A NOTE TO OUR READERS:
This article is from the October 2005 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.
Each day, thousands trace the velvet rope-lined passages weaving through one of America's grandest homes. Few, however, know that the total Biltmore experience begins outside. Through hikes, carriage rides, float trips, and rooftop views, discover what really brought George Vanderbilt to this land almost 120 years ago.
When driving across the estate, you'll notice paved trails lining the roadways. Walkers sometimes stroll here, but you'll mostly see folks on bicycles leisurely riding beside the fields of cornstalks showing their post-harvest browns. These are just segments of the paved, graveled, and primitive paths for walking, hiking, and biking that navigate Biltmore's thousands of acres. Make your first stop the Outdoor Center, near the Winery, for trail maps and information. Also, while you're in the area, visit the Winery Welcome Center, and make a reservation for the Red Wine and Chocolate Seminar. This event, held at 4 and 5 p.m. daily, gives you a taste of the sweet life.
Left: Bike trails lead guests to some of the more remote areas of Biltmore Estate.