2018 Vacation Day 3: The Biltmore Estate

Some destinations look neat online and then end up very disappointing in real life. I was afraid that the Biltmore would be one of them. The reviews were generally good, but there were some reviewers who didn't care for it and I wasn't sure how the rest of the family would take it.

I'm very pleased to say that we were all wowed at The Biltmore and I'd honestly like to go back some day and do a behind-the-scenes tour.

Even the drive up to the house is amazing! It's a vast estate with the house itself being set well off from the road. You drive through fields and forest without seeing the house. It really builds up the suspense.

Finally, we parked, in a parking lot in the woods. We took the well-worn path in the direction everyone else was going and then there it was!

[caption id="attachment_4353" align="aligncenter" width="300"] First Look[/caption]

I realize now that we didn't bother to really take a picture of where we were standing, but the picture below is of a massive stone wall that has steps on both sides. You can climb the steps in and then look out over the house and front lawn.

[caption id="attachment_4343" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Fountains in the stone wall[/caption]

There's a large driveway separating this stone wall and the fron edge of the lawn.

[caption id="attachment_4354" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Chuhily Sculpture[/caption]

This is one of many Chuhily sculptures that are on the grounds for a special event they're hosting.

We entered the large house and started our tour.

[caption id="attachment_4352" align="aligncenter" width="200"] The dining room[/caption]

There's so much to take in that it was overwhelming. Our guidebook was full of information about the furnishings, artwork, etc. The scale of each room is staggering. I can't fathom having so much wealth. Some of the artwork is museum-worthy - tapestries from the 1500s, sculptures that belonged to royalty, etc.

[caption id="attachment_4346" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Vanderbilt's bedroom[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4345" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The staircase and chandeliers.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4344" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The library[/caption]

The tour went on and on and we only saw a fraction of the house. Many, many of the guest bedrooms were closed off, for instance. We saw the main floor, the second floor, the basement, and only some of the grounds.

The basement boasted a swimming pool, a bowling alley, and all of the kitchens and storage and servant's quarters.

After touring the house, we went outside.

[caption id="attachment_4361" align="aligncenter" width="300"] One of the large balconies.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4367" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Balcony[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4341" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Front of the house.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4366" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Side of the house.[/caption]

Where we're standing in the picture above isn't ground level. We're on a HUGE terraced area that might have been used as a tennis court or something although it also has grass and some landscaping. You can get a sense of the scale of it by the lady standing on the far left, peering over the edge.

Here's the greenhouse. It's HUGE and would do justice to any botanical garden.

[caption id="attachment_4357" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The greenhouse[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4360" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Inside the greenhouse[/caption]

After the greenhouse we walked the grounds more. Toward the end we can to this pond:

We ate lunch on the grounds. They have an entire "village" for the various gift shops and cafes. There were actually some gluten-free selections available and it was all really good.

[caption id="attachment_4351" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Biltmore dam[/caption]

We stopped at the dam on the way out. It was really nice and, like everything else on the grounds, absolutely beautiful.

We pressed on toward Greenville and spent some time along their riverwalk, Falls on the Reedy.

[caption id="attachment_4369" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Ben and Jenn selfie[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4368" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Falls on the Reedy[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4370" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Cool sidewalk chalk art![/caption]

Ate dinner at Bacon Bros and then drove for a bit. We finally called it a night just an hour outside of our next destination, Myrtle Beach.



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