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POOCH PATHS: Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Biltmore_Overview The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is one of the country's national treasures. It's also a naturally beautiful and protected walking, hiking, and biking paradise for dogs and their owners. George Vanderbilt, who built the magnificent structure, was a dog lover, and the estate carries on his tradition by welcoming leashed dogs onto the property (but not in the house). There are numerous trails of varying difficulty that lend themselves to hours and hours of walking, hiking, and biking.

The downside is that one must pay the full $65 daily admission price to use the facilities. However, a smart alternative for anyone who is within reasonable driving distance is to purchase a Twelve-Month Pass. The passholder is able to gain unlimited entry to the estate at any time of year for $105 annually. If you purchase the pass by May 16, you can get it for $85, a savings of $20. Passholders are also entitled to other benefits, such as priority dining reservations and discounts at estate stores. A few visits with your dog will make the pass worth the price, so it's something you should consider.

For basic walking or biking with your dog, the best place on the Biltmore Estate is probably the area surrounding and adjacent to Antler Hill Village and the winery. Park near the winery and pick up the paved trail that leads to the duck pond. It is a beautiful flat trail that meanders along the French Broad River and winds up at a duck pond where your doggie will love watching the ever-present geese. An added bonus is that you can return to the just-opened Antler Hill Village, where you'll find Cedric's Tavern, named after one of George Vanderbilt's beloved dogs, and a Creamery, which serves outstanding ice cream. Both eateries have outdoor seating and dogs are permitted to sit beside you while you enjoy lunch, dinner, or a treat.CedricsTavern

Another great area for a walk is behind the house itself. Drive past the house and park in the lot for "A Gardener's Place," the plant and gift shop located near the greenhouse. Then cross the road to the Azalea Gardens. You'll find a wonderful paved path that winds through these gardens (the azaleas are spectacular in season) and eventually leads to a pond and waterfall. It's a memorable walk.

There are many more trails on the property, including some for serious hiking. Just ask for a trail map and follow whichever ones appeal to you. You could easily spend a day adventuring with your dog. Right now is a great time to visit because it's Biltmore's annual Festival of Flowers.

For directions and more information about Biltmore, visit the POOCH PATHS page.

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