Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Travel: Biltmore Estate

For as long as I can remember, I desired to visit the Biltmore estate. Through every family road trip in my childhood and teenage years (and there were many!), I pored over maps and traced routes through the Southern states... always hoping, pleading and persuading my parents--unsuccessfully-- to detour through Asheville, North Carolina and spend time at this fantastic residence.

Why my overwhelming desire to see Biltmore?
Maybe it's my fascination with castles. Maybe the French chateau influenced architecture. Maybe the famous gardens. Maybe it's the fact that "the Biltmore estate" sounds enchanting and mysterious and a little romantic! Biltmore is the largest privately-owned residence in the United States. It is 250 rooms of astounding, over-the-top luxury (honestly, gold wallpaper in the master suite??). And it is probably the closest I will get to a castle in the foreseeable future... so when my short vacation to the Carolinas landed us near Asheville, I dared to hope.... and it was true... Biltmore, here we come!

Photography is not permitted inside the mansion. Sadness. Only the images in my mind remain. Sad that I can't share *those* with you! This is my lone house detail shot.

I had to content myself with many, many glorious garden photos.

Now I prefer my historical sites without other human contact. I like the feeling of stepping back in time and experiencing another century. However, Biltmore is insanely popular. There were lines and crowds and automobiles in the driveway (Ugh). I was slightly mollified... the Tuesday morning tour time + slight rain definitely worked in our favor, and the gardens were mostly deserted. Yay!

The tulips were breathtaking! Onward to other gardens. And the hothouse...

My favorite part? (Besides the 10,000+ volume library in the mansion, of course!)

Rambling through the more wild woodland trails.

We toured the house, enjoyed a steaming latte on the patio while waiting for the rain to die down, browsed the gift shops, taste-tested some specialty foods, hiked through the gardens and various trails... all in less than 6 hours. Our accomplishments were mighty impressive, I must say! While waiting for our ride, I wanted to get close to this gazebo. I like gazebos! And this one had a statue overlooking the house... So I went running full speed up the hill. I snapped a few photos and arrive breathless & panting. Worth the climb? To-be-determined! :)

And because I try to include a photo of myself... HAPPY

Biltmore, you were all I hoped for... until we meet again!


  1. Wow!!! That looks sooooo cool!! I love the pictures of the wooden bridge! :-)

  2. Naomi!!! These are sooo beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    Lindsay :)