Samantha Brown Says This US Destination Is An Underrated Outdoor Paradise

North Carolina is known for its Crystal Coast and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The latter is home to the Biltmore in Asheville. Someone who treasures this popular tourist destination is Samantha Brown, host of PBS' Samantha Brown's Places to Love. As a matter of fact, Brown featured the Biltmore in a 2022 episode of her show. In addition, it topped her list of "12 Underrated Places to Go Outdoors," and she included the Biltmore in a guide for Asheville, both posted on her website. 

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The Biltmore house dates back to 1889 and was built for the uber-rich George Washington Vanderbilt and his family. That said, the Biltmore is a massive structure designed to resemble a French château. Visitors have been allowed into the home since 1930, and various tours are offered for those who need a guiding hand around the castle-like abode. 

However, its architectural opulence is not what impresses Brown the most. In her Asheville itinerary, the travel extraordinaire gushed about its landscape, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. With this in mind, the estate's grounds consist of 8,000 acres. Thus, nature is arguably the star of the show at the Biltmore.

The Biltmore: A plant-filled oasis

It's no wonder that world traveler Samantha Brown ranks the Biltmore so highly. There is not one or two gardens but six. They include an Italian garden, a walled garden, a rose garden, a shrub garden, a spring garden, and an azalea garden. Furthermore, visitors will encounter picturesque ponds with lily pads and gorgeous seasonal flora. A popular season to visit the Biltmore is spring. Tulips, viburnum, daffodils, and much more flourish during this time of year. The Biltmore also has a conservatory with even more greenery, including orchids, cactuses, and more.

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Visitors can roam the grounds through a self-guided tour of the gardens. Admission prices to the Biltmore vary throughout the seasons. Likewise, there are different options to choose from. If you only want to see the gardens and nothing else, you can expect to pay $60 to $85 during the spring. However, if you also wish to access the Biltmore house, tickets are $90 to $120. If you're wondering, the most affordable time of year to visit the Biltmore is during the winter. You can purchase the tickets of your choice online.

Need lodging during your visit to the Biltmore? Brown recommended the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate on her website. As she wrote (via Samanta-Brown), "Trust me when I say, a night or two here will have you feeling like a member of high society during the Gilded Age." Prices start at $280 a night. You can make a reservation online

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Enjoy an outdoor activity at the Biltmore

When the great outdoors calls, head to the Biltmore, as endorsed by Samantha Brown. On her website, Brown noted that George Washington Vanderbilt had a grand vision for the Biltmore. She wrote (via Samanta-Brown), "What makes these lands unique is that while Vanderbilt wanted them to evoke a sort of mountainous oasis, he also wanted The Biltmore to be a working estate." As a result, there is a farm and a winery that are open to the public at Biltmore's Antler Hill Village. However, one of the estate's standout features is its offering of outdoor activities. There is truly something for everyone.

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There are guided hikes, bike tours, bird watching, carriage rides, and more. You can view all the Biltmore's outdoor activities online. These activities are scheduled at different times throughout the week and vary in cost. For example, a river stroll hike costs $20, and an hour-long carriage ride is $85. Note that you have to contact the Biltmore by phone to book an activity. You must also have an admission ticket to the Biltmore.

Fear not if you don't want to spend additional money on activities. Visitors can traverse the hiking and biking trails without an additional fee or guide. A trail map is available online. The Biltmore is open daily year-round.

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