Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014-11 Asheville North Carolina (Week 2)


Asheville North Carolina (week 2)

Campground:  See previous report

Asheville North Carolina, you don't see many murals
around the city so I thought this one stood out

We’ve had a couple days of cooler weather and some rain, but since I’m here for almost three weeks it doesn’t hurt to have a few down days.  Just cozy up to a good book, turn the fireplace on and some good music and that’s how we full timers enjoy those cool rainy days.

Hominy Valley Rv Park

I’ve enjoyed a few buffet type meals as they are very popular here in the south.  Usually pretty good meals and the price is good as well.  Surprisingly good Mexican restaurants as well.  Tupelo Honey’s a restaurant in downtown Asheville is always a favorite.

On Monday with the sun back out I headed into Asheville to learn more about the city and take a trolley tour.  Something I always recommend in towns like this as it gives the tourist a chance to scope out the city without having to do all the driving.  The tour begins at the Visitors Center.  We toured the historic home district, downtown, the arts district etc.  Well except our trolley stopped running ¾ of the way through the tour.  The gas pedal fell off.

Historic district homes

view from trolley

one of the first mental health clinics

Historic District

first highrise

waiting for a second trolley to come pick us up

Vanderbilt had this church built

My next big tour was to the Biltmore Estate.  Have you been there?  This is my third time with a lot of time in-between my last visits.  I was excited to do the main tour which you can take as a self paced tour.  I recommend getting the audio for an extra $10 to learn about each of the rooms as you go through them.  Of course you probably know it’s the largest private home in the United States and is still in the Vanderbilt/Cecil family.  General admission, special Architectural tour and audio, total cost:  $75.97

Biltmore Estate, largest private home in the U.S.

I learned some great facts and tidbits about the home and will list some of them here:

  • Built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt
  • It took six years to build, mainly of steel and brick covered with limestone and slate roof
  • 250 rooms, 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces
  • The first home in the area to have electricity.  They didn’t know whether AC or DC electric would win out as it had just recently been invented.  So Vanderbilt had both AC and DC lines installed throughout the house to take advantage of which ever system won out.  Starting out using DC, Thomas Edison built their power plant.
  • It takes a staff of 1,800 employees run the place today.  Yearly taxes alone is 5 million dollars.  I estimate they bring in over 65 million dollars in ticket sales alone each year.
  • The main dining room is seven stories high.
  • The salon and music room were not completed at the time the building was completed.  The music room was completed in 1976 and this is the first time I’ve seen it.  During WWII, The National Art gallery in Washington had many paintings removed and hidden in this unfinished room for safe keeping, after the war the paintings were returned to Washington DC.
  • The home has an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley.
  • 29 foot deep foundations and footings took two years to complete.
  • When completed George had run out of money.  Opps

It is definitely one of the best preserved homes I’ve seen and it was a joy to have the time to spend at my own pace exploring the home.  The tapestries, The Renoir paintings, the Library, so much beauty to see and explore.  I particularly loved a basement room called the Halloween Room.  The old stone walls painted with colorful scenes painted by the guests for a New Years party.  The room now contains great photos of the construction of the home.

To see some of the Interior shots of the home go to the Biltmore Estate website.

The Biltmore also has a great winery which I hope to get to in a few days.  I ran out of energy on this tour.

the Architectural tour went behind the scenes

courtyard dining in the old stable area

the gardens are in full bloom this time of year

our Architectural tour started here

and continued on the roof

wonderful detail everywhere we look

it's way down there

servants each had a private room on the top floors

I think I can fit through there

gargoyles once thought to scare off evil spirits 

the great lawn out front

Vanderbilt once owned all the land to the mountains 

I’m spending my time here just enjoying the mountain scenery, driving around town and exploring side streets just to get a feel for the area.  I’ve got to tell you, the many neighborhoods surrounding the city have the neatest little bodegas, restaurants, coffee shops and small businesses tucked into these neighborhoods.  After the Memorial Day weekend, I’ll explore some of the surrounding towns and drive a bit more along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Toured the Grove Park Inn
view of Asheville from the Grove Park Inn/golf course

more pictures of downtown Asheville on PICASA

1 comment:

walterterry said...

Great pics! Thanks