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A Visit to the Biltmore Estate

by Barb, first post of 2022, first post from Key West

Hi All. Bill and I enjoyed a meandering trip to Key West this year. We planned to spend Christmas in southern Virginia with our son’s in-laws in their brand new house. (So new they had only slept there for four days before we arrived. Now that’s brave.)

The timing meant we would need to kill a few days before we could get into our rental in Key West. Plus it was late in the year to be making plans. We couldn’t commit until we knew if the house where we were spending Christmas would actually be done in time. Plus, you know, omicron, holiday traffic, the whole deal.

Bill took the planning in hand and we decided to spend a few days in Asheville, NC. We had a beautiful day at the Biltmore estate and I am sharing Bill’s photos below.

We began our day with a tour of the gardens, fallow now for winter of course. But it was a gorgeous day, perfect for strolling, and the greenhouse was amazing.

A replica of the greenhouse in the greenhouse
A bed of…not roses…but…?
Biltmore House, the largest private home in the United States
The mountains beyond. The estate once encompassed 125,000 acres. Now it is about 8,000. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds, which are full of gardens, water features and winding roads. (More on that later.)

After the gardens we went to see the interactive Van Gogh show which was in an big open auditorium on another part of the estate.

Bill took a lot of photos of these shadows. I am trying to persuade him to publish a whole series.

in Van Gogh’s bedroom as he painted it.

We had a lovely dinner at the restaurant in the stables on the grounds and then a nighttime tour of the house, which was fully decorated for Christmas.

The two-story library. There’s a door on the second story which leads to the third floor rooms where guests like Edith Wharton and Henry James stayed and were encouraged to find books to enjoy during their stays.
Formal dining room
Chandelier in the main stairway with a four story drop
Gingerbread replica of the house in the main kitchen. The tour included the upstairs and downstairs, which was very like Downton Abbey. Or should I say Downton Abbey is very like it?

We had a perfect day. And then, as we drove the miles of dark, meandering roads out of the park, our check engine light came on and the car threw about seven error messages.


And our perfect day turned into a horror movie.

No, not really. But we did spend the next two days at a creative and friendly Volkswagon dealership in Spartanburg, South Carolina. And, despite it all, we stayed on schedule for the trip and arrived in Key West on January 1.

Readers: Tell us about a trip that didn’t go as you expected.

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