Change of plans for today. Rather than do the locomotive trip since the day was not sunny but cool and overcast, we decided to do the Biltmore Estate instead. It was a good choice.
The Biltmore Estate was built by George Vanderbuilt from 1890 to 1896. According to our guide, it took 6 years to complete. What an amazing piece of architecture, not only building wise but landscape wise. The land was decimated due to over farming and Olmstead (landscape architect of Central Park) planted trees and plants all over the 125,000 acres so now it is a lush forest with some beautiful trees and shrubs. The rhododendren are absolutely huge!
We toured the home which was built out of Indiana limestone. The carving of grotesque and gargoyles were done in place, not carved elsewhere and then mounted in their various locations. The grandstaircase is a sight to behold. The furniture was interesting. We signed up for an additional “roof top” tour which took us to rooms and on the roof of the estate which are not included in the regular tour. That was amazingly cool because we got to see rooms and hiden doors that were not restored yet.
The most interesting parts of the tour as far as the hubster and I were concerned were the servants quarters in the basement, the indoor swimming pool, the gymanasium (which was available to men only), and the opportunity to see the roof rafters. Each slate tile was tied with 15 gauge wire to an iron bar than ran across the roof. The copper pieces on the peaks of the roof act as a natural cleansing agent as they discolor and rain hits them.
Afterwards we ate lunch a the train depot in Biltmore Village, where we browsed the quaint shops. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a huge shoe store where I finally found a pair of sandals that fit and were comfortable. This after a 2 year search! The hubster also found comfy shoes in his size, an 8 EEEE. :o)
We went to the movies too, something we don’t do very often. We saw the Pixar movie Cars. It was really cute! It is always so amazing to see how creative those animation artists are.
And so ends another day. Tomorrow we’re not sure what we’re gonna go. Perhaps venture forth into some of the smaller surrounding towns. Then Thursday will be the locomotive trip. We were able to get reserved tickets.