Biltmore!: Part 1

28 07 2015

The day after our waterfall adventure, we made our way to my favorite place in Asheville: Biltmore Estate.

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Biltmore is amazing! One of the few and last remaining great American estates, it was built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s, and includes many acres of beautiful grounds and gardens, the stable house with shops and a restaurant, and of course, the iconic house itself. I’m pretty sure (if memory from my visit as a 9 year old serves correctly) it has 32 guest rooms. Trivia fact there. It also has an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley… and dumbwaiters… thought those were pretty cool at age 9 too.

Anyway, you can easily search for Biltmore history and facts online if you want; so here I’ll just give a photo overview of my recent visit.

Upon arrival, we had to pick up our tickets from the Ticket Office where this dress was on display:

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They were having their “Dressing Downton” event with clothing from the TV show Downton Abbey on display throughout the house. No pics allowed in-house, so this is the only shot I grabbed of that stuff, but they had plenty inside – a few outfits in all the big rooms. I believe the exhibit finished at the end of May.

After tickets, we parked and walked the forest path to the front lawn. If you get there later in the day, it’s best to take the shuttle, which goes to the front of the house. Exploring the front of the lawn:

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I’m always blown away by how gorgeous it is!

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See the patio area to the left of the pic above? We walked around it a bit before our ticket time (you have to pick a specific in-time to visit the house):

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Learned from a tour guide the following day that the statue above is Joan of Arc. She’s decorating the outside of the grand staircase. The windows actually open, and technically, you could step out on those thin ledges (but they don’t let visitors do that.)

If you walk past the patio and further to the left, there’s a very pretty covered outdoor area with vines that steps down onto a large grassy area with sculptures and views like this:

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Finally it was time to see the house! They will let you snap picks in the entryway, but that’s it:

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I’m a little in love with the colors in the pic above. 🙂 Probably because it was spring time, there were flowers like this all throughout the house. The flowers and Downton dresses were lovely to see, but honestly the house is more than gorgeous without them. Vanderbilt was a massive art collector; my favs are the tapestries from the 1500s and the portrait of Mrs. Vanderbilt by Boldini. It’s a shame they don’t allow pics, as I’ve always felt the postcards and things they sell don’t really convey the full beauty of the place.

Once you’re done seeing the house (took us quite some time considering we had about 8 or 9 groups of kids on field trips), you exit near the stable house, to the right of the main house. You can see its horse-housing origins, but nowadays the place is a collection of touristy shops with candy, Christmas collectibles, and fancy souvenirs:

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… and also home to a really delicious restaurant, the Stable Café. It got super crowded, but we got there early enough to beat the main traffic.

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V for Vanderbilt! Here are some staff members gearing up for lunch. I’m assuming the shiny white brick is original; it’s got a cool look.

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You sit either at tables or at booths converted from horse stalls. What to order? Well, I’ve never had anything I didn’t like. This time I had to try the chicken salad:

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The verdict? Yum! Despite the fact that I was more than full, I also had to try the potato soup:

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Not a very exciting photo, but totally delicious! We were so full, we had to skip dessert and walk it off in the gardens. However, we came back right before close to circle back to the sweets (worth it)!:

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Above: peach fritters (or something like that) with blackberries and, barely in the pic, corn ice cream. Yes, corn! It was surprisingly really good. A very southern gourmet style. And because it was my birthday (and you can eat what you want on your birthday, of course), we got a second dessert: 13 layer vanilla cake with grapefruit crème and candied ginger and some kind of champagne sauce. OMG.

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Oh. Yes.

Now I’m hungry. Stay tuned  – next Biltmore post will show our journey through the gardens….

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10 08 2015
Biltmore!: Part 3 (Rooftop Tour, Antler Village and Winery) | Art Stuff by K

[…] 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 […]

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