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Best Attractions & Activities: Western North Carolina's beloved "castle on the hill" resides on an 8000-acre estate, complete with manicured gardens, woodlands, and an award-winning winery (the nation's most visited). Built in the late 19th-century by George Washington Vanderbilt II, the chateau-inspired home is an opulent example of the wealth acquired during America's Gilded Age. The magnificent 250-room mansion ranks as the largest private residence in the country and offers self-guided tours that can easily last for hours. Set aside at least a day, maybe even two, to really peel back Biltmore's layers, which can be enhanced by carriage rides, fly fishing expeditions, horseback riding and Segway tours.

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Local Expert Kristen Manieri Says:

Best Attractions & Activities: "Biltmore offers a wonderful scenic drive from the château to other areas guests are permitted to explore. However, consider bringing/renting bikes to traverse the lush landscape. This slower pace will give you time to appreciate the vistas punctuated by wildflowers, rolling hills and, of course, the mountains in the distance."

Recommended as Best Attractions & Activities Because: Great restaurants, a winery with free tours and tastings plus access to the astonishing 250-room French-Renaissance château make for an unforgettable day or two.

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