When we first arrived I was awe-struck as the home came in to view, it sort of just jumped out at you. This past Saturday we visited America's Largest Home*, Biltmore Estate. In 1888 George Vanderbilt II visited the Great Smokey Mountains and it was at that time he decided to build a 'winter retreat' right here in North Carolina. A winter retreat which has 250 rooms!?!? With our timed entry tour we were able to see four floors within the house, although that didn't include every room on each of the floors. There are still many areas in the home which have yet to be restored. As you can see in the photo the grounds were crawling with visitors, you could barely get around without bumping elbows with a stranger. After a number of cell phone calls and uncoordinated instructions we finally met up with Mom and Rick at the house. The weather began as a less than favorable cloudy, gray, and semi-rainy day that after some time cleared up to reveal beautiful blue skies. I am positive that it was all because I was constantly chanting "blue skies, blue skies" during the entire tour of the house. I got terribly excited when I noticed the change taking place while touring through the house; that turned the whole day around for me. The tour was self-guided but still took a while to shuffle through since it was one long line that meandered in and out of every floor. I felt like I was waiting in line for a ride at Universal Studios, the only difference here being that the people were less sweaty! In the beginning they supplied you with small books which briefly explained each room you passed along the way. We waived the option to get a set of headphones which gave you further explanation with stories behind the rooms being toured, maybe next time we visit we'll get a pair. I absolutely have to go back when the gardens are in full bloom, and when less people are in attendance. There were so many different things to see and do while at the estate, it would be nearly impossible to take advantage of it all in just one day. The most disappointing part of the visit was the fact that you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the home. It was explained that flashes can deteriorate the artwork........which is understandable.
Mr. Vanderbilt was quite an avid collector of fine art, the mansion housed antiques, Oriental rugs, tapestries, and various artworks, some of which who are very renowned artists. The house was beautifully decorated; my favorite room was Mrs. Vanderbilts. I can't wait to go back and explore the house and grounds a little further in the near future. I do have some more photos to share so be sure to check back later in the week, thanks.
*Still privately owned