The Biltmore Estate…
A fifty dollar ticket into the Biltmore gives you a self guided tour of the large house and access to the adjacent gardens, a lake and a shopping area with wine tasting, food and live music. We were there on a rainy, hot and humid Tuesday. It was crowded, very crowded. Wall to wall people from all around the world.
The house was an impressive time capsule… rooms with Haunted Mansion-like wood finishings, velvet tapestries and ornate wallpaper, fancy hand carved furniture, hallways packed with portraits, a large spiral staircase and the kitchen/pantry/laundry wing was fascinating. There’s an indoor pool in the basement with zero windows that everyone swears is haunted. A cinderblock basement room was festively hand-painted by a younger Vanderbilt for a New Year’s party. The art was taken from a Russian circus troupe’s flyer and it looked like a mash up of the Tim Burton signature spiral background, Dr. Seuss’ spikey bear-like creatures, matryoshka doll drawings mixed with some light opiate use. And to round out the 80+ rooms, there are many specific rooms for changing, smoking and sitting. Apparently, people used to change their clothing several times a day. You aren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but if it was allowed, we’d all be trapped in a sea of selfie sticks and tripods.
There was a lightning storm passing overhead as we toured the house. The moment the booming stopped, we rushed over and had the gardens to ourselves before the masses descended behind us. We were so lucky to have a bit of quiet time with the flowers.
Afterwards, we ran up to the Deerpark lodge and had lunch at Cedric’s, named after Cedric, George Vanderbilt’s St. Bernard. How cute is he??
It was a whirlwind tour! I think we saw more of Asheville in 2 1/2 days than most people see in a week! :)
Next up… Hillsborough and Charleston.