Tag Archives: Asheville

Biltmore Estate Stables

One of the pleasures of going to the Biltmore is being able to ride in their horse drawn carriages. On my last trip to the estate I stopped by the stables to see the beautiful animals. My first impression was “wow…this is quite small.” The stables is in fact one of the smallest parts of the Biltmore estate.

 

The lion is part of the Vanderbilt’s family crest and is seen on both buildings in the stable area. Inside the first barn were the Biltmore Draft Horses. I wasn’t able to get close enough to touch them, but they look so lovable don’t they?

 

 

In the second area of the stables were the smaller horses that I’m sure probably pull the smaller carriages.

 

 

 

The horse on the end, “Ol’ Paint” as my Dad called him, seemed interested in what we were doing there. I imagine they don’t get a lot of visitors there.

 

 

Behind the stable area is a pasture for the rest of the horses to “horse” around in. Yuck yuck yuck! lol…they were pretty calm until I started taking pictures. They got a little rowdy (nipping at each other) the longer we stood there, so we didn’t stay too long.

 

Biltmore Estate Second Visit

A couple of years ago I went to the Biltmore during Christmas. The trip was enjoyable, but all of the plants were in hibernation for winter and the gardens were barren. I just got back from the North Carolina where I had planned on going back to the Biltmore to see it in all it’s glory during the Spring. Unfortunately, I got there about a week too early!

The skies were overcast and the wind was very chilly. All of the trees were still without blooms and the garden just had small green shoots of tulips showing. So, I guess I’ll have to go again…this time in the summer when it’s guaranteed to be bloomed out.

The Biltmore Winery

I’m not normally a wine person, but I enjoy a white wine now and then. Could I name the top wine makers? Nope, probably not. I just know what I think tastes good. I do enjoy going to wineries and tasting their different selections. It’s the best way to be introduced to new wines.

When Mike and I went to the Biltmore, I was excited about going to their winery. Conveniently the hotel is quite close to the winery. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

We didn’t go inside the hotel, but I’m sure it’s quite lavish given the rest of the Estate.

The winery itself is a nice building with a little bit of an old world feel.

There are large barrels of Champagne as you walk in. The entire room is very clean and sterile looking. I love the way the barrels look stacked together.

Then when you walk a little further down you enter “The Cellars”. This is where they keep all of the old bottles of wine.

I can’t remember the oldest bottle they had, but the cellar area with the cool stone walls and the dusty bottles definitely gives a feeling of age. They also had some champagne cellars but I wasn’t able to get a picture of that.

When you’re finished taking the self-guided tour, you can go to the tasting room where there are many employees ready to wait on you. This was one of the best parts of the winery! They also have grape juice so if you have kids they can “taste” with you.

 

When you’re finished taste testing, go over to the food area where you can pick up Biltmore wine, tons of good and rare foods, wassail, and other accessories. Each year Biltmore has a different Christmas wine. This particular year the Christmas wine was outstanding. I can’t speak for any other year!

The Biltmore Grounds and Garden

The first time I visited the Biltmore Estates, it was winter so all of the outdoor flowers  and trees weren’t in bloom. I will be going back this march and hope to add more pictures here of the garden and grounds in bloom.

As you start exploring the garden you’ll spot the original garden keeper’s house. I love the stone walls…beautiful!

While the flowers were not in bloom, you could still make out the design the different gardens have. There were four separate designs, with a wooden walkway going on direction and a gravel walkway going the other in between each one.

The walkway leads to a greenhouse that’s full of beautiful plants and flowers. Since it was Christmas time there were several poinsettias as well.

The flowers were gorgeous…not a brown spot anywhere.

They also had some odd plants that I had never seen. Like this pineapple bush, or whatever it is!

Once we finished with the gardens we went walking some of the trails on the grounds. There was a nice lake and a pond we came upon.

The walk was very relaxing and enjoyable. If they would let me build a small cottage over by the pond, I would be a happy camper!

We had a cardinal that seemed to be following up as we were walking the trails closer to the house.

I’m looking forward to my second visit when the estate should be flourishing in color!

The Biltmore: Asheville, NC

The same year my husband and I went to Chimney Rock, we received two tickets to the Biltmore Estate from my parents. The house was built by George and Edith Vanderbilt back in 1895. Interestingly, the house was first open for guests on Christmas Eve of that year. Mike and I visited the house on Christmas Eve of 2007. The house has 65 fireplaces…65! That’s just to give you an idea of the size of this place.

When you first arrive at the Biltmore entrance you’ll notice all of the beautiful trees. The “driveway’ if you will, or road to the mansion, was long and curved throughout the forest. It was winter when Mike and I went, so it was as green and lush as I’m sure it is in the Spring and Summer. We parked in the appropriate lot and walked over to the gate. Oh my goodness…this was a HUGE house. Yes, I know it’s a mansion but still…it is impressive even for a mansion. I guess many people refer to it as a castle. That seems more suitable.

The Biltmore Estate consists of more than just the mansion. They have stables (which we didn’t get to see), a hotel, a winery, a garden, and grounds galore filled with a lake and tons of trees. All in all, the Estate is over 8,000 acres. Since I took about 500 pictures, I’ve decided to split this into several different blogs. This one will focus just on the mansion itself.

Now, just to clarify, photography is NOT permitted inside. I was tempted to sneak a few  pictures here and there, but my goody two shoes conscience wouldn’t let me. So, let’s explore the outside!

There was no skimping on the gargoyles and other “statues” added to the house.

Look at the molding! Outstanding work. There are two figures here. I think one is Joan of Arc (see picture under this one) and the other is a king. I’m not sure of the history there.

They also had numerous fountains. This is the “Green man” fountain:

There is a beautiful green field in front of the house, then in front of that is an elevated area with a gazebo that has a statue of a woman with her dog. The first picture was taken from inside the house looking out. They didn’t say I couldn’t do that! Sorry, I was too chicken to remove the screen!

Mike sweetly named this "Devil Dog"..the eyes are creepy.

A view of the mansion from the gazebo

If you walk to the right side of the house, there is a walkway covered by huge grape vines. I imagine they are gorgeous when they’re bloomed out. There are also busts lining the wall in the walkway.

The busts kinda blend in to the wall...

So, let’s talk about the inside for a little bit. There were numerous rooms. Each room had it’s own fireplace. Some of those fireplaces were big enough to walk into, not that you’d want to! For example, look at this fireplace in the library:

Photo from biltmore.com

The library was one of my favorite rooms. While you can’t see the entire library from here, you can start to understand the size. There were over 40,000 books in here! That tapestry was from the 1600’s. These photos are from the Biltmore’s website.

The Vanderbilt’s were way ahead of the rest of the world. They were one of the first people (if not the first) to have an indoor pool. Of course, it was much like a tub in that it was made all of tile and had a big faucet and drain!

Photo from biltmore.com

The kitchen was in the servent’s area. There were plenty of pots and pans, a large walk in pantry, and little bells next to it so the servents could hear when they were being paged.

Photo from biltmore.com

One of the most colorful bedrooms was Edith Vanderbilt’s bedroom. Is it just me, or does this bed look really short?

Photo from biltmore.com

if you’re in the area (Asheville) and have the time, it’s definitely worth seeing once! Check back tomorrow for a post on their garden.