I finally got to the Biltmore Estate today. Sue and I went for a tour of the mansion, gardens, and winery along with some folks from Indiana and South Dakota. The mansion was built by George Washington Vanderbilt and sits on 125,000 acre estate outside of Asheville. It was started in 1889 and completed in 1895. It has 250-rooms (~175,000 sq. ft.) with 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement has a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants' quarters, kitchens, and a laundry.
The mansion was modeled after 16th Centrury French château design. The building project was one of the largest in the history of American residential architecture. Over a six-year period, an entire community of craftsmen worked to build the home. The estate had its own brick factory, woodworking shop, and a three-mile railway spur for transporting materials to the site.
The grounds of the 125,000-acre estate were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of New York's Central Park and the father of American landscape architecture. He developed acres of gardens and parkland, reclaimed over-farmed land to establish the first managed forest in the US.
It was well worth the wait to see Biltmore. We've visited quite a few of these late 19th Century mansions and am amazed at how much money these guys spent to bring Europe to America.
We are heading home on Saturday morning.