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Vacation Planner:Visit Biltmore in Asheville, N.C.

The front of Biltmore House, the largest private home in the country.
The front of Biltmore House, the largest private home in the country.
photo by author

For those looking for a summer vacation trip, try the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C, about 3 hours from Columbia. Activities such as shopping, fishing, cycling, horseback riding, among others, are available. There is truly something for everyone.

The centerpiece of the Estate is Biltmore House, the largest private home in America. With over 4 acres of floor space that includes 250 rooms and 33 family and guest bedrooms (and 43 bathrooms!) and priceless works of art, there is only one word to describe it: Breathtaking.

Built by George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914), grandson of Cornelius ( the "Commodore"). Biltmore opened in 1895 and was the family home for Vanderbilt, his wife, Edith (1876-1958) and daughter Cornelia (1900-1976). Beginning in the 1930s, Biltmore has been open to the public. Of all the grand homes the Vanderbilts constructed, and there are many, Biltmore is by far the largest and grandest.

For those of the flower persuasion, the gardens of Biltmore are beyond description.Their size alone makes them worth one's while. From formal gardens to its lush forests and landscape, it's an easy place to get a flower fix, or, as my wife calls it, "a major case of flowers!" It also features more than 250 varieties of roses.

The first rule of visiting Biltmore is allow plenty of time, it takes at least 15 minutes or so to get to the house from the estate entrance and at least 1 1/2-2 hours to tour the house. Admission details are available here.

As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of other activities as well. There is an inn on the property and other area hotels and motels offer package deals. A visit to Biltmore is well worth the effort.

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