Thursday, August 6, 2015


 As I sit down to write this posting, I noticed in my blog's statistics, that I have written 400 postings.  How can that be possible?  I remember when I hit the first 100-I didn't think I could possibly sustain the blog.

So let's begin today's posting.

Last week we traveled to Ashville, N.C. to visit the Biltmore, the famous country home(mansion) of The Vanderbilt's.  This site has always been on my list of must see places.  The visit was that and even more than anticipated.  Since no pictures were allowed to be taken inside the house, I will show you only exterior photos.  However, I would strongly suggest the audio tour, which is an additional charge, while touring the home itself.

Upon arriving on the estate, we were taken by shuttle from the parking lot to the entrance of the house.  It is truly a majestic site.

Looking behind, this is the view from the house.

I would like to share a few facts that I learned on the tour.

Besides the numerous interesting facts about the home, the architecture was spectacular.  The architect, Richard Morris Hunt, traveled with George Vanderbilt to Europe gathering inspiration for the Biltmore.  George Vanderbilt also hired  landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted to design the grounds.  Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture, also designed Central Park and the U.S. Capitol grounds.  He considered Biltmore his last great project.
The second floor living hall includes two portraits by John Singer Sargent that were painted when the artist visited Biltmore in 1895.  The portraits are of Richard Morris Hunt and  Frederick Law Olmsted.  George Vanderbilt became close to the two designers of his home and grounds.  Sorry that I cannot show you those portraits here. It was a huge compliment for Vanderbilt to hang these portraits of his friends in this home.
Here is an interesting note that I found about the artist, John Singer Sargent. 
Sargent had no assistants; he handled all the tasks, such as preparing his canvases, varnishing the painting, arranging for photography, shipping, and documentation. He commanded about $5,000 per portrait, or about $130,000 in current dollars.(Wikipedia)
Fourth and fifth generations are involved today in day-to-day operations in keeping the house maintained .  All repairs made are perfect to the naked eye. For example, fabrics that were made in France originally were remade from the same manufacturing companies today.
Now, let's go back outside to see more exquisite architectural details.
My youngest noticed the capital V above this doorway between the cherubs.  This photo might be an inspiration for a future Valentine creation.

This view of the windows could be from a great church in Europe.  The ornateness and detail of every part of the architecture makes an impact on the viewer.

The glass enclosed Winter Garden illuminates the center fountain sculpture of Boy Stealing Geese by Kart Bitter.  The picture below shows the top of this glass ceiling.

Vanderbilt opened the house to his family on Christmas Eve 1895, after six years of construction.

I found the trees creating the arbor most interesting.  The trunks appear to be wound around  cement columns.

The ornate design of these overlooking balconies is beautiful.

The design was somewhat similar to that of the back of the homes' balconies. 

The view from this balcony was breathtaking.
Who wouldn't love a fountain on the outside of their home?

Many art treasures grace the inside and outside of the mansion.

Walking out to the side of the mansion, through the Italian and Shrub Gardens,  you come upon the Conservatory.  

I loved the doors opening to the outside of the Conservatory.
Beautiful, lush gardens surround the Conservatory.

Another view between the trellis.

When the property was purchased, it encompassed 125,000 acres.  Land was sold off through out the years to enable the family to keep 8,000 acres in the present day. 

This is the view looking into the Walled Garden.

The hardy lily pads floated in the one of three ponds located in the Italian Garden.

Looking back to the home from the ponds.

Once the inside tour was completed, an array of restaurants and light bites(that is their name for them) are off to the left heading to the original stables.  Patio umbrellas and tables dot the central area of the dining facilities.

We spent about 5 hours touring the home, eating lunch, doing a bit of shopping and viewing the gardens.  We were taken by the shuttle back to our own vehicle, and then set out to see Antler Hill Village which was about 5 miles from the Biltmore itself.  Here at the village, the Biltmore Winery celebrates its 30th anniversary, their winemakers continue to be inspired b George Vanderbilt's passion for collecting and serving fine wines.

Here are two final views of the incredible Biltmore mansion.

The history behind the making of the Biltmore was fascinating.  I am so glad that we were able to take this trip with the girls.

 So as this is an end to our summer, school will be back in session.  The summer vacation just goes by too fast. 

I hope you enjoyed my guided tour through the Biltmore properties. 

   In the future, plan your own trip to visit the majestic Biltmore.

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