All Palace, No President

When America gained its independence from Great Britain, the founding fathers decided there would be no monarchy in the fledgling country.  There would be a chief sharing the executive brand of government with the judiciary and the legislature.  This person would lead the nation, not as a tyrannical ruler, or a king, but as a president who would be elected by the people.  Still America has had its share of royalty.  The Kennedy’s Camelot come to the minds of most as an example, but long before they captured the hearts of America, there was a time when barons and captains of industry ruled.  Their fortunes rivaled the monarchies of old.  They built grand monuments to herald their achievements, and many, Like George Washington Vanderbilt, built palatial homes and gardens.

If huge mansions belong to royalty, Biltmore is fit for a king.  It is quite stunning, and at 255 rooms, the largest private residence in the United States.  It sits on acres of land that roll off into the distance and is quite impressive to behold.  It has hosted giggling teens and newly elected presidents.  It employed hundreds in the five-year period it took to plan, design and build it and stands today as a solid tribute to the ingenuity of the men who amassed vast fortunes while making America great.

To understand the grandeur of the estate built by George Washington Vanderbilt in 1985, you have to visit Asheville, North Carolina and see it for yourself.  And the best way to do that is with a little Groupon.  There is something for the whole family at Biltmore.  A weekend-getaway there is the perfect place to unwind as you stroll through the lush grounds and well-tended gardens.  From the time you turn onto the two-mile long Approach Road to your exit at the end of the stay, you’ll marvel at the trove of treasure housed in the collection and imagine old George reading from his favorite books and novels or plotting and planning with the leaders of his day.  Each room contains the actual possessions of the family and speak to their travels, love of art and popularity.  And there’s much more to do than traipse through the rooms.  Groupon offers deals for 10% off tours and entertainment in nearby Asheville, 20% off white wine at the Biltmore winery, and you can save more on other special events like concerts in the Amphitheatre on the grounds of the estate.  If you are looking for a novel way to celebrate the 4th of July this year, look no further than Biltmore.




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