The Biltmore House was built by George Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a self-made man who one might say achieved the American Dream by becoming the wealthiest industrialist of mid-19th century America. The house was completed in 1895 after six years' of construction, which I find amazing considering the amount of elaborate detail throughout the house. Massive fireplaces--no two alike, it seemed; ornately carved woodwork; antique tapestries and priceless artwork on the walls . . . the whole effect left me awe-struck, walking around each room slowly so as not to miss a single detail. I found myself asking many questions of the docents available in each area and found the history of the estate and the Vanderbilt family fascinating.
|View of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the balcony of the house|
At the far end of the walled garden, steps led down to a conservatory filled with all kinds of lush plants.
As you travel further from the house, the landscape becomes much more informal. A fellow blogger checks out this striking conifer, a Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar. I wish I had explored a little further, because seeing photos on other blogs I realize I missed some beautiful sights. But there was so much to see and do, it was hard to take it all in in a few hours.
Besides, we didn't want to miss the garden party! Here Skeeter (center), her husband The Saint, and Laura enjoy the champagne provided by the Biltmore. The Biltmore was one of the Fling's sponsors and not only provided free access to the gardens for us, but also some other goodies.