Letter: Biltmore Estate was worth the wait

Steven Hawkins Courtesy photo

I toured the Biltmore Estate in Asheville back in November, and I had a great time. It truly is America’s largest home, the estate of George Vanderbilt and his family. I am glad George Vanderbilt’s descendants left this treasure to America and to the friends of the state of North Carolina and the city of Asheville.

I loved that you presented your family’s tickets to the attendant at the gate on 1 Lodge St., and that you had to drive a long way up to the estate because Asheville’s mountains and outdoor beauty are exceptional. After my family parked our car, we were glad we got a chance to take a long-awaited tour of the building. Our bus guide took us to the front of the building, where we saw the fountain outside and a long line of people waiting to get in and tour the building.

I really enjoyed my family’s tour of the Biltmore Estate. I enjoyed beautiful rooms, such as the entrance hall, the banquet hall, music room, second-floor living hall and library.

I really enjoyed touring the banquet hall. Its table could seat 64 guests, and it is the largest room in the house. George Vanderbilt invited all his friends from up North to dine with him there. My family’s tour of the house was in November, so they already had Christmas decorations up for the holidays in the room. And that was something else.

I also enjoyed the library, which was also on the first floor like the banquet hall. I appreciated George Vanderbilt collecting 10,000 volumes of books in various languages and works of art. And these are displayed in the library.

I enjoyed going up the elevator to the second floor of the house. The second floor displayed the living quarters of Mr. Vanderbilt and his wife and family. The second floor has the living hall, George Vanderbilt’s gilded bed and also his wife’s Louis XV-style bedroom.

The Biltmore Estate is truly an exceptional place. My family put off a long-awaited visit to the place, and I’m glad I made the trip in November. I look forward to going back and touring the museum again with more members of my family and a myriad of friends. It truly is America’s largest home.

— Steven Hawkins
Greenville, S.C.

Editor’s note: Hawkins reports that he is a newspaper freelance writer who started writing letters to the editor in 2014. His letters have appeared in newspapers in both North and South Carolina.


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