Saturday, December 17, 2022

A Visit To Biltmore House by Sandra Russell


A Tour of Biltmore House
by Sandra Russell
 
Last weekend, my sister agreed to drive me to a memorial service. She wanted to see a grand mansion located a few miles away from that event, and so we went. It was on her "bucket list" to see The Biltmore House dressed up in lights for Christmas. We got there early in the morning of our scheduled tour. The driveway to the house was over two miles long, much of it lined with low limestone walls, and neatly trimmed grass in front of thick forested hills. The entire estate takes up 8,000 acres and the views and vistas are grand.

After our tour we saw signs along the road not noticed on the way in - "Goats at work", then we saw a pasture of goats sort of lying idle. But thought must be the groundskeeper’s goats? All I can say about the house itself is that it is huge and beautiful, after climbing some of the steep stairs and feeling the muscles in the back of my legs stiff the next day, could only imagine what strength it would have taken to be a maid in that house, running water and chamber pots, laundry and firewood up and down those stairs all day!

I did enjoy seeing the greenhouses both in the house and further afield. More steps and brick pathways had us stepping through three sculpture gardens and a pergola covered in grapevines. It was a misty morning and cool, so the clear light and warm temperatures of the greenhouses filled with all manner of color combinations to see was a contrast to the foggy grey skies of early morning. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers; bulb flowers, orchids and shrubs bearing purple and pink fish shaped flowers, pineapple plants and bamboo stalks gave the feeling of being in summer, in some exotic location.

When driving home the next day and looking at the Tennessee mountains, we laughed at how much the scene looked like Chinese scroll paintings, the mountains rising so sharp and upright against the deep ravines and the clouds of the sky sitting all around us. It's been a long time since I was in the mountains, so used to our rolling hills of SE Ohio. The six-hour drive took us far from what is familiar. I have included a couple of photos I took with my phone of the Orchids at the greenhouse.

Biltmore House, Asheville, North Carolina USA
Photos by Sandra Russell





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