Asheville, North Carolina's Biltmore Estate has a surprising number of things in common with the Victorian-era setting of the hit PBS series Downton Abbey. The upstairs-downstairs drama that consumes the residents of Downton Abbey's Yorkshire mansion was also common between Biltmore's Vanderbilt family and guests and their servants. A staff of nearly thirty was required to keep Biltmore House, the largest privately owned home in the United States, running smoothly.
During the early 1900s at Biltmore House, the servants' quarters, which are currently a feature of the Biltmore House tour, would have been constantly bustling with activity as the staff prepared lavish meals to be served in the home's grandiose formal dining hall. When the Vanderbilts were in Asheville, typically during the fall and winter, they regularly had up to thirty houseguests visiting at any one time.
Beyond the easy comparisons between Biltmore Estate and Downton Abbey, such as wealthy families and the expansive residences, the parallels go deeper. The Titanic disaster, prominently featured in the TV series, was nearly the demise of the Vanderbilts, who cancelled their Titanic reservations at the last minute in favor of a later voyage. One Biltmore servant, who it is believed was accompanying luggage that didn't make the transition, lost his life on the sunken ship. A current exhibit at The Biltmore Estate, "The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad," features a section on the Titanic.
Another featured section of "The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad" showcases the opulent 1924 wedding between 23-year-old Cornelia Vanderbilt and British aristocrat John Cecil. The ceremony took place at Biltmore Village's All Souls Cathedral, just outside the gates of the family estate. A similar flapper-style wedding kicks off the third season of Downton Abbey with the marriage of characters Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley. The festivities surrounding both popular events would have been strikingly similar.
Discover the magic of Biltmore Estate for yourself with a vacation in Asheville, NC. Carolina Mornings makes it easy to plan your getaway by providing a complimentary Biltmore Estate pass for each day of your stay, plus offering discount two-day Biltmore Estate admission tickets for any additional ticket needs! You'll want to spend at least one day discovering the wonders and secrets of the expansive house, and a second day to enjoy the 8,000-acre meticulously landscaped grounds. There's plenty to do at Biltmore Estate, such as shopping in Antler Hill Village, touring the Winery, and watching informative demonstrations in the stable and barnyard areas.
Biltmore Estate also offers several behind-the-scenes guided tours that give visitors a better understanding of the daily operations of the 178,926 square-foot home, including the 90-minute Guided Biltmore House Tour, the Biltmore House Architect's Tour, and the Guided Tour of the Estate Grounds. A special treat for fans of Downton Abbey is the Biltmore House Butler's Tour, where you'll learn about the work of the domestic servants by visiting unrestored rooms and mechanical areas not open to the public on the regular house tour.
Call Carolina Mornings today to speak with a Vacation Planner about the dozens of Asheville cabins available for rent within a short distance of the Biltmore Estate. Our mountain cabin rentals are the perfect answer to a family vacation - or a romantic escape! Enjoy your own private hot tub, fully equipped kitchen, and outdoor entertainment areas (shown here: Whispering Wind and the cabin's modern kitchen). Pet-friendly options available. PLUS: all Carolina Mornings rentals come with our complimentary Mountain Discovery Pass!
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