George Vanderbilt's 250-room castle is America's Largest Home and a top attraction in Asheville. Plan a visit to Biltmore Estate
, explore 8,000 acres of grounds, or book a behind-the-scenes tour.
Biltmore is as magnificent today as it was when it was built more than a century ago. George W. Vanderbilt created the estate in the 1890’s as a grand retreat in the North Carolina mountains. The estate officially opened to his friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. Mr. Vanderbilt brought in Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, to design the gardens and trails. Biltmore was the last great project for Olmsted, whose work also includes New York’s Central Park and the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The Estate is still privately owned and operated by George Vanderbilt’s descendants.
River Arts District
Asheville’s River Arts District (RAD)
is a destination that grew out of necessity. Artists needed cheap rent and large spaces. An industrial zone east of the railroad tracks had a glut of aging and empty warehouses. The area was ripe for change, and over two decades blossomed into a convergence of art, creativity, commerce, and entertainment fueled by the dynamism of its inhabitants — those same artists and visionaries.
Today the RAD has become easily navigable with maps, full-on color guide — categorized by medium and artist — and a snazzy website. Many studios are open every day, all year round. Visitors are encouraged to come explore artist studios and watch while they work, or meet the artists and discuss the creative process. Take a class, acquire an object d’art from its maker, and grab a bite and a beer.
Music in Asheville
Asheville’s music scene
is a vital piece of the city’s culture. The rhythm of the city began centuries ago with the arrival of Scotch-Irish settlers who filled the hills with the sounds of their reels, ballads and folk songs.
Today, Asheville’s music scene is all encompassing. Traditional mountain music still rings out from national artists such as David Holt, Doc Watson and Laura Boosinger who live in the area. Classical music from the Asheville Symphony Orchestra fills the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium throughout the year.
The sounds of the modern era also thrive in Asheville. Bob Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer and pioneer of electronic music, spent his final years in Asheville and set up a company here that continues his musical vision.
Alternative rockers The Smashing Pumpkins made Asheville their temporary home and well-known artists such as Gladys Knight, Warren Haynes and David Wilcox have made Asheville their newfound home and drawn inspiration from the area.