The Biltmore Estate is, well, huge

(Third of four posts about trip to Smoky Mountains and Asheville, NC.)


What more can you say? The Biltmore Estate is huge. It’s nearly 180,000 square feet in size.


I could fit about 90 of my houses in that thing. And I think my house is too big. Can you imagine dusting that place?

Photo of large room inside Biltmore Estate decorated for Christmas.
Christmas at the Biltmore Estate. **

I’ve heard so much about the Biltmore over the years, how big it is and how beautiful it is, that it’s long been on my list of places I’d like to see. Not so high on the list I would make a trip specifically for that purpose, but certainly high enough I would take the time to see it if I was in that part of the country. Such was the case with my trip to the Smoky Mountains and Asheville.


I’m not going to go into all the detail, you can read about that elsewhere. In a nutshell, it was built in the 1890s and is the largest privately owned house in the United States.


As a certified Christmas nut, my timing couldn’t have been better. With it being Thanksgiving, the place was already decked out in all its holiday glory which many say is the absolute best time to visit.


It is everything you’ve heard and probably more. I’ve always been into history, one of my college majors, and so I really enjoyed the opportunity to walk back in time and see what life was like for the Robin Leach-like rich and famous from a hundred years ago.

Photo of costumes worn in television show Downton Abbey.
Downton Abbey costumes on display at Biltmore Estate's Antler Village.**

Speaking of history, I had a little time prior to my tour of the estate and took the opportunity to visit Antler Hill Village, also on the Biltmore grounds. The village includes shops, a winery (I still have a bottle of their Christmas wine in my bar) and a farmyard with live demonstrations of how things were done in days gone by.


As chance would have it, a special exhibit of clothing from the television show and movie Downton Abbey was on display in the village. I’m not going to lie, I’ve never seen an episode of the show but it was still fun to see the exhibit. I can’t believe how skinny some of these people are. I couldn’t fit some of those dresses on one leg.


On a side note, I visited another super size American mansion, the Hearst Castle, with Darling Daughter in 2015. While smaller than Biltmore, if I were only allowed to visit one of these two, I would pick the Hearst.

Photo of outdoor pool at Hearst Castle.
The outdoor pool at Hearst Castle, drained at the time due to the California drought.**

I have no doubt that has much more to do with all the stories regarding Hearst and his life, as well as the flamboyance he put into the estate and its grounds, than the actual structure itself. I mean gee whiz, the guy built a castle and had lions and tigers and bears roaming the grounds. Oh my. There’s still zebra there.


Funny thing, we visited the Hearst Castle in the middle of the California drought happening at the time. They had porta potties lined up in the parking lot outside the visitors center and told people to do their duty before going inside because all the restrooms were shut down to conserve water.


I know, TMI.


**I allow use of my photos through Creative Commons License. I'm not looking to make money off this thing. I only ask that you provide me with credit for the photo by noting my blog address, alansheaven.com, or a link back to this page.


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