The Blue Ridge Mountains might be the last place you’d expect to find a grand French Renaissance château, but thanks to the vision of George Washington Vanderbilt and his architect Richard Morris Hunt, that’s what you’ll find just south of Asheville. The largest privately owned house in the United States, with 250 rooms sprawling over 175,000 square feet, Biltmore was constructed from 1889 to 1895. It remains one of the prime examples of Gilded Age architecture, though the wonders of Biltmore extend beyond the walls of the home. Frederick Law Olmsted, responsible for New York’s Central Park and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, designed the formal gardens while the Biltmore Winery is the country’s most visited winery. After a glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, wander over to the green at Antler Hill Village for some shopping or a meal at the Smokehouse or Cedric’s Tavern.
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