Biltmore Estate




The #1 Attraction of Its Type in Asheville and in North Carolina




Biltmore Estate is the #1 visitor attraction in its category (museums, historic buildings and zoos) in Asheville and in the entire state of North Carolina. The 8,000-acre estate had more than 1.4 million visitors in 2019. It continues to draw large crowds even during the pandemic.


• Biltmore House is the largest private home in America, with 250 rooms – including 34 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms – in more than 4 acres of floor space, nearly the size of four football fields.


• The house has its own bowling alley, gymnasium, indoor swimming pool and three kitchens and incorporated all the latest technologies of the time, including elevators, telephones and refrigerators – the estate generated its own electrical power, hot water and central heat. It took 1,000 workers over five years to build.


• While the exact cost of construction was never calculated, it ran into the many millions, and to duplicate the house, its furnishings and art work, land, estate grounds and gardens today would easily cost more than a billion dollars.


• Designed by one of the leading architects of the 19th century, Richard Morris Hunt, and with the grounds created by the leading landscape architect in America, Frederick Law Olmsted, in 2007 Biltmore House ranked eighth in the list of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architecture, just behind the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol.


• Originally the estate comprised some 125,000 acres or 191 square miles of land ranging from Asheville to the peak of Mt. Pisgah and beyond – today, the estate consists of “only” 8,000 acres, the bulk of the estate’s original acreage sold to the federal government to form the basis of Pisgah National Forest.


• To manage the vast estate, Biltmore established the first forestry school in the United States.


• The winery, which produces almost 2 million bottles of wine a year, gets more visitors than any other winery in America including those in California’s famous Napa Valley.


• The grounds have 75 acres of formal gardens and a winding driveway 3 miles long.


• On the estate are an award-winning luxury hotel, a new lodge hotel and 15 dining and drinking places.


• More than a dozen major movies have been filmed on the estate.


• The property is still owned by the family of the Gilded Age multi-millionaire,  George Washington Vanderbilt, who built it. G.W. Vanderbilt was an intellectual who spoke eight foreign languages fluently and had a library of 23,000 books.


• William A.V. Cecil, grandson of the founder, was instrumental in turning Biltmore House from a financial failure into an economic and tourism success. Both William Cecil and his wife, Mimi, passed away in late 2017. Bill Cecil, son of William and Mimi Cecil and great-grandson of G.W. Vanderbilt, has been CEO of Biltmore since 1996, more than doubling its attendance and adding many attractions including two hotels and several restaurants on the estate.


All content copyright © Lan Sluder except selected photographs used by permission and brief quotations or other fair use text, which are owned by the copyright holder.

We have made every effort to confirm the accuracy of information on this website, and in the Amazing Asheville book and ebooks, but travel information is subject to frequent change, and no warranty is made, express or implied. Please notify us of any errors or omissions, and we will attempt to correct them as soon as possible. All opinions expressed are those of the author, Lan Sluder, unless otherwise noted.