Biltmore Estate Embraces Pooches Past and Present

Recently I grabbed my dog Buck to search out the truth when it came to the dog-friendliness of the Biltmore Estate. We knew dogs were welcomed on the grounds. So we assumed that we’d be walking some trails, cruising some gardens and home we’d come. AU CONTRAIRE…We were allowed all over the place and a good time was had by all.

I always park at the Arboretum and then hike up the stairs to the estate. I just love this garden area that leads to my favorite vantage point where I view our beloved blue hills. It is right above the wisteria that leads to the house. Dogs are not allowed inside the house itself much to the chagrin of my pooch. He reminded me that since the Biltmore had been the home to St. Bernards, Russian Wolfhounds and Sheepdogs he was certain the pets past wouldn’t mind. He eventually understood that we all must do our part to preserve such an heirloom. And risky it would be to allow pets within the walls of the famed home.

While frolicking on the front lawn we met up with some traveling pooches, one delightful cocker and two mini dachshunds. With a bit of a scramble and entanglement of leashes the introductions were made and the consensus from the dogs was that they were having a marvelous day. So, we trotted on. After a wonderful romp around the grounds and a stop off at the Bass pond we then jumped in the car and headed for Cedric’s, the pub in Antler Village named after Vanderbilt’s infamous pooch. We were looking forward to lunch at the Biltmore’s dog-friendly restaurant and so it came to be, of course al fresco. The staff was delightful and treated Buck with genuine Biltmore hospitality.

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We were eager to find out all we could about Cedric. It seems George Vanderbilt’s trusted Saint Bernard was the first pet at the Biltmore. No one is sure how George came to own Cedric, but they do know that he brought him to Biltmore from Pointe d’Acadie, his summer home in Bar Harbor, Maine, sometime around the opening of Biltmore House in 1895. They went on to state the obvious and that life was good for a pet of the Vanderbilt’s. Cedric not only had free reign of at least the first floor of Biltmore House, which he often spent lounging in the Library or Billiard Room or sunning himself on the Loggia, but he also frequently accompanied his master and other family members on excursions throughout their vast estate.

With our bellies full we headed to Biltmore Farm which was just a hop, skip and a jump. The staff attendant could not have been nicer encouraging us to take funny pictures of our beloved Buckaroo using an old wagon and straw hats as props. We finished off our day with a stroll (trying to work off our yummy fish and chips) around the bike path with a view of the Swannanoa River.

If you choose to take in the house on the same day as your visit of the grounds note there are a few kennels. You must ask the gate keepers upon entering and you will be directed to them. You are the master of the lock and key if you are lucky enough to obtain an empty kennel. Pets must be leashed at all times for safety and comfort for all guests. Dogs are not allowed in the main house but we were welcomed in several of the other buildings. Of course we asked permission and were on our best behavior.

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The Biltmore is a site you must see and it is truly more fun with your pooch in tow.