Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Biltmore Estate

We are history lovers....

America's largest home boasts 250 rooms, 8,000 acres, & 43 bathrooms when many people didn't even have 1 indoors. The home was built in 1895 by George W. Vanderbilt and was designed by Richard Morris Hunt. (He also designed Central Park in New York.... I thought that was pretty cool.) We were utterly blown away by the immensity of this home. More like a castle if you ask me. Completely self-sufficient at the time, the Vanderbilt family were pioneers in gardening & agriculture. George & Edith had one child, Cornelia, who inherited the estate & continued to maintain & expand on the family's establishment.

Regardless of how close all the hotels are to the home, everyone has to pass through the gates and embark on a beautiful scenic road that leads you to an entrance building where you can purchase tickets. (You can get them in advance online & cheaper if you have a promo code.- Kids were free.) Then, back to your car through another set of gates where you present your tickets. A further drive takes you to specific parking areas where a shuttle then picks you up & takes you right to the front door. Astonishment! Wow, was it beautiful! Now, my pictures are going to focus on the gardens & outdoors. (Absolutely no picture taking is allowed inside, and yah... I was kinda sad.) But, I do have to say ~ this was the most organized self-guided tour ever. You could take as long as you wanted. The rooms were gorgeous. Seventy foot ceilings, fireplaces you can stand in and a bowling alley stuck back in time. My favorite rooms included the Louis XV Room, Oak Sitting Room, Pastry Kitchen, Banquet Hall, & Library. After the home tour which embarks on 3 floors and the basement, you are led outside where there is a mini bistro center offering food, drinks, and yummy southern ice cream. It's time I stop writing & show you some pictures!

I thought it was pretty romantic....
We were spending our nine year anniversary at an amazing place.

Gardens, gardens, & more gardens. There were so many to see!
(I didn't include the Spring Garden, Azalea Garden, & Shrub Garden in my pics...Sorry.)

The Italian Garden

The Rose Garden

The Conservatory

The Walled Garden

After touring the main grounds, the path headed over to Antler Hill Village & Winery.
Here, we got to explore farm life in the 1900's & meet some friendly animals.
We ended our visit with wine tasting (grape juice for kids) & a wonderful dinner.

I couldn't believe how huge this Eucalyptus was! I'm so used to seeing the little ones
at the garden center.

Future tomato posts. We have to try this next year.

I love when the kids have activities to do on sight.
They made puppet caterpillars:)

The blacksmith didn't make your typical "nail". Instead, he made a beautiful
piece of jewelry in the shape of a leaf with amazing curves.

I wanted to make this our Christmas card photo until I noticed my bra strap showing....Ughhh.....

You really need two days to visit this great landmark. For us history buffs, it was truly enjoyable & utmost interesting. There is so much to see & do. One things for sure, we're going back...
when the leaves turn color:) 

Happy Trails:)

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