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    Visit to the Biltmore Estate – February 2019

    HouseIt’s been several years since we visited the largest privately owned house in America, nestled into the hillsides of Asheville, N.C., with expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a combination of history, relaxation and outdoor activity that makes for a splendid getaway.? I am talking, of course, about the Biltmore Estate.? George W. Vanderbilt created Biltmore as an escape from everyday life for his family and friends.? That is exactly what you get when you visit, and stay at, this multi-faceted resort and vacation destination.? I think George would be proud that his vision over a century ago is still providing enjoyment for thousand of people every year.

    CaptureWhile significantly smaller than it was in George W.’s day, the estate still boasts over 8000 acres of pastoral countryside.? Within it’s borders you can visit the grand house, shop, eat at a variety of excellent restaurants, shoot clays, ride horses, river raft, hike miles of trails and many other things.? This is not just an old mansion with dusty history.? It is a grand vision still functioning in it’s original purpose, to bring peace and tranquility to those who come.

    Our first visit was over five years ago, and we only spent a single night.? This time we stayed for three, and it was wonderful.? Our accommodation of choice is The Inn on Biltmore Estate, a Four Star Forbes rated hotel that sits on top of a hill looking down at the Inn Picture 2Antler Hill Village.? This is a grand destination in itself, with a regal lobby, luxurious accommodations, and a staff that simply exudes customer service.? We enjoyed our room, the lobby bar (daily), a great start to the day with breakfast in The Dining Room, and simply being in the relaxed and pampered atmosphere.? Rated as one of the best hotels in America, and indeed the world, The Inn can be a perfect base from which to explore the gifts the estate has to give, and for exploring the town of Asheville, which waits right outside the gates.

    There is another choice now for lodging, located in Antler Hill Village right next to the winery and shops.? The Village Hotel welcomes guests to a more family oriented atmosphere, right in the heart of Antler Village. ?Its new restaurant, the Village Social, features a seafood inspired menu.? This is definitely a great addition to the Biltmore Estate lineup, offering a chance to stay steps away from the estate’s winery, shopping and other village attractions.

    One of the major draws for us, for obvious reasons, is the winery on the estate.? We’ll cover that in a separate article, and provide IMG_2304updated reviews on their current vintages and offerings.? Suffice it to say that the winery is worth an afternoon of your stay, by the time you see everything they have to offer.? Tastings are complimentary for most of their wines, and served in their newly renovated, and absolutely stunning, tasting rooms.? A stop in the new Wine Bar will let you try their top end wines, for a small fee,? paired with some light bites from the bar menu.? The space is elegant and refined, but unpretentious and welcoming.

    For dining, you can choose from many options.? This trip we visited our favorite, The Bistro, two evenings for dinner.? Located right next to the winery, this restaurant is elegant but relaxed.? The menu is not lengthy, but the options are excellent.? We had the grouper,? roasted chicken breast and ribeye steak on our visits, as well as the meat and cheese board appetizer.? Everything was outstanding.? Unfortunately it rained virtually our entire stay on the estate, but the first evening the roasted chicken, with a bottle of the Biltmore Sangiovese, was warm and comforting.? The Bistro is always an excellent choice.

    Across Antler Village is Cedric’s, a pub style restaurant with local brews, a full bar, and a menu to match the atmosphere. ? Lunch has

    The bar at Cedric's

    The bar at Cedric’s

    the usual pub fare, with a surprisingly excellent fish and chips, considering we are talking about the North Carolina mountains here.? At dinner they plump up the menu, and it is popular with many as a dinner choice.? The restaurant is named after the Vanderbilt’s St. Bernard, Cedric.? You can see his collar on display as you enter.? It is huge, and Cedric must have been a large dog indeed.? You’ll see pictures of Cedric with members of the Vanderbilt family when you tour the house.

    You can have dinner at the Inn, in The Dining Room, if you are looking for something more elegant.? Some days the Deerpark Restaurant is open, with buffets options available.? You can also eat right next to Biltmore House itself.? The Stable Café, located on the right side of the house, offers a varied menu featuring Appalachian inspired entrees and a great sandwich menu.? As throughout most of the property, Biltmore wines are available by the glass and bottle.

    The Dining Room at the Inn

    The Dining Room at the Inn

    If you’d like to see our previous review of the property, click here.? There is much to do, and we have already booked out return stay for this coming November.? We’ll be spending another three days unwinding from the day to day, as well as taking in the Christmas decorations at the house and throughout the estate.? We are looking forward to it.? Don’t forget that Asheville is right outside the gates of the Biltmore Estate, so tacking on a day or two to explore is a good idea.? We, personally, love returning to the comfort and peace of the estate after a day out in the real world.

    That real world includes another vacation destination, Asheville.? With a vibrant arts scene, a foody culture and a large assortment of eclectic shopping, this is a town you can spend some time wandering in.? We did that a little, but need to spend much more time.? One highlight of the trip was the North Carolina Stage Company’s production of Jeeve’s at Sea.? It was a light, farcical comedy that was well acted in an intimate downtown theater.? We’ll be checking out their show calendar the next time we are in town.? You can visit their website at?https://www.ncstage.org/.? Other Asheville stops during our visit included Biltmore Village, an area right outside the gates with restaurants and shops that used to be the homes of the workers who constructed Biltmore.? We also found the Southern Highland Craft Guild shops, at 26 Lodge Street, to be well worth a visit.? They have a large collection of artisan art, jewelry and crafts, all of which are of very high quality.? If you’d like to try some wine while in Biltmore Village stroll over to Margaret & Maxwell, a wine salon and retail shop located at 5 All Souls Crescent.? They have a great selection of wine, along with an elegant wine bar in the back where you can taste some wines, or grab a glass to sit and relax with.

    We’ll be publishing an article on what’s new at the winery on Biltmore Estate, including reviews of the wines, very soon.? There were many worth highlighting.

    If you like history, historic houses, good food, elegant hotels, world class wines or outdoor oriented activities, then this is a place to visit.

    You can learn much more about the Biltmore Estate on their website,?https://www.biltmore.com/.

    A votre santé!

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