Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Experiencing the Biltmore brand

Blog entry submitted by Brandy Gonsoulin, client service manager and “project innovator.”

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina, the magnificent real estate project of George and Edith Vanderbilt and architect Richard Morris Hunt.  I’ve never seen the castles of England but would assume that this American gem can’t be too far from one.  Going into the experience, my expectations were average: I was going to see a cliché tourist attraction - a really big house with expensive furniture and art – nothing different from your average museum experience.

Thankfully, I was proven wrong.

The experience begins as you wind through the tree lined s-drive lane, knowing that soon the trees will break through, and before you will be something magnificent.  You are not disappointed as you pass through the gates and there stands a massive structure of design and beauty.  The experience continues as you go walk through the entrance and travel through the four levels.  (There is an option to purchase an audio tour for $10 – take it – the stories about the house, the people and the art behind it are necessary to enhancing your experience).

Once completed you can eat at the Stable Café, which used to contain the estate’s horses - take a tour through the gardens and then the winery.

Through the well-crafted stories and commitment of employees, I left the estate with a sense that I could relate to the history, the landscape and the people who lived there.  Because of this first positive experience, I can say that the Biltmore brand is one that is recognizable, memorable, and permanent to me.

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