My mom’s birthday is on May 4th, which means her birthday and Mother’s Day are usually about a week apart. This year, though, they fell closely enough together that we could make a weekend of it. So I loaded up the car and headed to Asheville!
I’d never been to Biltmore, and it had been years since Mom had, so we decided to do the whole touristy thing. We went on a Friday, and it was a lot of fun! The weather was gorgeous, if a little cold – but the temperature (mid 50s) and the fact that it was a weekday meant pretty much no crowds.
If you’ve never been to Biltmore, one thing to know is there are a LOT of stairs. More than I was expecting, which is silly, but I don’t know what I was thinking. Or not thinking. And we did a lot of walking. My Fitbit was happy – Mom, not so much. I think I clocked just under 4 miles all together, and we didn’t really wander the gardens.
Speaking of the gardens, I was pretty underwhelmed. I mean, yeah, they were prettier than MY yard, but I’ve seen prettier gardens. The conservatory was cool though.
It was super muggy in there, so if you’re planning on going in the summer, you might rethink that. But the plants were really neat. There was a ….something…. with leaves the size of easy chairs. I took pictures, but my phone was fogging up so none of them are very good. You’ll just have to visit and see them for yourself! Nothing was labeled, and there weren’t any staffers around, so I have no idea what plants we saw. Lots of them.
I didn’t get a picture of the front of the house, but I did get the Grand Staircase. It’s actually more interesting on the outside than the inside.
And here’s a side view.
And when you turn around from looking at the side of the house, you see……
Gorgeous. You can see this view from just about every window in the house. It’s incredible.
We wandered under this awesome little walkway to get from the gardens to the house. I loved the columns.
And let me tell you – taking selfies with your mother is an incredibly entertaining experience. Try it sometime. (“Why am I supposed to look at that dot and not the screen?”)
Some nice gentleman took pity on us and snapped this surprisingly great shot.
I didn’t take too many pictures inside, because, well…the lighting was dim and I was more interested in seeing it through my eyes than my camera.
The whole time though, all I could think was how much it looked like Downton Abbey. I’ve recently gotten into the show, and am in the second season, so don’t spoil it for me. It was really neat to walk through Biltmore after having watched some of the show, because it was almost like having Biltmore and Downton brought to life.
That was probably my biggest complaint – we didn’t do the audio tour for various reasons. Honestly, it should be included in the price – you pay enough to get in there, you shouldn’t have to pay an extra $11 for audio narration, but whatever. Since we didn’t have the audio, we were essentially just looking at rooms. There wasn’t anything telling us what we were looking at really, other than a sign indicating what room it was. I think I’d have missed a lot if I hadn’t had the show to draw from. So if you go to Biltmore, you can pay for the audio or you can watch Downton Abbey. 🙂
What is nice, though, is that admission includes the Biltmore Village, where the winery is. And the winery has a tasting room where you can sample as many Biltmore wines as you’d like. For free. The wines weren’t terrible, but they weren’t worth the price tag (average was $17/bottle). But the tasting is fun.
After the winery we were pretty hungry, and I wanted to try the Biltmore beers, so we had dinner at Cedric’s Tavern. Biltmore brews two beers – a pale ale and a brown ale. I tried both, wasn’t super impressed with the pale, but the brown was good. I also had a killer reuben.
Saturday we were pretty tired, so we kept it low-key…pedicures and antique shopping at the Tobacco Barn. I had to convince myself that Jimmie didn’t need a $1700 Oriental Monkey Chair.
I’m still not sure I made the right choice…