Along with our brewery tour, the only other definite event that we wanted to schedule in our mini vacation was a day trip to the Biltmore Estate. Because of course you can't go to Asheville without a stop at the ridiculous mansion built by a Vanderbilt 120 years ago.
Seriously, this house is such an amazing piece of architecture with all of the wood, tile, and plaster details that it took my breath away. Just check out this herringbone tile ceiling in the entryway of the home.
Vanderbilt had a winter garden put in so that he could enjoy flowers and greenery all year round. It makes a huge impact - doubly so since it is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.
Right after leaving the winter garden, I was informed that I couldn't take pictures inside the house. What the what?! After Craig revived me from my near-death state, I soldiered on and loved it but found so many details that I would have killed to capture. Like the staircase. Oh, the staircase! Darn you, Vanderbilts, for not allowing photography. Ugh!
So, of course the first chance I got to go outside to a sitting area I whipped out my camera and got happy again. Temporarily, at least.
On the way down to the basement I did sneak a quick pic of the cellar walls. Talk about a safe place to go during storms! These walls are 4 foot thick stone. Seriously beefy.
Right off of the library which housed around, oh 10,000 books, there was a covered porch. Check out the trees that were the base for some gorgeous canopied greenery.
Vanderbilt seems like he was nice enough guy, but you know he had more money than sense when he built himself a "pond" that is the size of Lake freakin' Pontchartrain. Ok, maybe not quite that big, but you get the idea. It is fully stocked, too, with fish that apparently have no natural predator. Pretty lucky fish since I bet no one fishes in there anymore.
The Biltmore is like America's castle. A modernized one, complete with indoor plumbing, an indoor pool, gymnasium, and bowling alley. And about a thousand bedrooms to suit any decorative fancy.
We also toured the gardens and the surrounding winery, which I will bring to you next so stay tuned!