When the invitation arrived in my inbox to visit the Biltmore Estate and the Historic Biltmore Village in Asheville, NC I was ecstatic, as it’s been on my list of places to visit for a while. With it only being 3 and half hours away from Atlanta, it’s the perfect place to get away without getting on a plane…hello staycation! Asheville is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and was once another southern playground for the rich and famous. I know the Northerners went South for the Winter, but I always find it interesting that they were in the smallest of cities. I mean it does make sense. If I was wealthy during that time, I would for sure want to vacation somewhere private.
The largest city in Western North Carolina, Asheville is all about its art and music and you can feel it from the various art galleries, restaurants and bohemian chic clothing boutiques. If you’re into more of the outdoors, they have you covered with that too. You can go hiking, biking or visit some of the State and National Parks. There’s something for everyone with plenty of things to do.
South Carolina/North Carolina State line
The drive up to Asheville, takes you through the Southern entrance of the Blue Ridge Mountains, providing the most spectacular views of the trees changing for Fall. You instantly feel a sense of peace. Growing up in South Florida you don’t appreciate the changing of the seasons because it doesn’t happen lol. Having lived in Atlanta for 10 years now, every Fall I continue to be in awe. It is such a beautiful sight to see and I never get tired of it. This trip came at the perfect time, as the drive up through the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville made for the perfect scenic drive.
While in Asheville, we stayed at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville located in the Historic Biltmore Village. The Biltmore Village was a planned community for the estate workers and is located right down the hill from the estate. Now, the village is home to retail shops, boutiques, restaurants and hotels.
Pulling up to the Grand Bohemian, it was by far the most unique hotel I’ve ever seen. It’s very stately and slightly medieval. The decor in the lobby is reminiscent of a lodge, reminding you that you are in the mountains. It’s full of dark tones, textures and wood furniture.
Treats from the hotel in my room when I arrived…yum!
Read more about my stay Grand Bohemian Asheville here.
The next day, at the top of the list of things to do, was to visit the opulent Biltmore Estate, known for being the largest private residence in North America. Grandson of the self-made millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Vanderbilt built the 250 room mansion in 1895, that includes, 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.
Breathtaking views from inside of the Estate
On the tour of the Estate, I was able to visit 41 of the 250 rooms which took us almost 2 hours. This home is massive! I was able to see George and Edith Vanderbilt’s separate bedrooms, indoor pool, gym as well as the massive kitchen and servants quarters.
Main kitchen in the lower level of the Estate
Edith Vanderbilt’s bedroom
George passed away in 1914 and in 1930 Cornelia (George and Edith Vanderbilt’s daughter) and her husband John Cecil, opened the Biltmore House to the public. The estate now houses 2 hotels, Inn on Biltmore Estate and Village Hotel at Biltmore Estate in addition to Antler Village which houses shopping, restaurants and the Biltmore Estate Winery.
I’m a bit of a history buff, so I really enjoyed taking a step back in time. As I made my way through 41 rooms, I just couldn’t believe that someone lived there. Edith’s bedroom was one of my favorites of the rooms I was able to see. It’s so elegant and feminine.
The holidays is a great time to visit Biltmore. There are plenty of activities happening at the Estate. Read more about them here.
Have I talked about how much I love Fall?! 🙂 It’s a 4 mile drive down the mountain so I stopped to grab a picture as the leaves were falling.
After visiting the Biltmore Estate, we headed back down the mountain to the Historic Biltmore Village to visit The Biltmore Village Inn. The Victorian style mansion was built in 1892 for the Vanderbilt’s lawyer Samuel H. Reed. It was bought and sold a few times and had once gone into disarray. The Biltmore Village Inn, as of 2001, is now a bed and breakfast that features a large wrap around porch, gourmet 3-course breakfast and gorgeous views of the mountains. If you are looking for a more quaint and home-like feel for your accommodations you should definitely consider the Inn.
Taking a tour through the home, you forget that you are in a “hotel” of sorts. There was wine and cheese in the dining area for guests to indulge in and there was a heavenly smell of cookies baking in the oven coming from the kitchen. The decor in all of the rooms vary, but have similar features such as private baths with jetted tubs, fireplaces, flat screen TV’s and the one thing we all can’t live without, WiFi.
The wrap-around porch was beautifully decorated with pumpkins 🙂
After checking out The Biltmore Village Inn, we made our way to Catawba Brewery. One of many craft breweries in town, Catawba features an open air concept which makes it a great place to just sit and socialize over a cold brew. Ladies, if you’re not into beer but your man is don’t worry, Catawba also offers hard apple cider, which is what I had. I’ve had several hard apple ciders and this one is the best I’ve had. The flavor of apple didn’t have you thinking you were drinking apple juice which was great.
Later that evening we all met up for an amazing (and I know I say that often lol) dinner at Red Stag Grill inside of the Grand Bohemian. We began the evening with passed appetizers while we sipped champagne and admired the beautiful art work inside of the Grand Bohemian’s art gallery. We were then whisked away to the private room in the back of Red Stag Grill, where we were served six beautifully prepared courses.
Seared Scallop with house smoked bacon, brussel sprouts, roasted cauliflower and micro greens
Read more about the dinner at Red Stag Grille inside the Grand Bohemian here.
First Lady Michelle Obama has eaten here
I road trip quite a bit and it never fails that I absolutely must have a large breakfast before hitting the highway. After checking out of the Grand Bohemian, Tawana and I walked a couple of blocks to the Corner Kitchen located in the Biltmore Village. Located inside of a house that is 108 years old, you can find anything from beef hash to Johnny cakes (and you don’t see that on many menus). The menu is different yet not out of the ordinary. I ordered the light yet filling lox (smoked salmon) and bagel that included a side of bacon and hash browns. I typically don’t enjoy bagels as I often feel like its too much bread, but Corner Kitchen does something different by putting it on the griddle instead of just putting it in a toaster. It was buttery and toasty and once I loaded the cream cheese and smoked salmon, onion, tomato and lettuce, I was in heaven. Even something as simple as hash browns had me saying “mmmm…” over and over. This restaurant came highly recommended by the locals (and they always know where to eat), so I’am going to pass along the great advice and recommend this place to you as well.
Other places to visit in the Village:
Surface Gallery -An art gallery featuring contemporary fine art.
The Cantina Biltmore Village -Tex-Mex in NC? Yep! We enjoyed pitchers of 1800 tequila margaritas, fajitas and tacos. They are known for their shrimp stuffed grilled avocado, which was awesome! There’s also a ghost! I didn’t experience it though, I made sure to leave before anything weird happened lol.
Village Wayside Bar and Grill– Another restaurant in the Biltmore Village with a pub-like feel and was once a train depot, you can find anything from sandwiches to soups, tacos and pastas. I had the gyro which was great and the lamb was prepared in-house. You can also find daily drink specials.
Boheme Boutique -This cute boutique is what Asheville is about. It features boho-chic and artsy style clothing and you can also pick up jewelry, home accents and gifts. Boutiques are always great, because you will always find something unique.
Have you been to Asheville?
Until next time…eat well, travel often and be happy. xoxo -Milla
*Thank you so much to Gail Dowell, the Historic Biltmore Village Partnership and everyone involved in making our time in Asheville great. Your hospitality is amazing!