Biltmore Farms & Our Founder

Our founder, George W. Vanderbilt, originally created Biltmore Farms in 1897 to beautify the grounds of his famed Estate. The company has continuously expanded in ways his vision foresaw. Biltmore Forest was its first residential community, and now Biltmore Farms is also a leader in homebuilding, hospitality and commercial enterprises.

George W. Vanderbilt

Biltmore Farms was founded by George W. Vanderbilt in 1897.

Vanderbilt’s unique approach to community building, one that creates sustainability by elevating community concerns to greater prominence than typical developers and builders, distinguishes Biltmore Farms. His ethos for protecting the natural beauty of western North Carolina was clearly ahead of his time.

“There is a sense of connectedness to like-minded people here, one that crosses generations.”

—John & Laura Thorsen
Ramble Residents


Biltmore Farms’ approach to community building is centered on sustainability while protecting the natural beauty of the land. In all of the company’s undertakings, these five tenets of community well-being inform and inspire our decisions and strategies: Education, Healthcare, Economic Development, Quality of Life and the Environment, and Arts and Culture. These guiding principles serve as the foundation of all of Biltmore Farms Communities.

George W. Vanderbilt’s passion resonates in every aspect of The Ramble. You can be sure his vision will remain the guide stone for future development, ensuring that it maintains the values that make it a one-of-a-kind community.


A Rich History

In the midst of the construction of Biltmore House, in 1897, George W. Vanderbilt founded Biltmore Dairy Farms. Originally intended to support his estate and test innovative agricultural theories, the venture, with its surplus production, evolved into a large-scale commercial operation.


By the mid-1900s, Biltmore Farms had become a major supplier of milk and ice cream for five southeastern states. Pet, Inc. acquired the dairy business in the 1980s. Under the direction of Vanderbilt’s grandson, George H.V. Cecil, and great-grandson, current Biltmore Farms’ president John F.A.V. Cecil, the company transformed into one of Western North Carolina’s most prominent community development firms.


“I was in love with The Ramble after our short drive through the trees to the main gate. The beauty of The Ramble community so far surpassed anything that we had seen elsewhere that we knew that this was the place for us.”

—Donald Gavin & Jayne Schnaars
Ramble Residents


Today, the company’s more than one hundred employees build and operate residential homes and communities and commercial and hotel properties throughout the greater Asheville region.