Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wonderful Weekend : Asheville, NC - Biltmore Part Four

I know you are probably tired of hearing about the Biltmore Estate so I swear this is the last post dedicated to it. Scouts honor.

In addition to the mansion, the gardens, the "pondlake", and the extensive trails and forested land, there is also a section of the Biltmore Estate that contains things like a winery, stables, woodworking shop, blacksmith, and a museum. No seriously.

Our tickets to tour the estate included lunch vouchers at one of the restaurants on property, Deerpark Restaurant.

This place used to house the cows for the dairy farming, but they have since retrofitted the building to be a really cool dining facility. Check it.

And the food was absolutely incredible! It was a buffet style, which I'll admit, I was a little disappointed to see...until I took my first bite and then decided they could have my second born. {I'm a little attached to Canon and I probably won't have a second child so it seemed like an easy trade.}

I was really excited to tour the winery, which included a complimentary wine tasting. Not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed with the tasting because it seemed so...clinical. There were a ton of people standing around tall bar areas with probably 20 bartenders and you had to strain to hear what your bartender was telling you. Not nearly as fancy or even cozy as I was hoping for, but at least I got some wine.

Oh look, more flower pictures. Sorry about that guys, I just can't help myself.

We hit up the stables next and found this guy staring at us. Just a little disturbing, really.

We found the blacksmith in his work station doing what he does best - putting on a show. Don't let that fool you, though. He is an honest-to-goodness blacksmith who does all of the metal work for the estate. Very entertaining, though. He even made a leaf out of the metal rod while we stood watching. Really talented guy, this one.

Before leaving, we had to take one last look at the house. We actually went back to view a statue that we had failed to see on the first go-round, but found that a wedding was being held at that location so we roamed around until we found the perfect viewing area of the mansion without crashing the marital party.

We really had a lovely time touring this magnificent work of art. The entire estate almost literally took our breath away at every turn, and I would return again just to find details that I missed during our first run. Plus, apparently they host a race every year that Craig is really itching to run. If he twists my arm, I may even run/walk with him.


I crack myself up.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wonderful Weekend : Asheville, NC - Biltmore Part Three

Did I mention that there is a butt-load of acreage on the Biltmore Estate? Did I? Yes. Yes, I did. Here I am to show you more. Get ready, people. There is plenty to see.

Apparently, when people have more money than sense, they can create magical wonderlands simply for pleasure's sake. Case in point? This amazing, yet completely unnecessary, arched tunnel.

It connects one side of the walking trail to the other because...tunnel.

Though it seems like the flowers and plants grow somewhat randomly throughout the property, we learned that everything was planted in a specific place purposefully. The landscape architect, Frederick Law Olstead, actually planned the placement of all of the plants to envoke specific feelings depending on the location along the walking path. Let me tell you...he was really good. If you are into that sort of thing. Which I am.

Ooooh, look at my handsome hubby striking a pose.

Along with the walking trails and forested land, there is a lake {They called it a pond. It definitely isn't.} that you can stroll by and sit along the benches provided to enjoy the stillness of it all. We stayed here for quite a while.

I was so fascinated by this bridge. I mean, how much time, energy, and money did it take to mold bricks into a rounded formation for this top?

Although we specifically placed a rule against hiking on this particular trip as it was supposed to be nothing but relaxing, we found ourselves taking a wooded trail from the lake back to the house. My ballet flats weren't necessarily ideal for the trek, but the vegetation left nothing to be desired.

This is like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Craig.

Last but not least, I will leave you with my favorite flower of the trip. I don't know what it is, but I want to be friends with it. I think I might be in love.

Check in tomorrow to see what else I have to share. Don't worry. If you aren't in to nature photos, there will be something in it for you too.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wonderful Weekend : Asheville, NC - Biltmore Part Two

Aside from having a ridiculous mansion, the Biltmore Estate is known for its immaculate garden and grounds. I'm talking thousands of acres of amazing flora and fauna to feast your eyes upon. If you could walk that much...which you can't. At least in a day. In any case, for a girl that loves taking nature photography, I was in heaven during this part of our tour.

Along with paths and trails to walk the grounds with strategically placed plants, there was a more formal garden, complete with conservatory. Talk about breathtaking blooms!

The rose garden alone boasts over 1400 roses. Normally I don't love roses, but some of these were so beautiful I just couldn't stand it.

Of course, no trip to a legit garden and conservatory is complete without a facebook picture update. Right, babe?

The conservatory had sections of plants types, from tropical to arid and everything in between.

Check out this lovely lady. I mean, seriously, how creative is that?!

Although there was a sign indicating this type of plant, I don't remember what it was. I do, however, remember how I stood staring at it for a while because I thought it was so interesting. You would think for someone that loves taking photos of plants and flowers so much that I would know more about them. Nope, I can't identify them and I certainly can't keep them alive. I just like to shoot them and leave them. I'm a black {thumb} widow, baby.

For those of you that enjoy photos of nature as much as I do, please join me next week for more views of our wanderings of the Biltmore Estate grounds. For those of you that don't like them...well, get over it and come back anyway. Please.