biltmore houseGeorge Vanderbilt's first experience with the mountains of western North Carolina came in 1888 when he visited Asheville with his mother. Just a few years earlier in 1880, passenger train service had finally arrived to Asheville, which made the trip from New York just a day's journey. Asheville soon became a popular retreat for New Yorkers looking to escape the urban life and enjoy the fresh mountain air and natural springs.

George Vanderbilt was immediately amazed by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The same year of his visit, he immediately began purchasing land for his eventual estate. Over time, that land would grow to be 125,000 acres. His idea of the perfect country estate had primarily English roots - the estate would reflect prosperity, wealth, the significance of land ownership, and the importance of family and friends.

Most of the other Vanderbilt family members dreamed of homes close to the city of New York. George's vision of his country estate was partly influenced by his sister, Lia, who was building a farm in the Adirondack Mountains of Vermont. She and her husband Dr. Seward Webb had built Shelburne Farms with land conservation tactics widely employed. George Vanderbilt was obviously influenced by this as he began work on Biltmore Estate.

For George, the estate was an expression of his individuality, most noted by his choice to build outside of the family roots in the Northeast United States. He had grown up travelling throughout Europe, and was most impressed by the large country estates of the nobility. He desired such a place to call his own, and wanted it to be large enough to entertain all of his family and friends, as well as house his growing collection of art, books, and decorative objects that he had begun accumulating at an early age. Work would soon begin on a self-sufficient, working estate that would also serve as his country home.

Richard Morris Hunt was brought to the project as the lead architect and Frederick Law Olmsted was hired as the landscape designer. They worked closely with George Vanderbilt during the duration of the project, and the three worked great together and held a great level of respect for their counterparts.

Hunt was one of the most noted architects of the 19th century. After receiving his primary education from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, he went on to design hundreds of private residences and public buildings, the whole time actively trying to promote architecture as a skilled profession. Among the many works Hunt was responsible for include the base of the Statue of Liberty, the Yorktown Monument in Virginia, and the Tribun Building in New York. Hunt also worked on other Vanderbilts residences in Newport, Rhode Island.

Olmsted's portfolio was just as impressive. His firm had worked on parks and university campuses throughout the United States, including the parks in Chicago and Montreal, as well as the university grounds at Cornell and Stanford. However, he will utimately be remembered for his beautifule designs of Central park in New York, and the lasting beauty of Biltmore Estate. Like Hunt, he had previously worked with the Vanderbilt family on other residences in the Northeast.

Biltmore Estate derived its name from "Bildt", the region in Holland from which the Vanderbilt family originated, and "more", the Old English word for rolling upland country. The overall design goal of Biltmore Estate was to incorporate all the entertainment aspects of the country estates in England, while adding in land conservation and aiding the local community. The 125,000 acres were to include formal gardens, agriculture, and a village, all centered around a 255 room mansion.

<-- The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore House is located about 60 miles from Cherokee Cabin. It is one of the most visited historical sites in America, and we definitely recommend a trip to Asheville during your stay at our cabin rental.