Also known as the research triangle, the three adjoining cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are home collectively to three major universities, some pleasant parks, a handful of good museums and big name research centers.
With a sprawling fairy-tale castle at its heart, Biltmore Estate was once the luxurious country retreat of the Vanderbilts, now open along with the estate's winery, gardens, farm and equestrian center to the visiting public. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the 250-room mansion, wander through the carefully cultivated rose and Italian gardens, sample the winery's award-winning wines and step back in time to the 1890's exploring River Bend Farm. Visitors are invited to bring their own horses and trot along the miles of trails lacing the grounds, but even those without a saddle or steed can get some time at the reins on an organized daily horseback ride on estate horses. Other outdoor activities on offer include guided walks, carriage rides, segway tours, fly-fishing school, wildlife tours and Land Rover driving school.
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