Sunday, November 1, 2009

Asheville, NC

Last week, we decided that we wanted to go somewhere autumn-y. It's absolutely our favorite season, and there are plenty of places within driving distance that would make for fairly economical vacations. So we decided on a long weekend to Asheville, NC. We have both been wanting to go to the Biltmore Estate for a while, and Western NC is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places to go during the fall.

Our first visit (and the main reason why we went) was to the Biltmore Estate. Words cannot describe how incredible this place was. The house (which is the largest private residence in the U.S.) has over 250 rooms. And, as luck would have it, they already had most of their Christmas decorations up! So we got to see the home essentially during two times of the year: during fall and during Christmas. To all those who have been before, I want to tell you that I am absolutely in love with two places: the banquet hall and Edith Vanderbilt's bedroom. That crazy "dining room" was over seven stories tall and had the flags of all the original 13 colonies. And Mrs. Vanderbilt's room was breathtaking--everything was decorated in bright rich gold fabrics and velvet. Can you imagine waking up to that every day? We also learned a lot about Mr. Vanderbilt--he really seems like he was a great guy. He was a devout Christian who gave much of his fortune away to build churches and homes for others. He would pick up poor people from bad parts of town (often times black people, who at the time had not received their rights) and bring them to his home to work. He took great care of his employees, always making sure they had great food and ample time off. He also brought their families in at Christmas time and gave their children gifts. What a great guy. I told JC that I would have married him if I had been around then. ;-) If you have never been to the Biltmore Estate, I would consider this a necessary trip at some point. You will love it! Just make sure you splurge and get the audio tour ($10 extra) as it gives you tons of information you wouldn't otherwise know. It was definitely worth it.

This was the view from a balcony. Apparently the land wasn't nearly as tree-spotted when George Vanderbilt had the estate built. The man in charge of landscaping recommended that they plant tons of trees, wanting it to look like it does now (he even though of this a hundred years in advance). I think they said it was close to one million trees that they planted. That sounds like a lot, but when the estate stretches over 8,000 acres, I guess it's possible.

Out on one of the balconies. They wouldn't let us take any pictures inside, which was a real shame.

JC and I in front of the Biltmore Estate.

Doesn't it make you want to watch Cinderella? Or some other princess movie...

These leaves had covered the sidewalks on Wall St.

A close up of the gorgeous ginkgo trees that lined the streets.

Some pretty trees hanging over the a side street.

Up on Blue Ridge Parkway.

Isn't it beautiful?! It was raining and misty, but it was still incredible.

The doggies sleeping in the back seat on the way back.

Ah! Don't you just love fall? I do! It really is the best time of year. I told JC that it's so amazing to think about how gracious God was to give us four distinct seasons, each with different weather and different ways to enjoy it. Hope you are enjoying your fall season!

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