We returned to Biltmore for a second day for the Rooftop Tour (first day here and here) and also visit Antler Village and Winery for its 30th anniversary party. The Rooftop tour is pretty inexpensive itself and also got us free general admission free on the 2nd day. :)
Again, you have to pick a specific time, and you meet your tour guide and group in front of the house. Interesting things to see while waiting…
It’s a fairly quick, easy tour. Some stair climbing that may be a problem for some folks (including climbing to the top of the grand staircase!)
The tour guide we had was really knowledgeable and great at sharing details. Unfortunately I was so busy taking pics and switching between my limited 50 mm and my sad iPhone camera that I didn’t retain all that much.
Looking down into my favorite atrium:
And looking over at the former stables…their roof, at least:
This copper top is actually the outside culmination of the massive multi-level chandelier that hangs over the grand staircase:
Notice George Vanderbilt’s initials as decoration on the roof:
The guide informed us that these used to be gold at one point. Hard to picture Biltmore with it’s beautiful and stately grays and greens in shiny gold, at least for me.
I love that tiny initialed weather vane (assuming?) above. And this shot below straight down over the fountain beside the right of the front entrance:
The tour takes you to one of the large balconies (I’m sure there’s a better name for them) on the backside of the house. On a regular self-guided house tour, you get to walk onto one…this one lets you onto the floor above that. A cute little bird came in to see what the tour was all about:
Then he flew down for a closer look:
And then a friend joined him.
So cute! After the Rooftop Tour, we drove to Antler Village, which is still in grounds but not within easy walking distance. Antler Village consists of modern shops and restaurants, the winery, some farm areas with animals, and some old style barn-type areas with old equipment on display and some demonstrations (e.g. blacksmithing). It rained while we were in that part of it, so I didn’t get many pics. I did think this floral horse was cool:
The petting zoo had closed when we ventured out after the rain, but there are always animals about:
By then it was definitely time for some wine. The last time I’d been to the winery I’d been sadly underage. :(
Tastings are free, though they have some upscale tastings that cost something – we did the general one, which has a lot of options!
And of course, it was their 30th anniversary.
After wine, we decided to grab some food at Bistro. It’s on the extremely pricey side, but is very nice and all. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I ordered not only the (what turned out to be humongous) French onion soup:
…but also this pasta dish with goat cheese. I’m a sucker for anything with goat cheese.
Honestly, it was okay. For the price and caliber of restaurant, I’d like to say “it was spectacular,” but I think they went overly muted and actually a bit bland on the pasta. It was definitely different with ingredients that felt fresh and healthy though, which is a plus.
After dinner, we were so full, we waddled into the courtyard where people were gathering to listen to a jazz band and walked around a bit.
The whole Antler Village is modern, but well cared for, so very pretty to see. Here’s a statue in front of Cedric’s Tavern, the other main restaurant there:
Cedric is the dog (Vanderbilt’s dog, of course!)
Free ice cream was served – wine ice cream! It was actually really good!
Then at night, the band halted for the anniversary speech. I believe it was Bill Cecil, the CEO and one of Vanderbilt’s descendants, that came out to speak. I tried to get a shot:
The night ended with a fantastic fireworks display.
Not a bad way to end a birthday trip!