If you’re lucky enough to visit Greenville during the holidays, you also might want to see the magnificent Biltmore Estate in nearby Asheville, North Carolina. While it’s true you’ll have plenty of things to do in the spectacular High Country, seeing this incredible attraction might just come once in a lifetime. Nestled within the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore Estate is home to one of the most famous homes in America. And during the holiday season, this extraordinary property becomes even more dazzling with holiday lights and Christmas-related attractions. Learn why the Biltmore Estate, in Asheville should be on your radar during your December stay in Greenville.
About The Biltmore
1 Lodge St.
Asheville, NC 28803
Completed in 1895, the Biltmore house was originally the private residence of George Washington Vanderbilt II. He was the son of business magnate William Henry Vanderbilt, once the richest man in America. Originally encompassing 125,000 acres within the Blue Ridge Mountains, the gilded age Asheville mansion was designed by famed New York architect Richard Morris Hunt. Now residing across 8,000 acres, the Biltmore House remains the largest privately owned home in the country. Moreover, it’s the biggest attraction in the beautiful city of Asheville.
How To Get There From Greenville
The Biltmore Estate is just 62 miles north of downtown Greenville. The easiest route is U.S. Route 25 North to Interstate 26 West near Flat Rock. From Interstate 25 West, merge onto Interstate 40 East at exit 31A. From Interstate 25, take exit 50 to U.S. 25 North. From U.S. 25 North, take the Biltmore Estate Drive exit. Follow directional signs to either the ticket/information center or Biltmore Estate entrance. All visitors must have an admission ticket to the Biltmore Estate. Under normal driving conditions, it will take you about 70 minutes to reach the Estate from Greenville.
Biltmore House Tickets Information
Tickets may be purchased online or onsite at the ticket/information center. Online tickets start at $94, which includes a self-guided tour of Biltmore House. The general ticket also includes complimentary parking and access to Biltmore Gardens. Visitors may inquire about grounds access tickets at the ticket counter. After parking, you must take a shuttle to reach the Estate.
The Biltmore Estate also offers Christmas-themed tickets starting at $114. The ultimate Christmas pass is the Ultimate Experience for $334. Tickets for the Ultimate Experience are not available Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Children ages 9 and younger are admitted free for each purchase of premium tickets like Christmas at Biltmore.
Insider Tip: An unadvertised ticket for $49 has allowed visitors to access the grounds and gardens, in addition to complimentary parking.
What To See At The Biltmore Estate
The centerpiece of the 8,000-acre Asheville estate is the magnificent Biltmore House. Occupying 175,000 square feet, the home is designed in a Châteauesque architectural style and has 250 rooms. This includes 33 bedroom and 43 bathrooms, along with immense dining facilities and 65 fireplaces. Each guest will have a reserved entry time then can view the stunning interior at their own pace. Of particular interest are the two-story library, the Vanderbilt bedrooms and the Banquet Hall.
Encompassing 75 acres, Biltmore Gardens was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, famously known as the Father of American Landscape Architecture. Due to its enormity, a complete tour of the gardens requires more than a single day. However, visitors on a day trip can still see a number of points of interest. This may include the Italian Garden, Walled Garden and the Conservatory. The Gardens also features a Rose Garden, with more than 250 varieties of roses. Visitors are encouraged to review the guidebooks that are available onsite.
Related: Unique Gardens Of The South
Antler Hill Village & Winery
If time permits, day visitors may wish to visit Antler Hill Village. An expansive dining and retail center, it also features the estate’s celebrated winery. Among other attractions are the Barn, where children can pet farm animals. Visitors on a limited time schedule can also purchase items online through the Biltmore Shop. Visitors who prefer to have a longer stay can book overnight reservations. Among the choices are the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate and Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate. A half mile from the home, a visit to Antler Hill Village may require another shuttle bus. However, you will not be disappointed in your visit. In fact, it will be one of the top highlights of your visit.
Visitors to this Asheville estate on a tight schedule will benefit from knowing where to shop. Adjacent to the Biltmore House are a number of boutique shops. Among the favorites are the Carriage House, A Christmas Past and the Confectionary. Drinks and snacks are also available at the Courtyard Market near the entrance to the shops. Visitors to Antler Hill Village will particularly enjoy the Christmas Pop-up Shop.
Related: America’s Best Christmas Markets
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville offers both casual and upscale dining at Antler Hill Village. Among the nearly 20 options are Cedric’s Tavern, Kitchen Café and the Creamery. Other top choices like the Dining Room and Bistro may not be as practical for single day visitors. At this time, the estate’s Deerpark Restaurant is temporarily closed. There is no update as to when it will reopen.
Established in 1985, Biltmore Winery produces a wide range of premium wines. The winery offers a number of wine selections, particularly from French varietals. Admission to the estate includes complimentary wine tasting. However, you must make an advance reservation for the wine tastings. Notable recommendations include Biltmore Estate Riesling, White Blend and Pinot Noir. A 25 percent site-wide on orders over $100 is offered December 15-21.
Where To Stay In Greenville
The city of Greenville offers a wide range of lodging options. This includes upscale hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals. Top hotel recommendations are the Westin Poinsett, Hyatt Regency and Hampton Inn and Suites. Recommended bed and breakfast inns are Pettigru Place and Swamp Rabbit Inn. Of course, there are many other lodging choices to fit whatever budget you may have. In addition, there are a number of RV campsites in the Greenville area.
Where To Dine In Greenville
As one of the South’s hottest foodie destinations, there’s a wealth of options for dining in Greenville. Among the highly recommended restaurants are Halls Chophouse, The Lazy Goat and Soby’s. Greenville also has a number of spots for casual dining. Suggested places are Swamp Rabbit Café, Mike & Jeff’s BBQ and Bucky’s Bar-B-Q. For breakfast, Stax’s Original, Maple Street Biscuit and Flying Biscuit are all outstanding.
About The Author:
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS Local websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, he reportedly had a digital audience reach of 489 million and more than 5.5 million monthly visitors. His other stories have also appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC, NJ.com and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.