Without boring you to tears here is a very brief background on the Vanderbilt's and Biltmore Estate.
George Vanderbilt III (he was not married when he began building the house, I would call this the ultimate bachelor's pad wouldn't you) opened Biltmore on Christmas Eve in 1895.
It still maintains the title of the largest private residence in the United States. It took six years to build. The total floor space of the estate is 4 acres, y’all want to vacuum that???? The mansion has a total of 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms, 33 family an guest rooms, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens, and indoor swimming pool as well as the very first bowling alley built inside a private residence.
In 1650 Jan Aertsen van der Bilt emigrated to the United States. The family did not become the American industrial icon’s until Cornelius Vanderbilt began the family empire, legend has it that he borrowed $100.00 for his mother and then launched a ferry service across New York Bay which he eventually turned into a fleet of ships and the rest is a story of multi-millions of dollars.
George Vanderbilt named Biltmore by combining two words: "Bildt," the region in Holland where the Vanderbilt family originated, and "more," an old English word meaning upland rolling hills.
If you click on the link below it will take you to the official website. There is a short slide show of some of the rooms inside the house.
I have to share that I was very disappointed in the rule they have of NOT allowing photographs inside the house. It was defiantly and exercise in restrain and obedience not try to sneak a few shots while the “Official Biltmore No Picture Taking Police” were in view. I did however restrain myself and followed the rules, even if it was really really hard. I would highly recommend purchasing a guide book. It was $12 and it has lots of information about the estate as well as very good photographs of all the high points through out the house.
So since I have no pictures I will try to describe the experience as best as I can.
I have to share with all of you that being the decorating challenged individual that I am I found Biltmore to be a bit overwhelming, the sheer scale of the massive undertaking to get each room decorated for Christmas made my head swim.
There was a fully decorated tree in each room. Not to mention the HUGE 40 foot Frasier Fur tree in the massive dinning room. Y’all I have never in all my life seen anything as beautiful as that tree. The tree was so big, all the ornaments were full size wrapped present. Big ones too!
Some of the larger rooms had multiple tress in them. All the various fireplace mantles were all decorated and there was NOT one repetition. Each room was decorated with a different theme as well as color coordinated to match the decor of the room.
It really did defy description. There were massive amounts of potted poinsettias, in every variety there was, some varieties of poinsettias I had never even seen before. They had poinsettias that had been trained to grow like topiaries (I really wanted to take a picture of that, they were amazing). There were writhes, garland and bows
oh my galore.
If I had to pick which rooms were my favorite I would have to say the library was pretty amazing and then the main dinning room. But it was all beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And then to add to the experience! What are the odds of visiting the largest, most beautifully decorated house in the country and coincidentally have close to 10 inches of snow on the ground to complete the perfect “Biltmore White Christmas Experience”?
I will say that at times the snow was a bit problematic but over all it was beautiful to look at and my DD and niece had a wonderfully splendid time tromping and frolicking about in the ankle deep fluffy wintry fun.
There were two of these proud lions majestically guarding either side of the massive entry way to the house.
And this is the final picture I was able to snap just prior to entering the main foyer, you will just have to use you imagination and picture yourself surrounded on every side by the most beautiful Christmas fantasy you can ever possibly imagine.
The stable were off to the right side of the house which had been converted into shops and there was a small food court as well as pubic restrooms. The food court was in a small courtyard protected from the wind. They had those big outside space heaters in various places. With the sun shinning down it was really quite comfortable to sit at one of these table and have a rest for a bit!
The had several gift shops and yes I did my fair share to support the local tourist economy. The had a wonderful Christmas Shoppe and our tree now has several new addition from our visit to Biltmore.
We took a very brief tour of the winery and then enjoyed the complimentary tasting that is offered after the tour. The DD and my niece enjoyed a complementary grape juice tasting while we enjoyed our sips of wine. There was a wonderful Bistro where we had lunch, a warm bowl of French Onion Soup and Brick Oven Pizza’s and then we headed over to the Wine Store and…YES we did come home with a few bottles of wine. I will say that most of the wine I tried was very good. The Winery is now in what used to be the dairy farm, follow the link above if you want more information on the winery.
Y’all there was so much to see and take in I know I m leaving a lot of important stuff out. Needless to say if you ever get the opportunity to travel to North Carolina I would highly recommend a stop at The Biltmore House!
I will close for today with this video (just over 5 minutes in length) of our time at Biltmore.
Next up…“The Conservatory” and can I just say for as beautiful as the decorations and the house were I was very excited about the Conservatory.
It was AWESOME!
P.S: I commented to the Hubs the other day that since we now have a Wii
the DD Christmas present this allows us to have a Bowling Alley in our own home, just like the Vanderbilt's. I will be pondering what to rename my house…something fitting the prestige and stature it deserves, hmmmmm, that’s me pondering…..