January through March is typically a quieter time of year for visiting America’s largest home at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, allowing time to discover extra touches. Special deals combined with warm indoor attractions make a winter visit at Biltmore the best value of the year.
Travelers can take advantage of the lowest admission prices of the year January 13 through March 19, 2014. Estate admission begins at $39 when tickets are purchased online seven or more days in advance. Regular tickets are $49, and kids aged nine and younger are free. Available at no additional charge during this time are two new Biltmore House audio tours. For the first time, they have a children’s audio tour in addition to the standard audio tour, created to give kids an imaginative connection to life in the Vanderbilt household. The children’s tour is told from the point of view of Cedric, the Vanderbilt’s beloved Saint Bernard. Both tours follow the same route through Biltmore House for families to enjoy together.
Garden Walks and Orchid Talks
More indoor enchantment awaits in the Conservatory in the Biltmore gardens. Possibly one of the warmest spots in North Carolina’s mountains in winter, the Conservatory is filled with thousands of tropical plants, including an expansive orchid display at its showiest peak in March. Orchids and Biltmore have a long history; in fact, some 800 orchids were on Vanderbilt’s list to be purchased for the Conservatory in 1894. A new educational tour is offered in the Conservatory Mondays through Fridays, January 20 through March 19 at 11 a.m. Expert gardeners discuss the many types of orchids in bloom and topics such as Biltmore’s heritage orchids, the history of orchid cultivation, and details about the Conservatory. Growing tips and general care information will also be offered. Capacity is limited and orchid talks are free with the price of estate admission.
The South’s “Downton Abbey”
As the fourth season of “Downton Abbey” airs on PBS this winter, fans of the show have taken note of similarities between Biltmore and the period drama hit. Thematic story lines and the era of the show overlap with the time when George and Edith Vanderbilt lived in the 250-room Biltmore House and raised their daughter Cornelia. Parallels between Biltmore and Downton Abbey can be brought to life in two specialty tours at Biltmore. During the Butler’s Tour, visitors discover how Biltmore House functioned, past and present, and learn about the work of the Vanderbilt’s domestic servants. As for the opulence upstairs, it’s easy to imagine what it would have been like to stay at Biltmore (circa 1895 to the early 1930s) with the Vanderbilts as your hosts during the Vanderbilt Family & Friends Tour. Tours are offered daily and advance registration is required. Each tour is $17 per person in addition to estate admission. Finishing an afternoon with English tea at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, complete with traditional English finger sandwiches, scones, fruit breads, and tea pastries, will round out a day in the spirit of “Downton Abbey.”
Warm-up at the Winery
A stop at Biltmore Winery is a delightful way to spend a chilly winter afternoon with free guided tours of the production facility and complimentary tastings. Specialty wine tours offered at an additional price include the Red Wine and Chocolate Seminar and the Biltmore Bubbles Tour. Antler Hill Village is just steps away from the Winery and features “The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad,” an exhibition highlighting archival letters, personal items and exotic treasures collected around the world.
Special rates at the Inn on Biltmore Estate
The four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate has special winter pricing with savings up to half off. Rooms start at $149 per night.
Read more about Winter at Biltmore: http://www.romanticasheville.com/Biltmore_winter.htm