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Famous Places in 3D

A Map of the Biltmore Estate – America’s Largest Private Home

We’re stepping outdoors, since we believe it’s one of the best ways to truly appreciate the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately-owned home in the United States.

Constructed for George Washington Vanderbilt II, this Gilded Age masterpiece showcases French Renaissance chateau-style architecture. The 179,000 square foot structure, equipped with modern amenities like central heating, electricity, and an elevator, was completed in 1895 after six years of construction. Resembling a castle, construction required its own brick-making factory and private railway to deliver materials. Decades later, due to high maintenance costs, the family opened it to the public.

Statue of Diana and Italian Gardens (Map Locations #1 & #2)

After parking, you’ll walk along a winding forested path until suddenly finding yourself before an expansive view of the Biltmore House. This seemingly accidental transition was carefully planned by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York’s Central Park.

First stop on your visit is the Statue of Diana. This Roman goddess, overlooking the estate, symbolizes the protective watch over the land and its natural beauty. The Vanderbilts’ guests often admired this statue for its breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, making it a contemplative and admired spot.

Moving into the Italian Garden, the ambiance shifts. You’ll find three symmetrical pools adorned with water lilies on top of lotus beds. The meticulously designed space, with its elegant and sculpted greenery, feels like a hidden sanctuary, a piece of Renaissance Italy preserved in time. It’s said that this garden was a favorite spot of Edith Vanderbilt (who married the nation’s most eligible bachelor at the time), and she would often be found here enjoying the quietude and beauty of the pools.

Stable Courtyard (Map Location #3)

As you approach the house stop by the Stable Courtyard, today transformed into a lively area with shops and eateries.

Originally used by the Vanderbilt family’s horses and carriages, the courtyard reflects the estate’s luxury. The stables, beyond mere functionality, were a display of wealth and status. The slate roof tiles were affixed one by one and then wired at the corners onto the attic’s steel infrastructure. If you look closely, you’ll find the fanciful turquoise copper flashing installed at the roof conjunctions to prevent water from getting in.

South Terraces & Library (Map Location #4)

The South Terraces, adjacent to the library, offer breathtaking views of the estate’s rolling hills, highlighting the seamless mix of architecture and nature. If you could peek through the windows you’d see the library’s design is a testament to George Vanderbilt’s love for literature. The two story room houses more than 10,000 volumes and features wood-panels and a magnificent painted ceiling.

Walled Garden and Conservatory (Map Locations #5 & #6)

Meandering out from the terraces you’ll discover the Walled Garden. This horticultural wonder features rows of vibrant flowers and ornamental shrubs in intricate patterns, presenting a kaleidoscope of colors and textures. The brick pathways and grass-delineated patterns are peaceful haven for visitors. In an interview, the current horticultural director at the Biltmore Estate said his favorite time of the year to visit the grounds is at the end of summer, because the colors get more vibrant and the gardens fuller.

Finally, let’s take a look at the Conservatory, a glass and steel structure, housing exotic plants and flowers. This lush, tropical environment showcases a variety of plant species, from orchids to palms, providing a year-round display of botanical beauty that contrasts with the estate’s traditional European influences. Look closely for a glimpse through the transparent ceiling.

The Biltmore Estate stands as a testament to George Vanderbilt’s vision and passion. As Vanderbilt himself once said, he came to this spot and was captivated by its beauty – a sentiment that continues to resonate with visitors today.