America’s Castles – Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. is the largest home in America. (Image: timeless_toys/Flickr)

Biltmore is considered America’s largest home, boasting 250 rooms and 125,000 acres. Modeled after a 16th-century French chateau, the home is made of more than 11 million bricks.

Owner George Vanderbilt hired Fredrick Law Olmstead, the creator of New York’s Central Park, to design the grounds. The land was had been cleared for farming and timber before Vanderbilt purchased it, but Olmstead worked with foremen to remove damaged trees, allowing the strong ones to flourish. He also planted 300 white pines, and talked Vanderbilt into hiring a trained forester to manage the land. The forest at Biltmore became America’s first managed forest.

Sustainability efforts continue today. Vanderbilt’s descendants recently installed solar panels that supply more than 25 percent of the energy that powers the estate. Biltmore also sets an example for farm-to-table eating, harvesting eggs, fruits and veggies, and beef and lamb from its own farming operation.

courtesy of:  http://www.weather.com/

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