Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wow, is all I can say!

Today is the day for our trip to the Biltmore. We got up early, went to Crackle Barrel for breakfast and then we were off to Asheville and sites I could not imagine.

Welcome To The Home of the Vanderbilt Family

George W. Vanderbilt (1862-1914) was the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who build the family fortune in shipping and railroads. However, George favored art over industry and incorporated his interest in languages, history, and architecture into his grand country home. And, in the year 1895, he officially opened the Biltmore House. Three years later, he married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1872-1958) and brought her to the Biltmore where their only child Cornelia (1900-1976) was born.

George died an untimely death at the age of 52 and Edith was left to manage the estate. Then in 1924 Cornelia married the Honorable John Francis Amherst Cecil and they lived at Biltmore and their two sons were born there. Then in 1930, the Cecils opened the house to the public to increase tourism during the Depression and to bring in much-needed money for preservation of the estate.

Today, George Vanderbilt's grandson, William A.V. Cecil, owns Biltmore and his son William A.V. Cecil, Jr., serves as chief executive office and continues the preservation of this national treasure.

Now, with that background, let me welcome you to my day at the Biltmore...

Drive through the main gate

and down the long drive to

the front door.

Now, I am sorry to say that from this point on, we could not use our cameras. But we got headsets for our self guided/audio tour. We began on the main floor and saw the Winter Garden Room, the Billiard Room, the Banquet and Breakfast Rooms, the Music and Tapestry Gallery...then

It was on to the Grand Staircase. Here a four-story iron chandelier weighing 1,700 pounds is suspended from a single point to light this impressive space. We headed up the staircase to the second floor and toured a living hall, Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's bedrooms and sitting room. After which we took the stairs upward to the third floor were there were lots of guest rooms. We then kept climbing on to the fourth floor where we saw the servant's living quarters.

Now that we have climbed almost to the top, we headed back down and saw more on each of the other floors as we made our way to the basement. Once we were in the basement, we viewed a bowling alley, swimming pool, and gymnasium. Then we saw all of the food pantries, main kitchen, rotisserie and pastry kitchens. Then we were off to the laundry facilities, which included a laundry for hand-washables and the main laundry and drying rooms.

Then it was back up the stairs to the main level were we saw the smoking room, gun room, and bachelor's wing hallway. We were then officially through with our self guided tour and like any other tour it sent us straight to the gift shops, which use to house the stables.

After we took a little break, we walked to a side terrace and oh my, what a view.

This is one of the main garden areas in the front of the house

This is the view out back of the house

We then made our way back to the car and drove past the gardens, by a lake, to the Winery, were we took a tour, and then to the River Bend Farm.

And again, all I can say is WOW!


  1. Double Wow! Thanks once again for sharing your journey. Hope to get there one of these days.

  2. So glad you got to visit The Biltmore. We enjoyed our tour, too. It's an amazing place.

  3. The Biltmore is truly a showplace...and the "advanced" systems for it's era are astounding! Glad to see you're enjoying some of the Southeastern states!
    Molly & Bob