NOVEMBER 7, 2013 (Thursday)
Woke up around 8:30 AM to grey skies and cold. We had breakfast and were on the road by around 9:30 AM.
Edie loves saying, “Transylvania County”.
Toxaway Falls from the top. We really envied the house on the opposite hill for the full falls view they must surely have.
The cascading water is catching on some kind of outcropping. I can’t help but wonder how many hundreds of years it will take the endless supply of water to wear it smooth.
The first stop was a Walmart to get a prescription filled for Michael. We had to wait a few minutes so we did a little shopping. After Walmart it was all about the Biltmore Estate. We drove in to the gate house and there was no problem with the tickets (thank goodness). The driveway from the gatehouse to the estate is about 2 and a half miles long. The parking lot is about a five minute pleasant walk to the house. Once at the house, we were told there were no bathrooms in the house for guest use, and that no food or drinks were inside. We were directed to the food court area for food and bathroom facilities.
There is a great bamboo stand.
Much of the 2+ mile driveway is lined with these large rocks, I really like them.
Walking up to the estate, more nice rocks.
We opted to eat at The Stable Cafe. What a fun place. It was the actual stable and carriage area used by the Vanderbilt family, turned into a lovely restaurant. As we walked in the food smelled wonderful. The horse “stalls” are now private type eating rooms. How fun it was. And the food was delicious. They raise their own beef, grass fed. Lexi and I ordered their hamburger and Michael had a little bit of everything sampler plate. We were all stuffed and raving about the food.
The entry is so long and the anticipation builds and when you finally see it, wow, you really feel like you have arrived somewhere. I can only imagine how special it must have been back in the day.
By comparison, a somewhat modest fountain in the front yard.
Pretty woman making her way to the Biltmore.
The stalls are eating areas, doors and floors preserved. Just a lot of fun.
Lex’s cheeseburger. She said it was one of the best she has ever had!
Edie’s cheeseburger. She could only eat half, got a doggie bag and it didn’t live long after the tour and wine tasting was over.
My sampler. Ribs, roasted chicken, pulled pork below that, turnip greens, a strange and delicious creamed corn, vinegar and barbecue sauce.
Pretty woman and her girl, both full and headed for a tour.
Nice lion, pretty woman, mischievous girl, (note two fingers above her mother’s head).
Great brass lion’s head. Just before you get to the sign that says, “NO PHOTOGRAPHS, CELL PHONES, VIDEO”
We got into the estate and Michael got the audioset and used the headphones he brought. We figured instead of each of us paying $10.00, he could just tell us the highlights since Lexi and I both like to look fast at things. He enjoys lingering and thinking about things. What a lovely place. They are decorated for Christmas and it’s amazing. Can’t believe people could live so large. At one point they had 35 servants, and 11 when they traveled. Also, the family still lives on the grounds and work there.
The billiard room. George Vanderbilt was 32 years old, a bachelor when he moved into the estate. A life I can’t even imagine. He chose the colors, styles, furnishings, everything. He loved reading and the arts and is credited in North Carolina as the father of forestry, sustained harvesting and restoring the land.
The back deck that the family would sit on in warm weather. It commanded a great view of the back several thousand acres.
Great art and statuary everywhere. Saw a couple of Renoir’ George bought before Renoir was so famous.
Fun roof line. Can’t imagine the upkeep required. We think it must produce a nice daily income though. 1,000,000 annual visitors, times 60 dollars, minus wages, taxes, maintenance, electric, garbage, plus winery income, restaurant income, plus gift shops, minus insurance. I think it is a good positive number.
Photos are not allowed. I noticed a person taking photos with their Iphone. I gave them my email address and asked them to email them to me. Lex did.
Main kitchen, produced a mix of great french foods and country cooking. (A nice Biltmore gingerbread house for Christmas.)
At the entrance, the indoor garden filled with tropical plants and a bronze statue called, “boy stealing goose.”
Great detail on all the art.
It was fun seeing the bowling alley, the library, the bedrooms, the exercise room, and just the general opulence. I especially enjoyed looking at the ceilings in each of the rooms because they were so different. We climbed up and down stairs (3 stories) and were very tired by the time we were done. But not tired enough not to go to the winery.
Formal dining room. 70 foot ceiling, 3 hearth fireplace, accommodates 50 guests. Huge on the grandest scales.
Priceless Ming dynasty, about 500 years old, there were two of them. They originally held gold fish for the emperor.
Two lane bowling alley in the basement.
Pretty woman and her daughter waiting for the shuttle back to the parking lot.
Grand gates at the exit.
Grand gates at the entrance.
I was walking back to the car, didn’t take the shuttle, saw this tree and thought, “leaves getting ready to fall for fall.”
Brass turtles hidden in the wall.
Bass lake on the estate.
Bridge over Bass Lake.
Grumpy old man looking for a pretty woman.
It’s a few miles to the winery. You travel slowly down the road, through the gardens and along the river. Beautiful. The winery was a free tasting and was included with our ticket. Their wine was very good and we ended up buying a bottle of Riesling that we all enjoyed. The wine shop also had the best Christmas tree ever. Tried to talk Michael into it, but no room.
Edie and Lex were excited.
$350. A snowing Christmas tree. Little styrofoam balls are pumped out the top and look like snow falling. Edie fell in love with this, thank goodness we are in a crowded Prius.
Edie’s penchant. Tough November flowers.
Done with the wine tasting, just a little high.
The sun nicely lite up these grasses. Seemed a distant type of pampas grass.
Once leaving the Biltmore, we went to Chammie’s car wash and had them clean the Prius inside and out. We always botch the inside cleaning of the windows. We got home around 6:00 PM. That was our day. Hope yours was great!