After a short visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains, George Washington Vanderbilt II, found the perfect location for his COUNTRY HOME!
Biltmore Estate is a large (6,950 acres or 11 square miles), private estate and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main residence, is a Chateau-style mansion built between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States. It has 179,000 square feet of floor space and is still owned by George Vanderbilt’s descendants. Can you imagine living in this fashion? I can’t!
Over a six year period, from 1889 to 1895 the construction of the 250-room French Renaissance chateau was finally completed. It was the largest undertaking in residential architecture, which took an entire community of craftsman, to create the home and the beautiful grounds around it. The finished home contains over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces!
Vanderbilt commissioned prominent New York architect Richard Morris Hunt, who had previously designed houses for various Vanderbilt family members, to design his house based on chateaux found in France and England. In order to facilitate such a large project, a woodworking factory and brick kiln, which produced 32,000 bricks a day, were built onsite, and a three-mile railroad spur was constructed to bring materials to the building site. Construction on the main house required the labor of well over 1,000 workers and 60 stonemasons. Vanderbilt went on extensive buying trips overseas as construction on the house was in progress. He returned to North Carolina with thousands of furnishings for his newly built home including tapestries, hundreds of carpets, prints, linens, and decorative objects, all dating between the 15th century and the late 19th century. His opulent estate opened on Christmas Eve 1895 to invited family and friends from across the country, who were encouraged to enjoy leisure and country pursuits.
To get to the chateau, it is another 45 minute drive from the private gated entrance. Then, from the closest parking lot, we had to decide if we wanted to walk to the chateau or wait on a bus to take us there… It’s a nice evening, let’s walk………….and here we are at the chateau! It’s another long, long walk up the long, long driveway………..
It’s so close to Christmas Eve…….let’s go in and see how George lived!
and look to the left of the chateau to see the reflecting pools……………
and a look to the back and the mountains…….I think he chose his site well……………….
and then walking in the front………to see all the different peaks and pitches………..
Before we could get in line at our appointed time we went through all the shops that are now in the old stable area…….
and had a chance to look up close at some of the gargoyles.
There was a small arrangement at the entrance door.
and once inside a large, large, large entrance hall………………
The Garden Room was just off the main hall entrance. OH WOW! Can you tell how large this room is from the size of the people?
There was music to entertain us…….
and singing too.
Next, we moved on to the Dining Room………which seated about 50 I’d say. I didn’t count I was too busy gawking!
Looking up you saw the organ……….if you could get past the sheer size of this tree!
Biltmore House had electricity from the time it was built. With electricity less safe and fire more of a danger at the time, the house had six separate sections divided by brick fire walls.
Then you need to look down under the tree to see all the goodies……….
At the opposite end of the Dining Room are massive fireplaces across the width of the room!
We are in the Salon looking back at the Garden Room………..fancy, billowy drapery is on the ceiling in this room
These are some more of the rooms on the main floor………….each one decked out beautifully for Christmas……..
At the back of the home is a long long, gallery with a view that overlooks the countryside and mountains.
This is the library at the far end of the house.
Why don’t we go upstairs now on that curvy, curvy staircase? How about the size of that multiple-chained chandelier? And it goes on and on and on……and up and up and up!
I’ll be back with more posts for the T’was the Week Before Christmas Series! If you would like to know about the grounds of the Biltmore Estate look HERE! See you later in the week!