By Jeff Goss, CEO/Creative Director
Not many people know Historic Biltmore Village was originally known as a little town in Western North Carolina called “Best.” Best was acquired by George Vanderbilt to create a community with homes, shops, a school, and even its own church for the 1,100-plus craftspeople and their families who were hired to construct the largest home in America, The Biltmore. Historic Biltmore Village, with its original structures preserved, is now a perfect blend of 83 independent shops, galleries, restaurants, and national retail brands.
Biltmore Village was designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead, who famously designed New York’s Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, the country’s first municipal park. The design was brilliantly constructed to accommodate a visitor’s first impression upon arriving at the train depot with a direct visual and walkway to either All Souls Episcopal Cathedral or the guardhouse to the Biltmore House. It is interesting that it took until 1998 to finally install a pipe organ in the Biltmore House—a restored Skinner pipe organ dating from 1916, as George Vanderbilt is said to have donated the original one to All Souls Episcopal Cathedral.