The Library at The Inn on Biltmore Estate
1 Antler Hill Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite vacation destinations is The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. With the beautiful house, thousands of acres of gardens and woods to explore, winery and working farm community, I like to call it my "big kid's Disney World". I first visited during the Christmas season of my seventh grade year, and was hooked from the start. Biltmore has been the site of quite a few fun filled girls weekends, but my favorite trip was during the Festival of Flowers, when my husband proposed while we were on a horseback ride overlooking the deer park and back side of the house.
I have taken tea in the Library at the Inn on Biltmore Estate twice, and on both occasions, I was accompanied by my husband, who will attest that he enjoyed himself as much as I did. The Library is a circularly shaped room situated off of the main lobby. Half of the room is open to the lobby, while the other half is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the gorgeous landscape. On a clear day you can see the top of the house in the distance. All of the window seats are tables for two, and while there are no bad seats in this tea room, they are without a doubt, the best places to sit.
Upon entering the Library, you are greeted with the beautiful sounds of a live pianist, and by your hostess who shows you to your table. Your server arrives next with the menus, from which you can order the standard afternoon tea, like I did, or a royal tea, if you plan on doing a little more exploring before driving to your next destination. He or she also presents you with a "sniffing box", for lack of a better term. This box contains small jars filled with each of their Mighty Leaf Tea options, so you can base your tea choice off of scent as well as description. Now, reservations are required, as is the case with so many tea rooms, so be sure to call ahead.
The food is served on the classic Biltmore china, and varies depending on the season. The chefs at Biltmore use ingredients produced on the estate or in the local area for many of their creations. This is also the place to come if you're looking for some more unusual offerings, like quail egg. Honey, lemon, and sugar are at your disposal for your tea, and lemon curd, devonshire cream, and raspberry jam are staple condiments.
Both of my experiences taking tea at Biltmore have been without complaint. The food, tea, service, and atmosphere are superb. They serve tea from 2:30 - 4:30, which is good, otherwise I would be tempted to remain, sipping tea and gazing out of the window until the sun sets. As it stands, this is my favorite tea room to date, and the next time I make a visit to the Biltmore Estate, an afternoon of tea in the Library is at the top of my list.
I give this tea room: