Thursday, May 22, 2014

5/16 Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

I had never been to the Biltmore Estate, so I stopped on my way through North Carolina to Georgia.  It is well worth a stop, but it was very crowded when I was there.  Next time I will stop a little more off-season and take the "backstairs" servants tour. 

You enter through a driveway and then have to park and go inside to pick up or buy tickets--which I thought were unreasonably expensive.  I bought them the day before and paid $49.  They would have been $59 had I bought them the same day.  That is a lot of money when you cannot take pictures inside of the house, I think!  Note that this building is still owned by the Vanderbilt family, one of the grandchildren of Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Vanderbilt.  (He is not from the same branch as Gloria Vanderbilt and her almost-as-famous son, Anderson Cooper.)

This is the gate house/ticket building.

Once you get your ticket, it is almost a five-mile drive to the main house, along very nicely landscaped roads.  The entire grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park and Detroit's Belle Isle.  You are supposed to be relaxed by the time you got to the house. Frankly, I was just tired of driving a very large vehicle along curving, narrow roads meant for horse-drawn carriages! 

This is the front entrance.  It is a little hard to get far enough back to take a complete photo.

This is one of the formal terraces.

I was told that at one time the estate owned 125,000 acres, almost to the base of the mountains in the distance.  He must not have wanted neighbors.

This is the front of the house from the terrace.

After touring the house and not being able to take any photos indoors, I headed out to walk around the  gardens. 

This is just inside the entrance to the rose garden.  Must have taken a lot of gardeners, although the tour guide said there were only 33 full-time people working at Biltmore.

This is the greenhouse at the end of the rose gardens.

And some beautiful orchids being grown there.

 Wish I had photos of the indoor tour.  There are a few on the Biltmore web site:    I will someday go back when there are not so many school groups and tour buses that result in long lines inside the place. 

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