On Tuesday, B took the day off and we took our 2 princesses and our under-cover-protecting-2-princesses-Jedi to
a beautiful, American castle The Biltmore!!!
(FYI – if you are driving in with your RV, make sure you get or pick up your tickets at the Group Sales building which is immediately on your right even before you go through the welcome “gate”. Then after getting your tix at group sales, you can go directly to the parking lot and they will help you figure out where to park.)
Can’t you picture coming through here on your horse and carriage!?
After we parked, we made a quick lunch and ate on Woodys steps in the parking lot. Moments like this we realize how it would be even more convenient to have a motor home but for our needs, Woody (the trailer) has been great! When we have days like this, it’s pretty cool to have our refrigerator, pantry, and kitchen things accessible…. and also our bedroom so we have a place to change or lay down if we needed to. We can’t get into the bathroom (as you may be able to see from the picture I’m in) and we can’t sit at the table, but Woody has been perfect for the way we travel and live/ work on the road! I’m happy to share our perspective on motor home vs trailer if you’re thinking of getting an RV.
It was perfect timing – right when we finished lunch it was time to catch the shuttle. Look at AB’s face as we rounded the corner and she saw the “castle”:
We decided not to pay extra for the audio tours so that we could just talk to each other
(not spend another $60) (not fight over whose turn it is to hold the audio) as we walked. There were very brief descriptions of each room in the free pamphlet — but the royal treatment of a personal tour guide to tell stories, point out details, and talk with us as we went would have been awesome.
Here’s Princess Belle entering the castle. I love the way she’s raising up her dress…. and yes you better believe I had them wear their walking shoes! I’ve learned some things over the years 🙂
The house is still being decorated for Christmas. It looked like they were in the last stages!
The details everywhere in the architecture and design are just amazing and so beautiful:
Here’s the banquet hall (you can see them decorating for Christmas. I loved the girls faces each time we entered a room):
Belle posing with her book:
Imagine the servants having to care for all these guests, all the food, all the cleaning, or even dusting everything!? Much less decorating for Christmas!
Breakfast Room (the 2 square paintings to the right of the fireplace are Renoir):
Salon (and winter garden in the background):
Salon looking into the Music Room:
This lamppost reminded me of Narnia:
The Music Room:
Ohh the Loggia! So amazing. Give me a glass and a good book 🙂
Belle and her library:
Tapestry Room (tapestries from 1530s):
And then upstairs:
2nd Floor Living Hall:
Downton Abbey fans…. recognize these outfits!? Gallery coming soon to the Biltmore!
SO MANY ROOMS!!!! 250 to be exact and to think George Vanderbilt was a bachelor when he built this! Ha
Mr Vanderbilts bedroom. The views with the windows open must be so amazing!!!
Walk in closet and fashions from the early 1900s:
Oak Sitting Room in between the 2 bedrooms. This must have been a norm for “royalty”. It reminded me of an episode of The Crown or Downton, where the king and queen come out from their individual rooms and meet in the middle to plan the day with their assistants, which is exactly what happened here. It must have been so fun (and hard) to entertain so many guests and details with such strict etiquette of high society. We read that when visiting The Biltmore, guests would often change outfits 7 times in a day for each activity. I wonder how our high society culture today compares to the past. I wouldn’t know 🙂
The girls’ fave fave room (next to the library)! Mrs Vanderbilts:
Tyrolean Chimney Room (I loved this one. The overmantel is Swiss porcelain from the 1700s):
Louis XV Room (Another favorite of mine! I wish we could have done flash. It was so gorgeous. This is where George’s wife, Edith, gave birth to their only child Cornelia in 1900.)
One of 43 bathrooms (Pretty incredible since most people in America at the time didn’t have ONE bathroom in their house!):
And then it was down to the basement to see the bowling alley, swimming pool and gymnasium:
And all the pantries, servants quarters, rotisserie kitchen, pastry kitchen, and main kitchen:
Man caves sure have changed a lot haven’t they? Here are the billiard room, smoking room, and gun room:
We really had a great time and great conversation as we walked!
It was also a perfect follow-up to The Men Who Built America (series) that B and RR watched together. George Vanderbilt, who built the Biltmore, was the grandson of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt (think steamboats – railroad).
After a quick treat ($$$$$$$)
it was time to stroll through the gardens:
The flowers were so amazing ! And matched AB perfectly lol
The girls were definitely stars of the day and everybody loved talking to the princesses! RR didn’t seem to mind (because undercover Jedis don’t want attention anyway).
All these next pictures were taken by the girls of each other and of the flowers:
Here are 2 plants you may never have seen before:
A black bush!
And I have no idea what this is:
We walked to the bass pond:
The kids were troopers and we all agreed that we were thankful we could stroll in such comfortable shoes and clothes! It sure would be cool to go back in time and experience being a weekend guest at this “little” retreat in the mountains…. but only if we could wear our walking shoes and no corsets haha:
It was a really great day! The kids are at great ages to wander and appreciate things like this with us. We could really imagine what it must have been like to visit here. For some reason the more we imagined, the more we started speaking in English accents and standing very straight with good posture. 🙂
It’s been a rainy 2 days here and a cold front is coming – but we are excited to spend Friday and Saturday in The Smokies!