Chihuly at Biltmore

My grandson and daughter-in-law had been reading Robert Beatty’s Serafina series. It was set in the Biltmore back in the days the Vanderbilts lived there. So one of the things they wanted to do when they came down this last July was go to the Biltmore. Just so happened the Chihuly glass exhibit was on then. I’m not sure what I think of it. It is amazing really what they do with the glass, but I don’t find most of it attractive. Some was. I loved the pieces in the fish ponds.

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Beatty’s next book series is Willa of the Woods set in my sweet Smoky Mountains National Park! We went to a book signing party for the release of the first book at Barnes and Noble in Asheville while Ian was here too. It was a fun day standing in line! They had magician’s, ice cream, live animals like you find in the book and mountain music. Ian was so excited to meet Mr. Beatty and get his copy of Willa of the Woods signed!

One of our dear friends, John the same fellow who took us to Horse Creek, is a pilot and maintenance man at our local airport. He’s always getting us involved in airport things trying to get us out of the house! I shared about flying in the 1928 Ford Tri-Motor last spring. Every now and then they have a Youth Day and local pilots take kids up for a free flight in their small planes. Its all geared to get youth excited about aviation. The interest is dwindling and we will have a shortage of pilots in the future. That happened while the kids were here too. They both got to fly for their first time! Isa was so excited and really interested in everything. John had given her a lesson on the instrument panel in a plane a few days before at the airport. Ian only went up because Isa asked him to. He was a little afraid, so I was pleased he did go up. He wasn’t impressed, but Isa loved it.

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Future pilot?
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One cool dude!

These kiddos are my heart! John said they are ‘the cat’s meow’! I’m prejudice, but I think so too 😉 it’s just sweet when someone else says so too!

Biltmore House

BiltmoreA couple of weeks ago we went to Biltmore House in Asheville, NC., America’s largest home. A sweet friend has season passes and she receives free passes to hand out the first of the year. So we got to go for free! It’s not cheap to tour this house!

 

George Vanderbilt was born in 1862, grandson of the famed industrialist, Cornelius Vanderbilt. They were for all intent and purpose, American royalty. After traveling to Asheville, NC in 1880 with his mother he decided to build a home there in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Construction started in 1889 and the house opened on Christmas day in 1895. George married Edith in 1898 and made Biltmore their family home. They had one daughter, Cornelia. George died at the age of 51 in 1914 after having his appendix removed. Cornelia married an English judge, John Cecil in 1924. They lived in Biltmore and had two sons there. In 1930 they opened the house to the public to help draw tourist and income to Asheville during the depression and to help with the cost of maintaining the house. It is still a family owned property. The house has a rich history, priceless art from the National Art Gallery in DC was stored here to keep it safe during WWII. You can read up on the house at the website HERE.

The house, a French chateau design, has 250 rooms, 35 bedrooms, 43 baths, 65 fireplaces, a 70,000 gallon indoor, heated swimming pool, the first privately installed bowling alley, a gymnasium and a library with 10,000+ books! The estate is 8,000 acres and has large gardens, walking trails, a farm, a winery, a small shopping area and two hotels. It was completely self-sufficient in its day. For a house that old it is in excellent condition! Even the original telephones and servant communication systems are still there. It has an Otis elevator and while we were there it was down for the first time since installation in 1895! The motor was sent out to be re-wound. The guide said just think what the mechanics at Otis thought when they received a 125 year old motor to work on! All the furnishings are original to the house too! It really is a treasure, a step back in time. Of course the free tickets are for January through the middle of March so the gardens were not in bloom.

Gargoyles were all over the outside of the house. It was really cool. It was fairly crowded. We spoke to two gentlemen who have season passes and they said they open and close rooms during each season so you have to come back to see all of them. They also said it is so crowded in house in the summer you can barely move and before they installed the air-conditioning it was unbearably hot and humid.  I took so many pictures. I’m going to share a few here and give you the link to my Flickr album so you can look at all of them.

The library of course! He owned 22,000 books! Some 10,000 were here in the library…

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This chess set was owned by Napoleon and given to George on his 21st birthday

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Thes two pics are of my favorite bedroom! Reserved for special guests

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Game room

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The Loggia, one of my favorite rooms. There’s a large balcony off this room with the wide sweeping views of the mountains and countryside.

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This is the balcony. Large windows are opened off the room into this porch.

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The pool

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Gymnasium

Banquet Hall

Banquet Hall

Kitchen

Kitchen

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Windows on the main staircase inside

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Front of the chateau

So many more gorgeous things to look at so jump over HERE! Photos of lights, magnificent ceilings, drain spouts, kitchen, laundry rooms etc. Be sure and click on each picture and read the descriptions. There were costumes from the Titanic period on display during our visit. Thats what all the mannequins are about in the pictures. The Vanderbilt’s have a connection to the Titanic – they were scheduled to sail on her and at the last minute changed their plans and sailed later on another ship!

Hope you enjoyed the day at Biltmore with me!