Monday, July 19, 2010


We had been to the Biltmore Estate about three years ago. It was interesting to see the changes that have occured in those few years. We also had been there in the winter so it was nice seeing it in summer.
The 250 room house was built for George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. He had a wife, Edith and a daughter Cornelia. George died in 1914 at the age of 51. When Cornelia married John Francis Amherst Cecil they lived and entertained here. The house was opened to the public in 1930. Today the Biltmore remains a family business. Vanderbilt's grandson William Cecil owns the Biltmore and his son and daughter are on the board of directors and active in preserving this treasure. It is very impressive to take a tour through the house. The splendor of each room is almost over whelming. Sorry no pictures were allowed to be taken inside the house. They have just restored George and Edith Vanderbilt's private bedrooms and sitting area. An exhibit telling about the preservation and restoration was very interesting. Fredrick Olmsted, who designed New York's Central Park, planned the estates gardens and grounds. It was very pretty, but I would love to see it in the spring when the tulips are in bloom.

There are 8,000 acres and you drive for miles just to get from one area to another and then to the exit. They even have a shuttle to take you from the parking lot to the house. A new addition is an Outdoor Adventure Center where you can take a guided Segway tour, get a bike pass to ride the trails, go on horseback trail rides, and even a river float trips - all on estate grounds.

This is the newly opened Legacy exhibition hall at Antler Hill Village on the Estate. It has a very informative film about the family and how each generation has been involved with preserving the Biltmore.

The stables at Antler Hill had lots of things to see and do. Unfortunately the blacksmith and wood carver where not working. There was a person playing tunes on the fiddle while we walked around which gave it a festive feeling.

This is all new since we were here the last time. Another addition is the 12 stations through out the estate where you call a number on your cell phone put in the number of the location and you hear all about that area. The winery is here at Antler Hill and of course we took the tour and bought a couple of bottles of wine. There is also an ice cream shop where you can buy a dish of Biltmore vanilla ice cream, their original recipe only available here.
It was a very nice day. Even the weather improved from a very rainy morning to a beautiful sunny afternoon. When we were back at the campground we were given the use of their hall to have a meal this evening at 7. We had a spaghetti and meatball dinner made by Joy and Les. I made a salad, Liz and Jim some garlic bread, Jim a chocolate pie and June and John brought the wine. We had a good time of sharing and learning more about each other.

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