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Monday, June 20, 2016

The Biltmore

Today's Grand Adventure was the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina.  When I first looked into going there it was 80 dollars a ticket.  This summer, I found out that if you pre order tickets, you can get them for 50 dollars and kids get in free!  It sounded like a great day trip!

On the road to the Blue Ridge Mountains!

We got a little bit of a late start, I overslept and then we forgot a couple things at home.   We were finally on the road at 6:42 am

the house is HUGE

I splurged on getting valet parking. It was very worth it. I pulled up to the front of the house, there was no waiting for a shuttle or long walks.  It worked really well!


The house was decorated for a wedding.  There were wedding dresses and other costumes from a lot of different costume dramas.

We got the audio phones, we both learned a lot about the house with it. More than just reading the little booklet.  I am glad we got it

The grand dinning hall, with three fire places

The other end of the dining hall.  The table was set up to seat 22.  A small dinner party

a detail of the fencing around the winter garden.

The breakfast room.
Set with Bacarat Crystal.

The detail of the music room.  This room was re enforced with steel over the windows and steel doors during World War 2. The Biltmore quietly took in priceless art from the National Gallery and kept the safe for the duration. Mrs. Vanderbilt  never charged the National Gallery for the storage.

The view from the Loggia.  When the Vanderbilt's first got the property it was not a forest. Frederick  Law Olmstead suggested that the view would be beautiful if they farmed the bottom lands for the livestock and to make this view into a forest.  It is a gorgeous view.

The tapestry room.

There are three beautiful tapestries on the wall. This room is the corridor to the library

This is a  Venetian painting, call ed the Chariot of Aurora. By Giovanni Pellegrini in the 1720s. The library was built around the painting.  The docent was telling us that most of Pellegrini's art was destroyed in the wars.

George Vanderbilt loved books. The library has about half of his 23,000 books.

Loved this on one of the doors in the library

Edith Vanderbilt's bedroom

I liked the attention to every single detail. They did not have plain andirons, they had these little guys.  How wonderful!

The grand staircase and the light fixture

Still learning about all the things in the house.  One lady took time to tell me how wonderful it was that my son was listening to the audio phone and looking like he was interested  in everything and behaving very nicely.  She said her 11 year old boy would not have been this good.   Lon said he was enjoying himself.

The view from the staircase windows

The grand light fixture

Below stairs. I have no idea how i got this effect but I like it.

This room is called the Halloween room, and it took them a long time to figure out why this room was painted this way.  It turned out that this was the result of a New Year's Eve party. The guests painted these scenes and I can not remember  what play these are based on at the moment.

The party was in 1925

One of the first bowling alleys in a home.  Two lanes.  There was a little niche behind the pins for a servant to be able to reset the pins but also to be safe from flying pins.

The indoor pool.   The tiles were by the same person who designed the New York Subway tiles.   The pool no longer holds water. They tried to fill it and in 12 hours it drained out into the sub basement.  
On the way to the pool they had changing rooms one row for ladies, one row for gentlemen.  The audio phone mentioned that the ladies changing rooms did not have mirrors. Their lady's maids would have made sure they looked good.

One the way to the servant's hall was a gym,  even by today's home gym standards the gym is amazing. Showers, parallel bars, a rowing machine.  

The original copper pots. One the way to the kitchen the tour lead us through some of the servant's rooms. The kitchen maids would live near the kitchen, the boys and men who worked the estate would live out over the stables, and the ladies maids and some others would live on the fourth floor.  The Vanderbilts supplied all the furniture and bed clothes,  the servants personalized their rooms.  The Vanderbilts were said to be good employers, paying New York wages in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  There were generations of families who worked the estate.
Listening to the kitchen talk.

The Vanderbilts also supplied clocks and time pieces to the staff so they could be on time.

The electric dumbwaiter, they also had a manual dumbwaiter, they could hold up to 250 pounds going up!

They had 5 refrigerated rooms.  The ice cream made on the estate was said to be the best anywhere.  They had pantries galore.
The laundry room was gorgeous, giant mangles to iron the giant table clothes. No linens were hung out side to dry.  There was a special room that had electric heat to dry the linens on big hanging racks they could slide in and out of the warm room.  

We thought about trying to find someplace off the estate for lunch, I am glad we did not. It was a long drive back into town and we were really hungry! According to my fitbit the house tour we were on was 2533 steps. Including four flights of stairs.  We had lunch at the Stable Cafe. About half way through lunch, Lon realized it was really the old stables.
The kids menu had a good selection for Lon and it was generous portions. He also had the dark chocolate fudge cake (lava) with homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream.   His burger was a good 1/4 pound and had Tillamook cheddar on it. He was in heaven!   I had a chicken salad sandwich that was just okay.  I had a bite or two of Lon's dessert.   The honey almond layer cake did look good though, next time!

Waiting for our car.  They were fairly quick too.
They had the a/c on so we would not be in a very hot car. Nice touch.

Leaving the house area. On our way through the gardens and out  of the Estate.
The gardens. I wish we could have stopped but we will next time.  There was a car riding our bumper, even though it was posted 20 miles an hour and the road was a very narrow one way road.  I was not impressed with that driver.

It was worth going to, it was wonderful. We will be going back!
We passed a place called Antler Village, more shopping, but they also had a petting zoo with baby goats! We have to go back for that!!


Anonymous said...

I love it. I don't have pictures from inside. Did not know you can. Next time I will. Love that you have fun. My kids love to go there.We didn't go last year and they were asking why lol. They love the Biltmore vanilla ice cream, and I love the wine so win win lol.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We are headed there tomorrow with our 11 year old granddaughter. It's her birthday and we gave her the book Seraphina and the Black Cloak as a gift. The setting for the story is the Biltmore House so this visit is also part of her birthday gift. Glad to read about the valet parking. Our 87 year old mother is also going and valet parking will help out tremendously.