Friday, November 13, 2009

The Biltmore

I don't really have a list of places I'd like to (or must) go to in my lifetime, but there are a few locations that float around in my brain. However, last year, while reading about the Vanderbilts and seeing pictures of The Biltmore, I did get it into my head that someday I wanted to go tour the Biltmore. I figured it would be about 20 years down the line when the chance arose.

But there we were, sitting in the Charlotte, NC airport, waiting for the rest of the conference attendees to arrive when one of our hosts mentioned quietly that there was the possibility of going to the Biltmore on Saturday. I could not believe my ears! How was it that we ended up in a place 30 minutes from the Biltmore with a conference program that included time for a "field trip" and conference planners who were going to treat us to this tour. I really felt that God had arranged it all just for me.

The Biltmore is billed as America's "Largest Home". It was built by one of the Vanderbilt sons in the last decade of the 19th century. He lived here with his beloved wife until his early death some 15 years after their marriage.

The house itself is amazing. Michael and I love touring historic buildings and we got the audio tours to make sure we didn't miss a thing.
I believe the house includes 43 bathrooms -- all very modern when the house was built. The rooms are sumptiously decorated and the dining room was incredible with its 7-story ceiling and magnificent fireplace that took up the whole width of one wall. I definately felt I could be back in Europe for a few hours.
The view from the back of the house looked out over rolling hills to the mountains beyond (which weren't visible due to the cloud cover).
The house also boasted a large, indoor swimming pool which was heated and lighted, along with an indoor bowling alley and gymnasium.

The house was decorated for Christmas with a Christmas tree and myriads of ornaments on it in each room.

There are many, many acres of grounds surrounding the house but time allowed us only a quick walk closeby.
The green house and walled garden were near enough to have a quick peak.

It's so fun to imagine all the people who visited and the parties that must have been held on this property. Wouldn't it be fun to jump back in time just for a day!

These turkeys in front of the greenhouse were hilarious!

And here is our one picture of the inside of the house, thanks to the Biltmore photographers who made every tourist have their picture.

So, now I can say I've been to the Biltmore. It definately was a special highlight of the weekend. And now I want to read some more books from that era and imagine myself as a house guest.....


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

We went there on our honeymoon.

For a girl who had just turned twenty and grew up in a town of 800 people... it was amazing.

Gabrielle Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine said...

How fun that you got to go! My grandparents used to live outside of Asheville in Montreat and had annual passes to Biltmore, so they would take me at least once a summer when I was growing up. I ADORED it and used to pretend I lived there. Also I was allowed to buy a book of paperdolls at the gift shop every year and then I would pretend the paperdolls lived there too. :)

rohanknitter said...

How neat!! I've always wanted to go there - especially at Christmas.

Darcy said...

It's neat to read this post because I toured the Biltmore over 10 years ago. My husband was at Billy Grahams The Cove for work and I tagged along with him. We rented a car and during the day when he worked, I went out exploring. I went to the Biltmore one day!

It was amazing! And fun. And something I'm glad I did!

Laura said...

Love the pics of the Biltmore... especially the one of you and M...:)...
love ya

Wendee said...

Ken and I went one year. It really is an amazing place!