I am so happy that we decided not to skip a visit to Biltmore this time! IMHO, it seemed like a hefty admission price -- even without all the optional add-ons (of which we opted for zero) -- but now that I've visited, I can see why. The house is gorgeous and well-cared for -- loved, even. It's off-season, so there were some things happening, such as refinishing of the wood floor in one of the halls, and repairs to the walls. The walls were plastered and stenciled, so there was a craftsman touching up the paint and it was so cool to watch him for a few minutes! Spring is just barely beginning to spring, so there were obvious signs of work being done in the gardens.
Oh, the gardens!
Yes, I sprung for the tourist trap photo op!
I took a few photos inside, but honestly, it's difficult to capture -- and, sometimes, I'd just be stunned by what I was seeing that I'd just forget that I even had a camera, or know that I wouldn't be able to capture half (swimming pool, bowling alley, kitchens and store rooms).
This servant's room, with its sweet "counting sheep" garland at the foot of the bed, certainly caught my eye. It was quite a nice room, too, and the staff was paid very well (New York City wages) back in the day.
I shared an orchid-centric post on IG the other day, so I'll (mostly) spare you those photos here. The Conservatory was...
...well, it's February and we came from cold snowy Wisconsin...
...it was so warm and green and colorful! And huge.
I love that orchids can be so different. That little wisp of a thing was quite small, though not the smallest. It was just something to see, as was that BLACK variety. The orchids were mostly gathered in a specific area. There was another amazing flower at every turn!
There was also a separate room for cacti and succulents -- a cool variety of size, color, and texture.
In terms of plant life, there wasn't a whole lot happening in the gardens yet. I was enchanted by the walls with their espalier trees, and was very happy to find blooming hellebores.
The admission price also included trolley transportation to different locations/parking within the estate, and a wine tasting, which we really enjoyed. Overall, I think it would be a very different experience to visit in high summer -- there were definitely people around, but it wasn't crowded in the least and we didn't have to wait for anything.
So, that's pretty much a wrap on our Asheville highlights... except for a word or three about food.
- We enjoyed lunch at Farm Burger on Saturday, knowing that it would be good because we ate there last time, too!
- On Saturday night we went to Sierra Nevada Brewing in nearby Mills River (actually, right in between Asheville and our Airbnb)... and I cannot get over it! It wasn't even on our radar, but we saw the sign a few times and it had good reviews when we searched for nearby dinner options (plus, I'm a huge fan of SNB's Hazy Little Thing) (and now I have some swag)! It was enormous, and the drive/entry to the property was amazing (lighting shaped like hops). We had a little bit of a wait, so went upstairs to the "High Gravity" room and enjoyed a beer and some live music. Our dinner was fantastic!! Along with Biltmore, I would definitely visit SNB on another visit to the area!
- And Ingles. I remembered Ingles from last time... and, I just have to say, what a fantastic "grocery" store. I want one.
I hope you had a great weekend!