Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Road Trip: Asheville, NC {Day 2}

After a fun and very late night of dancing on Friday night, we left Saturday morning wide open for everyone to do what they pleased.  Some went to the spa, some did a little shopping, and some (meaning myself) slept in.  It was wonderful to not have to wake up to my regular 5:45 AM alarm and I was enjoying my sleep so much that I skipped right over breakfast.

That's quite alright though because our crew had planned to meet at The Cantina in the Historic Biltmore Village for lunch. It was a quick walk from the hotel and was smack dab in the middle of lots of great shopping including the Lilly Pulitzer and Lululemon stores.  The Cantina was a yummy fresh mex and tequila bar that had a wide variety of Mexican options including delicious dips and amazing margaritas.

I'm totally regretting not getting one of these margaritas, but Jen and my hubs were nice enough to let me taste theirs.  After finishing up lunch, part of our group loaded up to head to the Biltmore Estate for the afternoon.

Excited and about to begin our tour.

The Biltmore was built in the 1890's by George Vanderbilt and is still the largest privately owned house in the United States.  The chateau style estate has over 178,000 square feet and is incredibly regal in stature.  Personally I would call it a castle, not a house. ;-)

From the Biltmore's website:
The luxurious family home of George and Edith Vanderbilt is a marvel of elegance and charm, as magnificent today as it was more than a century ago. Your self-guided house visit spans three floors and the basement. You’ll see displays of vintage clothing, accessories, art, furniture, and more that tell stories and illustrate the lives of the Vanderbilt family, their guests, and employees.

We opted for the audio tour and learned so much about the history of the estate, how it was built, the furnishings and the way life was for those that lived and worked there.  It was simply amazing. Photography was prohibited inside the house, but take our word for it, it was impressive.  You can check out pictures of the interior on their website HERE.  

The exterior of the home is just as impressive as the inside.  The architectural detail is remarkable and the views are absolutely breathtaking.

The house was extraordinary, but what I loved almost more than the house were the grounds and gardens surrounding the home.  You can stroll acres of formal and informal gardens and also tour this glass roofed building that houses exotic orchids, palms and ferns just as it did years ago.

I loved the detail of these arched doors and the giant Christmas wreath.  

I can just imagine how beautiful this garden is in the spring when everything is blooming! 

Before leaving the property we visited a few of the shops, the ice cream parlor and the bakery to taste all they had to offer.

Then we wrapped up our visit with one last stroll around the astonishingly romantic estate.  

As we were leaving it was getting dark and we got to see the house lit up for Christmas.  This view was absolutely magical and the perfect way to end our day there.

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