Jay and I hadn’t been on a vacation since my sister got married.
That was two years ago.
Doesn’t he look so handsome?! This picture is why I wanted him to wear a suit in the 90 degree heat!
Since this picture was taken my sister has moved to a house that has a pool. So when I told Jay that I wanted to visit her in July he reminded me of how hot it had been in June the last time. I reminded him that she had a pool… and so we headed down there on July 4th.
There was only one thing that I wanted to do when we were down there… visit the Biltmore (again). I LOVE that place! I can’t remember a single time that I’ve been told we were allowed to take pictures in the house. To be fair, you could only take pictures if you didn’t use the flash. I decided not to take pictures inside because my camera is temperamental and sometimes will flash even after I tell it not to. So I just took outside pictures, but I managed to get quite a few!
Apparently the day we decided to visit was a busy one and you had a ‘reservation time’ listed on your ticket. You weren’t allowed into the house until at least 5 minutes before your assigned time. We had about 20 minutes to kill before we had to meet for the ‘Roof Top’ tour that we had decided to take so I was able to finally see the rose garden. I was NOT disappointed!
It was laid out so nicely! The brick paths took you all the way around each section of rose bushes. I told Jay that I wanted to turn our backyard into a miniature Biltmore Rose garden. He was fine with it as long as it meant he only had to mow those little tiny swaths of grass.
There were so many different varieties and colors! Some of them were so fragrant that you could smell them as you walked by. Others you had to stick your nose right into them (which I did). There were some really pretty ones, too.
There were light pink ones…
Bright pink ones…
And even some mauvey-purple ones! This color really struck me because I’d never seen a rose this color before. I would have loved to walk around there for a while longer, but…
Jay was there just to indulge me. What do you do when you’re surrounded by gorgeous roses in the Biltmore garden? You spot planes overhead!
I think my favorite picture from this visit is this one:
You’ve got the beauty of the garden on full display with just a bit of the house sticking up in the background.
Our roof top tour was very interesting! The last time we went on the Upstairs-Downstairs tour where you get to see areas of the house that aren’t on the regular admission tour. To keep Jay’s interest I thought he might enjoy one where they talk about the actual structure of the house.
This is the front of the house. Do you see the flag pole at the top, on the left side? That’s one of the places where we went. The first place, though, was to the right… Up above where you see the roof. There’s a little bit of a pathway to walk around.
Once you got out there it was very narrow and the edge of the roof was right behind your neck. There was one spot that I thought would have been a problem to fit through if I’d been any bigger around.
The view was pretty spectacular, though.
This is the front courtyard of the house. We must have been about five stories up.
We were over-looking the glass dome of the Winter Garden.
The Biltmore is constantly being maintained. If you look at this picture you can see on the right peak that the copper is fairly new as it is blending into the slate roof, unlike the other copper that has the green patina on it due to weather. And supposedly it was good luck to rub this gargoyle’s butt.
Now, my dad is afraid of heights and so I know that he would NEVER go on this tour. We had an up-close look at the roof, though, and as soon as I saw it I thought of him. He thinks that his house has a steep roof on it. Well, take a look at this:
That roof is definitely not collecting any snow!
These are slate shingles from Pennsylvania. There was another part of the house where we could see how they were actually attached to the house. Each shingle has a set of holes drilled in at the top where copper wire is fed through in order to tie them onto a piece of wood. Each row of shingles was placed on that wood in Pennsylvania and then shipped to the building site where they were installed.
We left that side of the roof and crossed over to where the flag stands that you saw in the earlier picture.
That’s where we saw the alien spaceship.
Hmmm… or it is the support for the huge chandelier that hangs down with the grand staircase winding around it. I tried looking for some pictures online that I could post without worrying about copyrights, but I couldn’t find any quickly. Remember, this was the first time I’ve ever been told that I’m allowed to take pictures! I didn’t want to press my luck. If you do a quick image search online you’ll find tons of interior pictures. You should take a look. It’s very impressive!
This dome is gray because they had just recently painted it with what appeared to be an epoxy coating of some sort that will help to keep the water out. When you go inside and look you can see all of the damage that has been done by water leaking in from this area.
Yet again, the view was quite spectacular from this perch. Here we are looking down towards the rose garden where we had explored earlier.
And of course there is the infamous promenade that leads up to the house. At the very back of the picture, at the end of the strip of mowed grass, there is an area where quite a few weddings take place. You can find pictures online from these various wedding and engagement shoots. I can’t even begin to imagine how much that would cost!
Speaking of cost, here is a feature that you can find all along the roof line of the house. It is the symbol that George Vanderbilt used for himself. What you can’t really see is that all of the raised design used to be covered with gold leafing. Can you imagine? When it was brand new it must have blinded anybody who looked at it from just the right angle. What is the saying about more money than brains…
So, pretty much that’s how our tour of the Biltmore ended. It was very interesting and I enjoyed the gardens immensely. I suppose we’ll have to wait a few more years before we go back so that the tour will hopefully be changed up a bit. I believe that every so often they change the tours and what is shown based on what is being renovated or repaired.
Other than visiting the Biltmore we just lounged around my sister’s pool.
I had purchased a book for Jay and he read the entire thing while we were there. It was a decent size book, too.
It was a very relaxing get away that Jay and I both needed. I can’t wait to go back.