Most estates are only explored when they decide to sell off their priceless oil paintings or become haunted by a jealous neighbor in a rubber ghost costume. Tour an estate in tip-top shape with today’s Groupon: for $75, you get a one-year admission pass to Biltmore in Asheville (up to a $129 value).
Biltmore estate, an American landmark and the single largest private residence in the nation, squeezes 250 rooms into a four-story, 175,000 square-foot stone mansion modeled on 16th-century French chateaux, sprawled out across 8,000 acres of dizzyingly scenic Carolina countryside. Erected in 1895 as a supersize shoe closet for George Vanderbilt's superfluous foot, the Biltmore house dominates the estate, which comprises gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame, a commercial village with restaurants and shops, an interactive farm, a tourable winery, and endless historical insights into the Victorian Era. Holders of the 12-month pass receive a staggering array of benefits, including unlimited daytime access to the grounds and Antler Hill Village; discounts on guest tickets, shopping, and dining; special member ticket offers; and admission to special events.
Each season at Biltmore estate trumpets new and enticing events; arrive this summer to take in the iconic Tiffany lamps exhibit, or stop by next spring for Festival of Flowers, which thrills guests’ retinas with the chromatic assault of 100,000 blooming tulips. Continuing the celebration from when George Vanderbilt first introduced his friends to the estate in 1895, each year Biltmore decorates for Christmas with thousands of ornaments, dozens of Christmas trees, and hundreds of wreaths. Peruse the estates’ mock itineraries for recommendations on how best to maximize time, energy, and chewing-gum reserves.