A Visit to: Biltmore Estate
As a history nerd and lover of all things Downton Abbey, it is remarkable that I hadn’t visited Biltmore Estate already. But this October, I finally made it! Biltmore is located in Asheville, North Carolina, a funky foodie town in itself. From Columbus, Asheville is only a short 7 hour drive, and depending on the route you take, winds through the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Because it was my first trip, I took the basic audio tour of the estate, and was not disappointed. No photography is allowed inside, but I got some great shots of the exterior of the mansion and the grounds. It was a little chilly, but we were so glad that we went in the fall, because the leaves were gorgeous and made for some incredible mountain pictures as well.
The dining and drinking scene at Biltmore is equally impressive. At the Inn at Biltmore, you can indulge in an authentic Afternoon Tea, complete with finger sandwiches, scones, and teas of all kinds. Also located on the property is Antler Village, a mini-town complete with a museum, restaurants, shopping, and the winery. You might think that the food in a tourist-heavy area would be conventional and uninspired; not the case with Bistro, a delicious farm-to-table spot where I ordered the most delicious scallop bucatini pasta. We also popped in Cedric’s Tavern, a casual pub named for George Vanderblit’s dog. Here, you can nosh on dishes like charcuterie plates, Jack and Coke marinated wings, and tavern pretzels. We enjoyed the house brown ale, produced by local brewery Highland.
You may have seen Biltmore wines at your local grocery store, but here you can try more than 20 wines of all varieties, made on the Estate. A free tasting and optional tour of the winery is included with Estate admission. Bottles of wine and wine-related gift items are available to take home after you decide on your favorite (or multiple favorites). You can also purchase all kinds of food items in the winery, such as Cheesy Bacon and Onion Dip Mix; I kept going back for more samples, then broke down and bought a packet of my own.
New life plan: Return to Biltmore at Christmas. The photos of the holiday decorations look absolutely stunning, and there are so many more tours to take, as well as plenty of food to try!