Sunday, February 27, 2011

Asheville - Day Three

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  This morning, suitcases bulging and with eyes facing downward, we let ourselves out of The Perfect Loft and left Asheville behind.  As the door shut firmly behind us, we were saddened but hopeful that one day we would be back.  In fact, I'm already thinking about bringing Krista here in May or June, as there were so many places I didn't have time to explore.

By 9 a.m., we were parked at the Biltmore, being shuttled to the mansion itself.  Biltmore House was built in 1895 for George Vanderbilt and family.  It was a monumental undertaking, one of the biggest in American residential architectural history. Frederick Olmsted (who designed Central Park) planned the estate's gardens and grounds (a total of 125,000 acres), including a grand conservatory.  Photographs are not allowed inside the main house, as it dark enough to necessitate the use of a flash, and there are many original tapestries, carpets, wallpapers, paintings and books that would eventually suffer from being exposed to the light. 

The house was modeled after three sixteenth century French chateaux, and has 250 rooms, including 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.  Nancy and I walked throughout all of the rooms that were open to the public, and it was incredible.  Imagine a basement that contains enormous kitchen and food storage areas, plus a tiled swimming pool and a bowling area!

We emerged back into the sunlight shaking our heads with the wonder of it all.  Even though it is too early in the year for the grounds to be at their best, we still enjoyed walking around  in the perfect weather.  Since we had early morning admission tickets, it wasn't crowded yet (but became more so as the day went on). 

People were out with their dogs, enjoying the weather.  Bikes were quite popular, too.

The conservatory housed beautiful ferns, palms, and orchids, and was one of my favorite areas.

Here's a lone Christmas tree getting ready to wait out the year until next December.
Forsythia was blooming, adding splashes of yellow throughout the landscape.
All that walking around and being impressed gave us a mighty appetite, so we had lunch at one of the restaurants on the estate.  We shared a very good barbecue sampler plate and a bowl of cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Before we knew it, the day had slipped away, and it was time to head back to the Bat, back to Charlotte for meetings.  Soon all that was left of our vacation was a stack of maps in the back seat of the rental car.

As always, thanks for coming along!  I hope you enjoyed Asheville as much as we did.

1 comment:

  1. Never been to the Biltmore but have heard only good things and your pictures prove it is a magnificent place. Loved your blog. Thanks for sharing.