Friday, November 16, 2018

Biltmore Estate Bucket List

By Shari Randall

I love it when I can scratch an item off my bucket list.

Last week we rendezvoused with Older Daughter in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is a great town with lots to see and terrific restaurants plus Battery Park, a used bookstore that also has a champagne bar! I could have stayed there for days but Biltmore beckoned.
Biltmore House, built by the Vanderbilt family, is our own American castle. The building, which has over four acres of floor space, includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, and a few gargoyles. It is as magnificent as I imagined.
A sweeping drive led to the entry, guarded by two stone lions, decked out with wreaths and big red bows for the holidays. Yes, it’s before Thanksgiving, but Biltmore was resplendent with bows, greenery, and lights, which made it even more enchanting.

What I didn’t expect was to be so captured by the landscape. It was designed by Frederic Law Olmstead, who planned Central Park. Even though the leaves were fading, every path seemed to lead to a view that framed the distant mountains or valleys.
Plus, our tour included entry to the greenhouses, which burst with orchids, poinsettias, and other exotic plants.
Never been to Biltmore? You may have seen part of the estate in a film – some of the movies that have used the estate for background are The Last of the Mohegans, Forrest Gump, Patch Adams, and perhaps most appropriately, Richie Rich.

A one-day visit was not enough. I hope to go back to see this magnificent house – and its magnificent gardens – when the landscape is in bloom. New bucket list item: Biltmore in the spring.

Have you scratched an item from your bucket list lately?

Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series from St. Martin's Press. Book Three, Drawn and Buttered, is now available for preorder.


  1. We drove up from Atlanta one spring. Glorious! I don't remember the champagne bar which is a good excuse for another visit.

  2. Definitely makes it worthwhile, Margaret!

  3. I've been to Asheville many times, but this past summer was the first visit for Tara and Dash--and Dash talks regularly about both the Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn, which have become two of his favorite places in the world, it seems like. And I'll add another movie to your list: Private Eyes, with Don Knotts and Tim Conway. It's filmed extensively at the Biltmore--inside and out both--AND it's a mystery! Perfect for readers here. :-)

    1. Hi Art! All I can say is, Dash has excellent taste. What a hoot - I remember Don Knotts from his days on the Andy Griffin show - I will definitely check this out.