No trip to Asheville is complete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room home is a monument to America’s Gilded Age. When it was completed in 1896, the French chateau-styled mansion was a summer escape for Vanderbilt family and friends.

Today, even those of us of humbler birth can enjoy the collection of fine art and antiques, and stroll through gardens designed by America’s father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. Other attractions on the estate include a winery with complimentary wine-tasting, farm, conservatory, shops, trails, carriage rides and restaurants serving dishes prepared from food grown on the estate. Biltmore Estate is open every day, and offers candlelight Christmas tours in November and December by reservation only.