Asheville, NC, USA
Gilded Age in the Blue RidgeIn the hills above Asheville, NC, the Biltmore House stands as one of the finest examples of Gilded Age architecture. Built by the Vanderbilt family in the 1890's, it is the largest house in the U.S. Entire rooms and ceilings were transplanted from Europe to furnish this Renaissance-style 'chateau' in the southern Appalachians--'instant history.'
Much of the estate had been clear-cut in the 19th century; the Vanderbilts carefully re-forested the grounds and today it blends into its Blue Ridge mountain surroundings seamlessly. This 'house' is a world apart from the smaller-scale charm of the log-cabins and banjos you might typically associate with the region. Schoolchildren from throughout the South have been coming here for decades on field-trips--much cheaper than a plane ticket to Europe...and a wonderful place to escape from the summer heat in the lowland South.