We visited Biltmore on June 10, 2013. We found out that only adults had to pay for admission, and so our two children (teens) were able to visit at no charge.The house is sprawling to say the least. If you watch Downton Abby, you will be able to appreciate and understand the inner workings of the home and all those that lived there.
Our family had suggested that we make a reservation for the Architect's Tour the day of our visit. We did this - the cost was $17 each (kids weren't free in this case). This add-on was well worth the money! Our tour lasted an hour and we had the opportunity to walk through areas of the home that were sectioned off from the general public. We learned about George Vanderbilt and his love of Ashville, the people that were living in the area and his desire to run the estate so that it might be self-sustaining. We were able to walk on several catwalks outside amidst the rooftops and this provided us with the opportunity to see the property in the same way that Mr. Vanderbilt and his family were able to. Both of our teenaged boys especially enjoyed this part of our visit.
While they were exceedingly well-off, the Vanderbilt family regularly reached out to those that worked in the house or on the land that they owned to help in any way they could. Case in point, Mr. Vanderbilt's wife, Edith, started the first 4-H program in the country to help the youth of those that farmed the land on the estate in in neighboring towns.
We had a marvelous day, we all learned a little more history, and the Architect's Tour was certainly the highlight.
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