We finally made the trip up to Asheville this weekend to visit Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in America. The mansion itself boggled my mind. It’s still hard for me to come to grips with the sheer magnitude of this place – especially coming from the era in which it was built. Once we cleared the forest and the estate came into full view, that was it – I was officially mesmerized.
Photography is only permitted outside of the house, otherwise I would have some fabulous pictures to share. To me the tour was eerily amazing. I use the word eerie because as I walked through this huge mansion, it’s almost like I could still feel the presence of the Vanderbilts who lived here. I couldn’t help but place myself back in that time, when everything seemed so much simpler – although this most brilliant architecture is anything but simple. I found myself wondering what a normal day consisted of for Mrs. Vanderbilt – what she did after she woke, what she ate for lunch, what she did during the day in that big house, what rooms were her favorites. As I walked through the lush gardens, I imagined her there admiring the beautiful roses. I thought of the grief she must have felt when her husband died unexpectedly leaving her with a young daughter. Walking through the basement in the servants quarters, I imagined the young servants and what their lives might have been like. As we continued to climb stairs, gaining story after story, the long hallways brought to mind their only daughter Cornelia and how it must have been to grow up in a house like this. An image formed of the little girl running down one of the many long hallways and bounding into the endless amount of rooms. I wondered if she’d ever gotten lost in there. These ‘thoughts’ still run rampant in my head – I now realize a visit here lingers with you long after you’ve left the estate.
After touring the house and gardens, we ventured over to the village and winery, and even happened upon a Tiffany Lamp gallery. I was very happy for the opportunity to see all these gorgeous lamps in person. It reminded me of an art gallery because everyone was so silent except for whispers. Again, cameras weren’t allowed in there because they want you to visit in person. My mom has wanted one of these lamps for so long, I’d love to be the person to get her one someday.
Since the leaves are so beautiful this time of year, we decided to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a leisurely ride over to Grandfather Mountain. The weather couldn’t have been better, and the scenic views were breathtaking – it was a lot to take in.
We’ve taken tons of pictures at the above overlook. I like it best because it comes complete with views on both sides – across the road is a beautiful field with a tremendous view of it’s own. It would be a great spot to picnic.
I love the mountains. I learn something new every time I visit – but this particular trip will probably hold the record for a long time to come.
Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing!
October 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm
Thank you for stopping by and commenting! 🙂
October 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm
Beautiful descriptions and pictures – and I agree – The Biltmore House rooms and gardens stay with you – interesting place, for sure. 🙂
October 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Thanks, Mom! It was a trip to finally see it in person after all I’d heard about it.
October 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm
The parkway vistas are far more beautiful and breathtaking than that ol’ house.
October 11, 2011 at 8:56 pm
Maybe… but they won’t let me in!! 😀
October 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm
Wow, my last visit to Biltmore was with Jan in 2006. It’s been too long. I’ve always wanted to go during Christmas, I hear it’s amazing!! 🙂
October 11, 2011 at 10:14 pm
I think they’ve opened up quite a few more rooms since then – in 2009 the Louis XV room was opened (where Edith gave birth to Cornelia, then in following her mother’s tradition Cornelia gave birth to two children in that room). Yes I’d love to go back during Christmas too – I’ve heard it’s phenomenal!
October 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm
Wow, I want to visit! Why do they only let you take pics outside?
October 12, 2011 at 7:58 am
Well, I guess they figure if people saw pictures they might not come see it in person. Makes sense I guess, but I still would’ve loved to photograph some things! There was so much I’d have probably needed more camera batteries. 🙂
October 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm
What a great place! These photos urge me to trip somewhere.
I can’t also take a photo in some old buildings.
October 12, 2011 at 8:32 am
Thanks Cocomino, it was very interesting and I learned a lot. 🙂
October 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm
Very beautiful…and the fall colors are just spectacular! The flash from cameras can cause damage to artwork, wallpaper, and other historic fabrics, so that’s probably the reason they don’t allow pictures inside. I’m looking forward to seeing in myself….one day.
October 13, 2011 at 11:16 am
You know, I hadn’t even considered that about the camera flash – makes a lot of sense. Have a great weekend, Tracy! 🙂
October 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm