Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Country House for Family and Friends

That was the goal, I read, when George Vanderbilt built the Biltmore House on his 125,000 acre estate in the mountains of North Carolina. If you are interested in the history or seeing more photos of the house, there are many online resources. Here is Rich standing on the front lawn of this 250 room country retreat.

We were so fortunate to visit now because the home is completely decorated for Christmas, including nearly 100 decorated Christmas trees. There are seven large Christmas trees in the Banquet Hall alone! Here are photos of that room. In the first, the top of a 35 foot tall tree reaches toward the Grand Organ Balcony where you can see the pipes.

It takes at least two hours to tour the home and, if you go, when you buy your tickets be sure to spring for the audio tour that describes each room and provides stories about the family and their guests. Don't we look quite dapper sporting our headphones and audio player? This balcony overlooks the grounds to the rear of the house.

After touring the home, we had lunch at the Stables Cafe. Yes it is the actual stable! The smaller of the original stalls have been fitted with booths. Notice the wrought iron hay rack; there was one at the back of each stall.

The larger stalls contain three or four tables. Just look at those doors and the hardware. They left all the gouges and wear from the many years it served as the estate's stable. I wish you could see the brick floor; I could almost hear the clatter of hoofs on it.

The atmosphere and service were perfect; the food was ample and delicious.

After the shuttle returned us to our car, we drove around to the Walled Garden with its brightly patterned beds of mums.

The estate is now 8,000 acres and you can drive through about half of it, as far as the French Broad River and the Lagoon. Here is the Biltmore from the other side of the Lagoon.

There were so many awesome ceilings (I LOVE ceilings), portraits, chandeliers, furnishings, wall coverings, tapestries, floors, stairwells, wood paneled walls, etc making every inch of the house a delight to see.

Lovin' Life ~~ Touring This Magnificent Home

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