ASHEVILLE NC – More than 100 years ago, young George Vanderbilt was an adventurous man who embarked on building a home for his family and friends far away from the hustle and bustle of city life in New York. All these years later, visitors to Vanderbilt’s creation in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains may vacate their own everyday lives with a summer trip to that exact same place: Biltmore.
Summer at Biltmore officially begins on May 24 and runs through Sept. 1, 2014. The season’s slower pace sets the tone for adventures along the estate’s 8,000 acres, a space that has been preserved and perfected over time. The castle-like, 250-room Biltmore House is open for exploration by all ages, enhanced this year by a NEW kid’s audio tour for ages 7 to 13. Specialty tours go all the way up to the home’s rooftop for breathtaking birds-eye views; and down into the basement where a swimming pool and bowling alley reside.
Summer 2014 vacation deals at Biltmore
• Kids 16 and younger receive FREE admission Memorial Day Weekend (starting May 23) through Labor Day, Sept. 1.
• Dads receive FREE admission on Father’s Day, June 15, with purchase of an adult or youth ticket.
• Seniors receive $15 off admission on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
• Save $15 off ticket price by purchasing tickets at least 7 days in advance of visit; save $10 by booking online 1 to 6 days in advance of visit (www.biltmore.com).
Biltmore’s great outdoors
Meander through the colorful and ever-changing manicured gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, or explore the miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through wooded areas and open fields. Take in mountain and Biltmore House views from a bike, on the back of a horse, while floating down a lazy river, on a Segway, or on a carriage ride. Try your hand at fly-fishing, sporting clays or get behind the wheel of a Land Rover.
Fun in Antler Hill Village and Farm
Admission to Biltmore includes access to Antler Hill Village Farm and Barnyard, both of which harken back to the 1890s when families lived on the estate raising crops and livestock, and tending to milk and ice cream production at Biltmore Dairy. The Barnyard area is home to blacksmiths, woodworkers and other craft demonstrations. Kids can also explore Pisgah Playground, a Children’s Maze and the Land Rover Course for Kids. The Winery hosts a Kids Grape Stomp in the village from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Admission offers entry to Biltmore Winery, with complimentary tastings and a production tour. Specialty tours like the Vine to Wine Tour, Biltmore Bubbles Tour and the Red Wine and Chocolate seminar are available at an additional cost. An exhibition, “The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad,” is just a few steps away from the Winery and sheds light on the time the Vanderbilt family made Biltmore House their home, and their world travels.
Music under the stars
Dance under the stars on select summer nights during Biltmore’s Concert Series, staged on the South Terrace next to Biltmore House. The 2014 line-up will be announced on May 1, 2014, on www.biltmore.com, with series kick-off scheduled for July. Past performers have included Sheryl Crow, Heart, The Beach Boys, Bruce Hornsby, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alison Krauss and more!
Evening weekends will feature Live After Five in Antler Hill Village with musical performances by area musicians on the bandstand at the Village Green. A variety of culinary options will be available, and Cedric’s Tavern, the Bistro, the Creamery will all be open.