Hello happy travelers! I’m itching to tell you about my Biltmore experience in 2021. Biltmore provided extraordinary highlights. Here are my top 10 faves!
Tell me your favorite highlights in the comments and what videos you’d like to see this coming year.
10) Garden Railway Train Exhibit
While this train exhibit, constructed out of all natural elements like bark, twigs and vines, was brought to Biltmore in the summer of 2019, I enjoyed it’s continued transformation in 2021. I saw it first exhibited in Antler Hill Village and then moved to the conservatory, and enjoyed watching the layout change with the seasons.
Fun fact! This Exhibit was part of the 2018 Smithsonian Botanical Garden Exhibit, which was rated as one of the top attractions to see in Washington DC!
9) Biltmore taught me that Collard Greens are yummy!
This one surprised me too. Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of collard greens and never thought I would. It never occurred to me that Biltmore Estate would be the place to change my mind. And yet, here we are. Biltmore is famous for its farm to table food. This past year the Stable Cafe taught me that collard greens are delicious! I don’t know what they do to they do to that stringy green, stuff that makes me look forward to having it again, and again and again whenever I go back . . . I don’t know. Whatever it is, I like it!
8) Stories from the trolley drivers
Biltmore has a rich history that you’ll learn from guided tours, books and other exhibits in Antler Hill Village and at the Biltmore house. What I really enjoyed this year, was stories shared by the trolley drivers that drove me from the parking lot to the Biltmore house.
Even though the trolley is a free service, the drivers are well versed in Biltmore history and I’ve learned equally interesting facts from them as I have form the guided tours.
The trolley ride is where I learned that the Garden Railway exhibit was in the Smithsonian, facts about George and Edith Vanderbilt, the property and the struggles Edith endured after George’s death and also some fun facts like movies that were filmed at Biltmore such as Richie Rich and My Fellow Americans with James Garner, Dan Aykroyd and Jack Lemon
7) Spring Blooms
I don’t care hod many years in a row I see the Spring Blooms at Biltmore. They’re breathtaking and there is always something new to see. Depending on what time of the Spring you visit, you’ll see different plants in bloom and in different stages. You could literally visit every week during the Spring and it will look like a different place each time.
Check out Biltmore’s website for an updated Bloom report this Spring!
This large-scale outdoor sculpture entitled Free as a Bird made it’s appearance in April of 2021 and will stick around until January 9th,2022.
Patrick Dougherty poured his carpentry skills and love of nature into over 300 of these works over the last three decades. He’s an internationally-acclaimed artist who has captivated the hearts and imaginations of viewers worldwide. Free as a Bird is a unique-to-Biltmore sculpture and it has been fun to watch it’s metamorphosis through the seasons.
5) Restaurant visits
You already know about my love of the Stable Cafe at the Biltmore house. That’s my usual go-to when visiting Biltmore.
in 2021 I decided I needed to familiarize myself with other restaurants in Antler Hill Village.
The Creamery: This is a great little spot for a pastry, cookies, ice cream or to grab a refreshing drink. MMMMMM . . just thinking about it makes my mouth water!
Cedrics Tavern: Enjoy global pub fare at Cedric’s which is an Open Table Diner’s Choice Award’-winning restaurant. For lunch, they offer dishes such as such as fish & chips, shepherd’s pie, and burgers. Dinner highlights Chef Powell’s updates on classic English pub fare like steak, chicken breast, pork chops, burgers and salmon.
Enjoy live local music in the bar and seasonal out door dining.
While they do all ow walk in’s, I suggest making reservations. this is a popular spot and the wait can be long if you don’t call ahead.
Smokehouse food truck: This is a great grab-and-go option served from a vintage truck. They serve Carolina barbeque and other Southern favorites that will not disappoint. Choose from pulled pork, chicken or brisket add on some hush puppies, coleslaw or aged white cheddar mac’n cheese with your choice of Eastern NC vinegar sauce, South Carolina mustard sauce or a smoky tomato sauce. The brisket was moist and perfect. I could have eaten it without sauce, it was so delicious on it’s own. The mac’n cheese was outstanding! I highly recommend!
Bistro: Located in the Village Hotel this restaurant offers estate-raised and regionally sourced ingredients. Even the honey butter that was served with the artisanal bread was made with honey sourced from the bees that are tended right there on the estate.
Choose from pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and other seasonal dishes.
They have an impressive wine list too.
I had the french onoin soup. Look at that cheesy perfection! Don’t even get me started on the juicy grilled steak sandwich. I’m definitely going to order that again!
As a bonus, I got $4 off my order for being an annual pass holder.
4) The Vanderbilt’s at Home and Abroad Exhibit
The Vanderbilt’s at Home and Abroad exhibition located in Antler Hill Village offers guests an opportunity to view treasures from the Biltmore collection that gives you a peek into their lifestyle and journeys.
Some of my favorite displays included clothing owned and worn by Edith Vanderbilt, like her mermaid party dress made from cotton, silk and metal fabrics.
This is a great place to visit for those who want to know more about the Vanderbilt history, or if you’d like to have something else to do on a rainy day or while waiting for your reservations at one of the Antler Hill Village restaurants.
The extra good news is that ther is no additional cost to see this exhibit. Access to this exhibit is included with Biltmore daytime admission.
3) The Lagoon!
Although I’ve rode past the lagoon many times, I’ve never stopped to see what it was all about until 2021. It’s a peaceful spot to row a boat, ride bikes, go horseback riding, take a carriage ride, see wildlife, have a picnic, go fishing, and watch the sunset. It’s one of the most stunning views of the Biltmore House that you can get from a distance as well!
This is another spot that makes the annual pass worth while so you can see how it changes with the seasons. I got to see it in the summer late fall in 2021, I plan on coming back to see this spot in Spring and early Fall in 2022!
2) Roof Top Tour
I want to see this tour in every season! I went on this tour last year, and I loved it! But it was later in the winter season so the view of the grounds were pretty barren. This year I went back a little earlier and captured more fall foliage. I want to come back and take this tour in the spring to see the colorful blooms, in the summer to see the grounds with full trees and I’d like to come back even earlier in the fall for more colorful leaf display. Yet another reason I love my season pass.
Not to mention this tour allows you to see sights, part of the house and hear stories that you wont get to see or hear with a regular house tour.
1) Carriage ride
This comes in as #1 because I waited so long for it. Carriage rides are highly dependent on weather and availability.
I finally got my shot!
Weather you’ve been to Biltmore 1,000 times or if it’s your first, a carriage ride is a great idea! You’ll experience views of the Estate that you can’t see anywhere else! The guides are fun and a wealth of information. The guides have more great stories about the Vanderbilt family, the grounds and the stories behind how the Estate came to be and why this particular area of the estate is called Deerpark. I’m not going to tell you though, You’ll have to take a carriage ride to find out
What am I looking forward to in 2022?
Staying at the Biltmore hotel, Inn or maybe one of the cottage
Going back to as many restaurants as possible
The Lagoon in Spring and early fall
Roof top tour in other seasons
Immersive art exhibits
What type of Biltmore videos would you like to see in this year? Hotel tours reviews? Restaurant reviews? an insider look at different tours and activities? Info on the history? Let me know in the comments.
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Thank you so much for joining in I appreciate you! Happy Travels!