May is the Ideal Time of Year to Visit Asheville, North Carolina
It certainly was a privilege to be born a Vanderbilt in the latter part of the 19th century. While Cornelius Vanderbilt II erected his mega-mansion, the Italian-style villa The Breakers, in Newport, brother William and his wife Alva were designing the nearby Marble House. Then there was the youngest of Cornelius’s siblings, George Washington Vanderbilt II, who decided to shun the Atlantic coast and build his estate in the therapeutic mountain air of North Carolina. Built in the French chateau style by renowned Manhattan architect, Robert Morris Hunt, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is still one of the largest private homes in America, close to 180,000 square feet. Each spring, Biltmore celebrates the legacy of American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the mastermind behind the Biltmore gardens. Olmsted’s influence is obvious throughout year, but especially in spring when a progression of blooms spreads like a flowery blanket across the estate. The gardens come to life with the tulip bloom followed by multi-colored azaleas, rhododendrons, and roses in the resplendent rose garden.