Biltmore Estate & Gardens/ We love You Aunt Allene!

Biltmore House & Gardens
Asheville, North Carolina

This is our blog of the estate and our personal experience today.

The History of America’s Largest Home

Building Biltmore was, at the time, one of the largest undertakings in the history of American residential architecture and the results were astounding. Over a six-year period, an entire community of craftsmen worked to build the country’s premier home. The estate boasted its own brick factory, woodworking shop, and a three-mile railway spur for transporting materials to the site.

A New World Château
The celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt modeled the house on three châteaux built in 16th-century France. It would feature 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement alone would house a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants’ quarters, kitchens, and more.

An Environmental Wonder
The grounds of the 125,000-acre estate were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of New York’s Central Park and the father of American landscape architecture. He not only developed acres of gardens and parkland, but in his efforts to protect the environment and reclaim over-farmed land, Olmsted established America’s first managed forest.

A True Family Home
George Vanderbilt officially opened the home to friends and family on Christmas Eve in 1895. He had created a country retreat where he could pursue his passion for art, literature, and horticulture. After marrying the American Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1873–1958) in Paris during the summer of 1898, George and his new bride came to live at the estate. Their only child, Cornelia (1900–1976), was born and grew up at Biltmore.

Follow this link for more on George W Vanderbilt :
http://www.biltmore.com/our_story/stories/gwv.asp

Follow this link for more on Edith Vanderbilt (George’s wife) :
http://www.biltmore.com/our_story/stories/esv.asp

Follow this link for info on Cornelia, The Vanderbilt’s only daughter:
http://www.biltmore.com/our_story/stories/cornelia.asp

So this morning, after attending our church; Cornerstone Church of Johnson City, TN … We headed over the mountain to Asheville, NC. Our destination? Biltmore House & Gardens.
I’ve lived in TN pretty much my entire life, yet I’ve never went to visit this estate. Now with an incredible husband who enjoys the same things that I do & 2 children, we were about the enter this magnificent estate.
I must say, the entrance alone is commanding. As we drove up to the house, I was in awe of the magnitude of this home! To think someone had such foresight to design, construct, & build such a house is amazing. When I learned that it was Frederick Olmsted who was the landscape architect, I quickly understood why the grounds were so beautiful! After all, He designed my most favorite green space- Central Park NYC…
More info on Olmsted can be found by following this link:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Law_Olmsted

So after a few outside snapshots, we entered the house. It didn’t take long for this blonde to get herself in trouble lol. I took a picture of the Winter Garden Atrium and was Informed that photos are NOT allowed. Postcard worthy it was! Still I got my photo though…. Opposss.
We toured the house, and went on out to the Italian Gardens. Well, where else would we go first? Haha… Sculptures and water gardens, well manicured shrubs and flowers.. Beautiful.
We walked up onto the Veranda which overlooks the BlueRidge Mountains… BREATHTAKING! I could have just sat there with a glass of vino and my sweet husband, relaxing as the sun went down… Ahhh… I know I was meant to be living in something similar. And one day, Thomas & I will!!!!!
We visited the shops and had some lunch, then off to The Winery at Antler Hill… We tasted several varietals. Our Sommelier was very personable and fun. We shopped there purchasing an Eiffel Tower cork holder that’s about 2 feet tall, a “Fleur de lis” oil lamp wick for our wine bottle, some dressings, & strawberry cheeseball mix before leaving the store. Now let me say, there were tons of things I saw that I want to purchase if we are blessed enough to have the opportunity to visit again.
Lastly, before leaving, we made a stop at the Creamery for ice cream, coffee, & lemon iced cookies..
I can’t end this blog without saying THANK YOU to my big sis- Alle… Or as the kids call her- aunt Allene… We only were able to enjoy such a trip because of her generous gift of 4 tickets to the Biltmore House & Gardens. She could’ve went herself with jerry or given the tickets to her son or someone else in her family. But she didn’t, she chose to bless us. And for this, we are so thankful to her for the opportunity to go and have this experience and to give us a day of time together as a family. That is not something you can put a price on friends.
So in saying our thank you’s we add to you Alle, May The Lord Himself repay you for your kind generosity towards us… We love you aunt Allene! Xoxo
Thomas, Audra, amber, & Brandon

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