Although many people try to plan their visit to the Biltmore Estate in the spring and summer, the fall season is when the real magic happens. The foliage on the Persian Parrotia and other historic trees start to change color, and the lovely Chrysanthemums begin to bloom. The cool, crisp breeze makes walking the trails a true delight, while fewer visitors make it easier to marvel at all the amazing sights.
You really cannot lose when visiting in the fall unless you squander your time trying to figure out just what deserves your attention. So, put your visit on the fall calendar, and then use this guide to determine how to best spend your time there.
Marvel at the Architectural Splendor
When it comes to describing the Biltmore House, swanky digs is definitely the understatement of the year. More akin to a castle than a house at all, this gigantic abode absolutely oozes style and sophistication, inside and out. The grand staircase at the entrance, gargoyles along the rooftop, and stunning limestone columns along the front are just the start of the wonders to be seen here.
Just standing in its shadow is an experience in and of itself, though you simply cannot stop there. To get the full experience, you need to tour the 250-room chateau for yourself to take in all the architectural wonders.
Although you can go just wander all its rooms to your heart’s content, the audio guide serves as the best way to take it all in. Using that guide, you will learn about each piece of architecture plus all about the Vanderbilt family lore. You can then take the Biltmore House Backstairs Tour for a close look at the servants’ areas and to hear all their spectacular tales.
View Original Art, Tapestries, and More
As you check out all the different rooms, take the time to look at the décor at every corner. All the relics of the Vanderbilt family remain in place to this day, giving you a glimpse into their history and life. If you are paying close attention, you can view their vintage clothing, including shoes and hair accessories, plus their favorite furniture, books, and trinkets.
You may even stumble across vivid tapestries from as far back as the 16th century hanging on the walls for all to admire. Since George Vanderbilt was an avid collector, gorgeous artwork is equally plentiful. You can see works by Maxime Maufra, Ignacio Zuloaga, and many other famous artists.
If you are using the audio tour, you might even hear fun and insightful anecdotes about all the things you see along the way. Otherwise, you will have to hope one of the onsite guides has a moment to share their insights and answer all your questions.
Enjoy the Breathtaking View from the Rooftops
The guided rooftop tour will give you a chance to enjoy a magnificent view of the entire estate and the landscape beyond. Your guide will take you to the many balconies across the house before leading you to the rooftop for the grand finale. At each one, you can take pictures of the architectural delights and scenic landscape, plus get a few selfies in for good measure. The entire tour will take about an hour, but the memories are sure to last a lifetime.
The guided rooftop tour allows 12 guests per tour and lasts about an hour. It’s about $45 per person plus tax.
Get a Glimpse of the Salvias and Chrysanthemums
As the nights grow cooler, the chrysanthemums and salvias gear up to make their appearance. They both slowly increase in beauty until their peak bloom occurs in mid-October. The unique planting practices used in these gardens only serve to make these flowers even more exquisite. Whether they are just starting to set their buds or in full bloom, they are always a lovely sight to see.
Take in the Beauty Across 20 Miles of Trails
Although you might not come to the Biltmore to take a hike, the trails winding across the estate are well worth the trip. And they are the best way to see all the leaves on the historic trees changing from green to gold, and then their final bright red hues. You can simply walk the trails or speed between the sights by bike, though just be sure not to take bicycles on the paths through the gardens. Your dogs are welcome as well, as long as they are kept on the leash at all times.
Look Out Across Miles of Stunning Vineyards
When you come to the Biltmore in the daytime, you get a complimentary wine tasting with your admission fee. Before you waltz into the winery to grab your prize, take a moment to appreciate the vineyards all around. Started in the early 1970s, the vineyard has grown from a handful of vinifera grapevines into the acres of healthy plants. Through decades of development, the grapes have only improved in flavor, serving as the base for all their excellent wines.
Check Out the Biltmore Winery Production Rooms
After you head inside the winery for your complimentary tasting experience, don’t you dare leave without taking a tour of the production rooms. On the tour, you will learn how they transform all their fresh grapes into each variety of wine made inhouse. Your guide will talk about how the grapes are grown to perfection, then explore fermentation in vivid detail. A tasting brings you right back to where you started and beautifully completes the experience.
Browse the Magnificence of the Antler Hill Village
Serving as a bridge between past and present is the awesome Antler Hill Village, complete with shops, restaurants, and even a hotel. You can catch live music from the bandstand, see craft demonstrations, and grab a decadent snack or meal from the eateries onsite.
Even kids love to spend the day at the village. They can visit the farmyard to meet all the wonderous animals on the estate or let off some steam at the playground. At the end of the night, you can grab a room at the Village Hotel to extend your stay and see even more amazing things the following day.
The fall is a fantastic time to go to the Biltmore, especially when you put all these fun items on your itinerary. To experience all it has to offer, just make sure to bring a light jacket, walking shoes, and your camera, of course.