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16 July, 2017

A Visit to the Biltmore House and Gardens

I've just returned from a wonderful little vacation with two of my childhood friends...back to a place I last visited in the 6th grade...the Bilmore House and Gardens near Asheville, North Carolina! If you have never been, you need to add it to your bucket list. I love it because I feel as though I have had a little trip to France's châteaux country without the jet lag!

 photo by Christophe.Finot
That's because George Vanderbilt and his landscape architect, Richard Morris Hunt, visited the great châteaux of Europe before beginning work on the house and were inspired by this one...the Château de Blois...as well as the châteaux of Chenonceau and Chambord. Do you see the similarity in the spiral staircase? Lovely!

Upon entering, you are greeted by this wonderful Winter Garden with its glass roof...a little bit of the outdoors brought inside. The home took five years to build and was opened on Christmas Eve 1895....complete with electricity and plumbing throughout. It was difficult to capture most of the rooms on camera since the whole house is dimly lit...using only 15 watt bulbs as a reflection of the Edison bulbs of the period...but I will share a few of my favorites.

You immediately head to the banquet hall where I was struck by the beautiful floral centerpiece. It has a seven story high ceiling and a massive organ loft. This table can hold up to 38 people...

...but a much more intimate setting for smaller family dinners was at the other end of the room. You can see how it is dwarfed by the massive fireplace.

I have to say that my favorite room was the library which contains about 10,000 volumes...only half of George Vanderbilt's collection of 23,000 books. He was an avid reader who began recording every book he read at the age of 12 and, at the time of his death at age 51, had read 3,159 books!

Of course, I was impressed by this...the chess set that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte when he was in exile in Saint Helena!

And you know I loved this...a beautiful antique Chinese goldfish bowl from the Ming dynasty!

As a little teaser for an exhibit coming in February of next year...Fashion from Titanic the Movie...this dress was on display. You may remember it from the scene where Jack has Rose stand on the railing of the ship..."I'm flying!"  The Vanderbilts were actually scheduled to sail aboard the Titanic but chose not to...a decision which may have saved their lives! They are saving the details for the exhibition. Hmmm...a return visit may be necessary!

Then we headed downstairs for a room in the basement that I had never seen before called the Halloween Room for obvious reasons! However, a little research has recently revealed that the room had nothing to do with Halloween. The Vanderbilts' newly-wed daughter Cornelia and her husband along with their guests spent three weeks painting huge murals inspired by an avant-garde Russian theatrical troupe called La Chauve-Souris (The Bat) followed by a gypsy-themed ball on December 30, 1925.

Of course, my thoughts went to Downton Abbey and Mrs. Patmore when I saw the kitchen. I was struck by all of those wonderful copper pots but a little puzzled because it seems a little small for such a large home. I later learned that there are two specialty kitchens as well.

We were given a little peek into the servants' quarters and all sorts of interesting rooms such as the laundry and the pantries for fruit, canned goods and the walk-in cooler for meats. But you know I couldn't resist this one...the room where the blue and white porcelain was stored!

And, of course, we had a chance to stroll along the outer terrace...the loggia...

...where the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains reminds us why George Vanderbilt chose this location to build his magnificent home!

I will be honest...it was over 90 degrees with humidity almost to match so we didn't linger in the gardens! However, you will find a wonderful time-lapse video of the gardens throughout the seasons here. They were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead who also designed Central Park in New York City.

We ended our visit with a stop at the winery...added since my visit many years ago when the only addition to the home and gardens was a now defunct fully-working dairy. With my little grands in mind, I had to stop by and admire this wonderful reproduction of the Biltmore House in Legos made of 50,000 bricks...

 ...including this wonderful reproduction of  the spiral staircase...fabulous! Having spent hours helping in the building of a few Lego creations, I can appreciate the time and effort put into this one! It will only be there through Labor day, though, so you will need to hurry if you want to see it.

And finally...what came home with me? This bottle of white wine from the Library Series...a nod to the fabulous library of George Vanderbilt. Each one sports a label reflecting famous characters from literature. Can you guess this one? If you said Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, you are right! Just in case you are wondering, the red stars Sherlock Holmes! It will be a reminder of a wonderful visit with old friends in a fabulous and fun location!

 I hope you enjoyed coming along with me! It was only possible to share a tiny portion of the massive estate so I hope you will have an opportunity to see it for yourself one day!

Thanks for stopping by! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants. 
Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday , Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday , The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday , Coastal Charm for the Show and Share Party , A Stroll thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday , My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Inspire Me Monday, Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays , The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home on Thursdays,   French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday , Craftberry Bush for the Inspiration Gallery on Friday, Tatertots & Jello for the Link Party Palooza on Fridays
See you next time! À la prochaine!

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9 comments:

  1. So glad you shared this. I live in the Asheville area and we are pass holders and go quite often. Up until a year ago you were not allowed to take pictures inside. I am so glad they allow it now. Glad to hear you enjoyed your time.

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  2. Debbie,
    Oh, yes, a little château visit without the jet lag! :) I visited Biltmore with my brother and sister two summers ago when we stayed in the surrounding mountains. We had a lovely trip including lunch in the converted stables. Your photos are wonderful.

    Judith

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  3. Oh my heart, that library! I've always wanted to visit, on my bucket list for sure. Thanks for the tour!

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  4. I just want to go maybe some day
    First time Im here I will be back
    Hope you come visit and follow
    Laura

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  5. Thanks for your tour of the Biltmore. i visited the Biltmore for the first time this May. My sister, daughter and I spent three nights in the Village hotel. We loved our tour of the house and gardens. I was trying to get in my office today to do my post. A few weeks after I came home my husband became sick. On July 7th he had emergency pacemaker surgery. Thank goodness I had a fabulous trip to the Biltmore before I became a full time caregiver. Thanks again.

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  6. Such a beautiful place! I went a few years ago when they had the Downton Abbey costume exhibit and it was amazing. I bought a stuffed animal Cedric (the dog) for my Grands but it lives with me and they both love it. I would enjoy a visit again but so many places to see on my bucket list and this one has been checked off!

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  7. Glad you had a wonderful time at the Biltmore....I have been there many times during each season and never tire of going through the house and I see notice things that I had not noticed before. I cannot wait to see the Titanic exhibition....the winery is fabulous and loved dining in that restaurant...yes, it has truly been hot and humid here lately in NC!

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  8. It is a beautiful place,a lot of it was closed off for refurbishing, when i was there. Need to get back and see it. Thanks.

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  9. They certainly chose my favorite chateaux for models. As I recall, however, the French chateaux were more homey in size. What do you think? Thank you for the lovely visit!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie