next six years, guided by distinguished architect Richard Morris Hunt, a stunning six-level, 175,000 square foot, 250-room French Renaissance chateau was completed and opened on Christmas Eve 1895. Everything George designed was grand, from the three-mile long driveway to the banquet table that seats 32 people comfortably. He filled his home with over 23,000 volumes of books and priceless treasures from around the world and he surrounded it with formal and informal gardens designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
Today, more than one million people a year visit the estate to experience its beauty and magnificence. They’re treated to a house tour including: original art by Pierre Auguste Renoir and John Singer Sargent, 16th-century tapestries, a banquet hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley. Yet what impacts many visitors the most is a new appreciation for the gracious hospitality that was so fundamental to George & Edith’s lives.
As newly weds and young parents, George and Edith devoted their lives to helping grow the community and the people that surrounded them. They did this through the couples continuing expansion of the Biltmore property to include; an expansive farm growing fruit, vegetable, grain, and dairy, a mill to process the large forest surrounding the Estate, and a 300 acre nursery with greenhouses and sales of over five million plants. As their Estate grew, they employed locals and often supplied the community with food from their farm. Edith’s creation of Biltmore Estate Industries, lead to the create of apprenticeship programs to expand job opportunities for many in the Biltmore Village community.
It is clear that Biltmore is not just a home, it’s a living legacy. To truly experience Biltmore, you must look past the marble lions protecting the main doors and the perfectly polished hallways inside and take notice of all the little things—the things that George Vanderbilt would have seen, and loved most about his home.