A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Biltmore Estate — Asheville As the largest private residence in the country, Asheville’s Biltmore Estate has been stunning visitors with its grandeur since it was completed in 1895. Enjoy a

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Biltmore Estate — Asheville As the largest private residence in the country, Asheville’s Biltmore Estate has been stunning visitors with its grandeur since it was completed in 1895. Enjoy a

7 Historic Homes and Estates to Explore in North Carolina

Biltmore EstateAsheville

As the largest private residence in the country, Asheville’s Biltmore Estate has been stunning visitors with its grandeur since it was completed in 1895. Enjoy a lengthy self-guided tour of the French Renaissance-style château in the morning (be sure pop out to the balcony for mountain views and a photo op!) then explore the grounds, gardens, and surrounding village for a full day of fun.

Get tickets to take a guided tour through the Cupola House, or explore the gardens at your own pace. photograph by Chris Rogers

Cupola HouseEdenton

At first glance, visitors who step through the picket fence of this Chowan County home might not know the lengths that went into restoring the historic house to its former glory. In an effort to match the structure’s original exterior from 1758, a conservator was hired to study as many as 21 layers of paint that adorned the house over hundreds of years to find accurate matches for the building’s first shades. Visitors can admire the home’s thoughtfully restored exterior, wander the sunny halls, and enjoy a stroll through the herb and flower-filled Colonial-Revival gardens that surround the home.

During the holiday season, Körner’s Folly is cast in a warm glow come sunset, ready to greet visitors for the Christmas by Candlelight tour.

Körner’s FollyKernersville

The quirks of this Forsyth County Victorian-style home are never ending: six chimneys emerge from a pointed roof, drawing the curious eyes of passersby, and narrow, maze-like hallways are dispersed across seven levels and connect the house’s 22 rooms. With a myriad of other eccentricities, many visitors think that the home could be haunted — but we suggest taking a tour for yourself before you form an opinion. In addition to self-guided tours that are offered year round, keep any eye out for seasonal opportunities at Körner’s Folly, like their Christmas by Candlelight and Valentine’s Day tours.

After touring the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, take a stroll around the sweeping grounds or head over to the boutiques and shops housed in the restored working village.  photograph by Stacey Haines

Reynolda House Museum of American ArtWinston-Salem

The former estate of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds and his wife, Katharine, this 1917 home is adorned with green details to match the vibrant greenhouse and gardens that are located just below the home. The house, now an art museum with seasonal exhibits, tells the story of the Reynolds family’s influence in the Winston-Salem area, which is on full display in the working village that remains on the estate’s grounds to this day. A must-see spot on the tour is the conservatory-style pool house that is attached to the home. When guests step through the doors, they see aquamarine walls that are lined with geometric shadows cast from the ceiling’s distinctive ironwork which creates a mesmerizing oasis, no matter the season.

A walkway leading to the houses at Somerset Place.

Along the brick walkway separating Somerset’s Owner’s Compound (left) from the enslaved area (right), a century-old American elm tree grows through the white picket fence, defying boundaries set by man. photograph by Chris Rogers

Somerset PlaceCreswell

Visitors who walk the grounds of Somerset Place will be greeted with the view of a century-old American elm tree that grows between the white picket fence that once divided the Owner’s Compound from the enslaved area. Today, Somerset’s proprietors weave in stories of the many enslaved families who once lived on the property, guiding visitors through reconstructed versions of the dwellings in which they worked and survived. Tour groups are also led through the Big House, where visitors can peek inside rooms like the parlor, where Mary Collins — Somerset’s first mistress — hosted music recitals and reading circles.

Even at night, you can explore the grounds of Historic Corolla Park where you will see the mansion and nearby Corolla Light shining brightly in the quiet village. photograph by Emily Chaplin

The Whalehead ClubCorolla

A distinctive landmark of our coast in all its butter-yellow glory, this opulent, Art Nouveau-style mansion was constructed by businessman Edward Collings Knight Jr. in 1922 and is full of romantic details that pay homage to grandeur of the Jazz Age, and the surrounding area: Custom door handles shaped like duck bills turn to reveal rooms full of blue and purple shades that complement the coastal landscape right outside. It’s rumored that several ghosts roam the halls of Whalehead — and guests can find out more about these alleged sightings by taking a Legends, Lore, and Ghosts guided tour during the summer months.

The back of Weymouth Center opens out to acres of gardens, which continue to serve as a site for Sunday jazz events and poetry readings. photograph by Anna Routh Barzin

Weymouth Center for Arts & HumanitiesSouthern Pines

The inspiration of author James Boyd can still be felt at his tranquil estate in Moore County. Surrounded by the tall pines of the adjacent Weymouth Woods, Boyd’s home was designed with openness in mind: Tall glass doors swing open into a sweeping yard and portico, hearkening back to the family’s days of hosting parties and gatherings. When visitors explore the house, they are also reminded of Boyd’s creative legacy when they reach the NC Literary Hall of Fame, which is housed in the writer’s former study. The room is lined with pictures of notable North Carolina authors who have made an impact on our state’s literary history — from Maya Angelou to O. Henry.

This story was published on Mar 11, 2024

Anna Grace Thrailkill

Anna Grace Thrailkill is Our State’s Newsletter and Social Media Producer.