This place is truly amazing and definitely worth touring, although it is somewhat exhausting because to really see the place in its entirety takes a whole day. We arrived at the estate to begin our tour at 10:30 am. JC, the beer savior (from our Brews Cruise tour) had suggested that we pay the extra $10 to get the device that included the audio tour in order to get the most out of the tour. We did this and I must say, that I am truly glad that we did. Kathi and I are both complete nerds when it comes to this kind of thing because we love to learn as much as we can about any place that we are visiting. With the audio tour, instead of just walking around and looking at everything, you learn the story behind many of things you are looking at. Who the painter was, who the sculptor was, where the tapestries came from, what day to day life on the estate were like. Makes the entire experience so much richer.
We were joined for the days' events by the sisters-in-law, two of whom were in wheelchairs. Natalie has chronic nerve pain in one leg that makes it difficult for her to do extensive walking and Sheila suffered a knee injury in a fall just a few days prior to making this trip that made it difficult for her to walk for very long or very far, too, so we traveled to the estate in 2 separate vehicles since the addition of 2 wheelchairs to Ingrid's car made it impossible for all 6 of us to fit. This made the day a bit more challenging, mainly because of the huge number of people that were there to tour the place. Seriously!! It felt a bit like Disneyland there were so many people. I was not expecting such a large crowd. In addition, there were 3 weddings taking place on the estate, too, while all this touring was going on. It was kind of crazy.
One is not supposed to take pictures while in the Biltmore Mansion, but Kathi, being the rule breaker that she sometimes is, did manage to take a few pics.
|the formal dining room|
|the breakfast "nook"|
|Edith Vanderbilt's bedroom|
|the view from the loggia of the house|
|Lori on the loggia overlooking the view|
We began the wine tour in back of the wine shop where we learned the story of how George's great grandson, William Cecil, decided to turn the dairy into a winery and started growing grapes on the property. Apparently the first harvest and first wines produced were not very good, so Mr. Cecil went to France and hired a winemaster to assist in running the winemaking operation, which proved to be a good decision.
I lost track of how many wines we all tasted. Just know that we had a good time tasting and chatting with our very knowledgeable wine server, Skyler.
Once we got back to the cabin, we did toss the states and got it down to 2!! Nebraska and Virginia.
Until next time!!