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Biltmore estate all it's cracked up to be?

Hi, we're visiting the Asheville area this week. We've been told to visit the Biltmore. It seems like an expensive, all day tourist trap to me. I imagine myself trapped there and being forced to eat overpriced mediocre food (which doesn't come with the already expensive tickets). Am I missing something? My impression is that in order to just go there you have to pay around $50 per person. Does anyone have ideas about how to get the most value out of the Biltmore estate?

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  1. This probably belongs on another website like Tripadvisor, at least to address your questions about the estate itself. The Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned (by the original family members) home in the U.S. It is a beautiful property, especially decorated for the holidays. The Estate wines have a good reputation and the tasting area is very well done. You could easily spend all day on the estate touring the house, gardens and winery and then having a meal. The restaurants have a very good reputation and use a lot of ingredients that they produce there on the Estate.

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        1. I know this might belong on another website, but I like and trust chowhounders more than average tourists. As for your description, I've read all those things as well on their website, and that's where I learned that the tickets were $45 per person (and up if you want to do the candlelight thing). This is also for internet bookings. I'm just concerned about the price. It's way cheaper to visit Versailles, for god's sake! Plus, you're not allowed to take photos of the interior. So, I was really just wondering if it was worth it. My main reason for coming to Asheville is that I've heard it's a very eclectic and creative community.

          As for the food, the one thing that kind of appeals to me is their kitchen garden. Can anyone say which of the restaurants is the best?

          3 Replies
          1. re: mctoft

            If you aren't that keen on going to the Biltmore and spending the money...don't. Instead, wander around downtown Asheville and visit some of the galleries, shops and restaurants, hear some live music or see a show, if it's warm enough sit ouside and people watch at Flying Frog Cafe or Old Europe...you write this is your "main reason for coming to Asheville" anyway!

            1. re: leahinsc

              The Biltmore is really very nice and worth visiting (IMHO). The winery is also good. We had one of the best lunches ever at the nicer restaurant (I think it's the Bistro). They use seasonal ingredients from their gardens and we happened to be there in heirloom tomato season. The food was incredible. Expensive and worth it!

              1. re: pilches

                I'm with Leah on this one. If you checked their website, and your heart didn't go bump-bump, don't go. Her suggestions are excellent and would most likely make your heart bump faster!

          2. Tour the house and eat in town.
            We didn't eat there but since everyone is commenting, I thought it was a little tough to swallow the $40 or so each but in the end, it was worth it.

            DT