Last Monday was an extra calendar day this leap year, so I wanted to take advantage of the time and do something different. I decided to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The Biltmore Estate was opened on Christmas Eve 1895 for the Vanderbilt family. I believe it is the largest private residence in the United States.
Here are a few interesting stats:
- It has four acres of floor space.
- 250 rooms: 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, 3 kitchens, an indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley and a gym
- 125,000 acres of forest and farms
- 250 acre park
- Garden and conservatory with orchids and other plants
- Elevators, indoor plumbing and refrigeration were just some of the extras (remember it was built in the 1890s)
I expected some garish home that was only lived in a couple weeks a year. I was incorrect. Do not get me wrong, the house is over the top, even by today’s standards but the house was actually lived in and their children were raised there. It was much more than just some rich family’s fancy weekend home. There were many parties and extended family was always invited to stay for a while.
The house is amazing, way different from the tiny house models I love (obviously). But I could appreciate the added touches that were everywhere, especially given when it was built. Although the house is not what you would call cozy, it was not cold and unlivable either. According to reports, the staff were treated well and the family was very philanthropic. You read about these people who have homes all over the world and hardly even go to them. That was not the case with the Biltmore.
After touring the home, I toured the gardens and walked on one of the many trails. The day was beautiful. The leaves had not budded yet nor were the flowers in bloom but it was still breathtaking. I cannot even imagine how stunning it is when everything comes back to life after a winter’s nap. There are streams, ponds and a waterfall. So much beauty all in one place.
All in all, it was a great way to spend the extra time given from Leap Year!!