The Adventures of a geekgirl over Christmas Vacation Pt 2

Well, we weren’t blown away in the storms, but life has gotten more interesting in the mean time. So here’s the follow up on the holidays. The Biltmore House doesn’t allow photography indoors, so all the pictures I got were taken outside. I understand the necessity of the rule, but it would have been really nice to have gotten pictures of the library or some of the rooms inside. Its a lovely estate. The joys of being offspring of the robber barons of the gilded age. The behind the scenes tour that we took was interesting. We had the opportunity to see great hall from the pipe organ balcony, several different parts of the servant areas, the old electrical room, the furnace room, and pantry areas. The main electrical room had a huge board of the old electrical throw switches. It would have looked right at home in the Frankenstein movies. )

walled garden
Then we went and visited some of the gardens. The walled garden and the conservatory were lovely.

In between the house and the walled garden, I found an interesting looking bush. Its leaves were all gone, but the shape of the branches was striking. interesting looking plant And after the walled garden, we walked around toward the spring garden. There was this lovely bridge for the road to go over and pedestrian traffic to go under. pedestrian walkway

The group split at that point and DH and his oldest brother and wife and I visited the winery and the other brother’s family with 2 minors went back to the cabin where we were staying for the week. The four of us saw the winery’s promotional video, then toured the facility and tasted several different vintages that are bottled there on the estate. They have some very nice wines, and we purchased a few. 🙂 Then back to the cabin for us to have dinner and meet back.

After dinner we traveled back to the Biltmore. We had a candlelight tour of the house scheduled at 8:30 PM. We ended up getting there fairly early, and puttered around the shopping area at the house. It even though the wind was pretty chilly, it still was very nice. When we finally got into the house for the tour, DH & I purchased the audio tour guides that were available. When the tours aren’t led by a docent, I do like to have the audio tour guides for the additional information that they offer. There was a choir in the winter garden that was singing Christmas Carols, then there was an artist playing a hammered dulcimer on the second floor and a duo playing violin and harp on the third floor. None of the musicians were intruding on the others, if that gives you an idea of the scope of the size of the house. And on the top floor is the original architect’s model of the entire house! George Vanderbilt liked the model so much that he kept it and designed the room , as well as had a table built specifically for the model. It was amazing to me that an architect’s model was preserved so well for so long.

Over all, it was a neat place to visit. I’d love to see it when the roses in the walled garden are in bloom, or in the fall when the the leaves are changing.

The adventures of a geekgirl over Christmas vacation

As you probably guessed, DH and I were not at home for Christmas. In fact, we were in North Carolina with DH’s parents and brother’s families. We were right outside of Asheville. We stayed in a very nice rental cabin that was large enough to accommodate all of the families. The beautiful moonrise that I showed you earlier was taken on US highway 25 between Greenville, South Carolina and Hendersonville, North Carolina. DH’s middle brother brought the Christmas lights that were strung up on the porch railing that I took pictures of, too.

Up in the mountains, the sunsets were spectacular. I ended up getting a number sunset pictures.
sunset 1 I went a bit nuts with the sunset pictures. But I was also trying to figure out that new camera, and how well it took pictures.
sunset 2 sunset 3 sunset 4

Christmas morning was a laid back affair. Nephew 1 and Niece 1 enjoyed their gifts. In DH’s family, the stockings are openly stuffed by family members and discovered on Christmas Eve. That always puzzled me, since in my family stockings were empty until Christmas morning and Santa always brought the loot in them. In fact, when I was little on Christmas morning, the stockings were the only thing we could get into until Mom and Dad and everyone got up. I take that back. Santa always left a gift or two unwrapped and set up for us to play with. We could play with those and the stocking gifts until everyone was up and assembled at the tree.

That evening and night, we has SNOW! Yay! You could hear the snow flakes hit the windows and hiss a little bit as they melted. The porch was covered with about a quarter inch of snow on Boxing Day morning. 🙂

Boxing day was the day we were scheduled to visit the Biltmore house. We had a behind the scenes tour scheduled at 10:30 AM, and we were warned that if we missed the tour time we would be out of luck. We were a bit nervous, since the driveway was very steep. Thankfully it had been warm enough that the snow didn’t stick to the driveway or the roads. We found our way to the Biltmore Estate grounds, and finally got our view of the house.
Biltmore House Wow. The view of the house from the drive was incredibly impressive. Then the view of the lawn and the grounds from the front of the house was also impressive. Biltmore house front lawn
Greeting folks as they approached the front door was a pair lions, suitably attired for the season. Biltmore Lion Entry trees Then inside the foyer was the first set of decorated trees. The Biltmore web site probably has a good estimate of the total number Christmas trees that are used to decorate the entire house. I can’t remember the number from the tour we took.

I’m going to have to continue this later. There’s more on the Biltmore, and then bookstores!