Asheville & Biltmore Estate, North Carolina

Asheville & Biltmore Estate, North Carolina (October 18-22, 2022)

Asheville North Carolina
Located in a valley of mountains, Asheville is a wonderful upscale mountain town with an excellent food and art culture and easily walkable districts. It still maintains a quirky charm ‘bohemian' feel in many of its neighborhoods. The Victorian and Art Deco architecture gives Asheville a distinctive character.

Amazing Hikes around Asheville
Asheville is a foodie mecca and has become a beer capital with about 50 quality breweries. Asheville’s close proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway provides outstanding outdoor recreation and hikes. The people of Asheville are friendly and kind making our trip delightful. 

See below for more wonderful things to do in Asheville but first here is a overview of the amazing Biltmore Estate…

Biltmore Estate

Grandiose Biltmore House
A visit to Asheville should include a tour of the grandiose Biltmore Estate. George Vanderbilt’s enormous Biltmore House is a French Renaissance-style chateau opened in 1895 and considered America's largest private home with 250 rooms, 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.The 8,000 acres of lush forests and gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted - the same landscape architect responsible for New York’s Central Park.

Biltmore House Stable Courtyard
The Biltmore Estate was an incredible 125,000 acres at its peak. In 1914, 87,000 acres were sold after Vanderbilt's death to form what is now the Pisgah National Forest, America’s first National Forest. More recently a winery was added followed by the ‘Inn on Biltmore’ and the ‘Village Hotel’ where visitors can stay. 

Beautiful Biltmore House Interior
Today, you can explore the architecture, priceless artwork, antiques, and history of the estate and gardens via various tours. The property features different events each season, including the Biltmore Blooms in spring, a summer concert series, and the grand Christmas displays that include more than 100 opulently decorated trees.

Travel Tips for your visit to the Biltmore Estate: A good way to fully enjoy your visit to the Biltmore Estate is to book a Biltmore House tour, including the audio, ahead for the day you plan to visit. You should consider arriving about 3 hours before your tour is scheduled to begin or stay later (allow more time if you want to enjoy lunch at one of the several good restaurants).

Antler Hill Village & Winery
Start or end your visit at the Antler Hill Village & Winery (located about 5 miles from the Biltmore House). The Biltmore Legacy museum here is an interesting place to start and learn about the Vanderbilts. The ‘Bistro’ in the Village Hotel and ‘Cedric’s Tavern’ are good places to have lunch and the ‘Creamery’ has good ice cream. The Farm is interesting and wine tasting is offered at the Winery. Restaurants and wine tasting should also be reserved ahead.

Biltmore Estate Map
Be sure to watch your time because it is a pretty 5-mile drive over to the Biltmore House where your tour begins. Also parking is about a mile away from the Biltmore House but there is a shuttle provided. 45 minutes should be allotted to just traveling around the Biltmore Estate or if you plan to start with your Biltmore House tour. 

Biltmore Estate Conservatory
Pretty Conservatory
Before or after your tour a visit to the beautiful gardens and Conservatory (easy walk from the Biltmore House) should be on your agenda. 

Also, the next door Stable Courtyard has some nice shops worth visiting as well as the ‘Stable Cafe’ restaurant. Remember there are no restrooms available on your 1 1/2 hour tour of the Biltmore House so do make a stop at the Sable Courtyard restrooms before your tour.

Biltmore Village
Biltmore Village
Located just outside the entrance to the Biltmore Estate is the pretty Biltmore Village with 40 upscale boutiques and shops that women will enjoy.

 

 

Downtown Asheville
Asheville North Carolina

Asheville is a great place to visit during all seasons. We greatly enjoyed Asheville and the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains during the Fall leaves foliage. The weather usually is nice this time of year making it one of the most popular times to visit… but well worth it.

Beautiful Fall Foliage Drives & Hikes
The best time to enjoy the Fall leaves foliage is late September through October. The peak varies year to year - on the average it is approximately the third week of October. We visited Asheville during the Fall leaves foliage peak and were completely awed by the brilliant reds, yellows, oranges along the scenic drives and on the mountain slopes. We loved the ‘raining’ leaves while we drove the scenic highways.

Breathtaking Fall Leaves Foliage Asheville Blue Ridge Mountains
Breathtaking Fall Leaves Foliage
In the late 1890’s, Asheville became famous for its healing air for victims of lung diseases like tuberculosis. A higher level of oxygen and possibly other elements come from the unique process the trees have in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. They emit the same haze that the close by Smokey Mountains are named for. Visitors to Asheville today can enjoy this natural ‘high’.

Asheville has Great Restaurants!
Food lovers will absolutely love Asheville, a foodie haven of great distinct cuisine allowing you to travel the world through your taste buds. Some favorite restaurants locals told us about include Biscuit Head, Early Girl Eatery, and Sunny Point Cafe for breakfast and White Duck Taco Shop and Twisted Laurel for lunch. Highly rated for dinner include Vinnie’s, Chai Pani, 12 Bones Smokehouse, Bouchon, Rhubarb, Nine Mile, Curate, Zamba, Tupelo Honey, Knob Hill Cafe, and Red Ginger. Advanced reservations, if available, are highly recommended. There are so many other good restaurants to choose from.

Highways Brewery Asheville
Highways Brewery

Asheville has also gained the title of ‘Beer City USA’ with its over 50 craft beer breweries. ‘Highways’ is the original and a nice place to visit. Large ‘New Belgium’ and ‘Sierra Nevada’ have breweries located in Asheville.

 

River Arts District - Asheville
Asheville is a mecca for artists. Turn almost any corner and you will encounter a mural, public art, or art gallery. The renovated downtown Woolworth features numerous artists. Over 200 working artists’ studios and galleries are concentrated in the River Arts District across the French Broad River in West Asheville. Music is big in Asheville with diverse music performances offered throughout the city.

Grey Line Trolly Tours HopOn HopOff
We enjoyed the fully narrated Grey Line Trolly Tours Hop on Hop off trolley. It offers a fun and informative experience with stops in downtown Asheville, Omni Grove Park Inn, River Arts District, and Biltmore Village. Lovers of the writer Thomas Wolfe can visit his downtown former 29-room home. 

Parking is free at the Asheville Visitor Center (36 Montford Ave) where the tour begins. This excellent information center has lots of information about what to do in Asheville along with well informed locals to offer suggestions or answer any questions you may have about Asheville and the surrounding area.

Montford Victorian Home
We liked viewing Asheville’s historic Victorian homes in the Montford District centered around Pearson Street and Montford Avenue as well as in the Grove Park Historic District near the Grove Park Inn.

Beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway
The surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains are beautiful! Right outside of Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a pure joy ride often referred as ‘America’s Favorite Drive’. A wonderful drive, especially during Fall Leaves, is north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens with beautiful hikes at the two-mile Craggy Garden Trail and southeast to Chimney Rock Park’s Hickory Nut Falls Trail hike to a large waterfall.

Looking Glass Falls Asheville
Looking Glass Falls
For waterfall lovers, there are many waterfalls near Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Looking Glass Falls is wonderful and right off the road. Also close to the road is Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural water slide with an eight foot pool at the bottom - there’s a $4 admission fee.  Slick Rock Falls can be viewed from the road and closer with a short hike. 

A pretty 2-mile hike from the Graveyard Fields Overlook leads you to Second Falls. Moore Falls can be accessed on an easy 1.2 miles round trip hike. The parking at these sites is very limited so if you want to avoid having to park a distance from the parking lot plan to arrive early morning or late afternoon. We enjoyed our tour from ‘Asheville Hiking Tours’ to three waterfalls guided by a naturalist who gave very interesting commentary on the plants, trees, and history of the area.

WNC Nature Center
Although Asheville will mainly appeal to adults, families and people of all ages may enjoy visiting the WNC Nature Center, home to about 60 wildlife species.

 

North Lodge on Oakland B&B
Accommodations in Asheville are numerous and cover a large range. Historic Victorian Inns offer charming Bed & Breakfast experiences. We enjoyed our stay at the ‘North Lodge on Oakland Bed and Breakfast’. The Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) has direct flights from around the United States.

Thank you Asheville for a wonderful visit!

Click here to see other great places we visited in Tennessee:

Great Smokey Mountains National Park,Gatlinburg, & Dollywood, Tennessee USA 

Nashville, Grand Ole Opry, Memphis, Chattanooga, & Franklin, Tennessee

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