After our flight from the UK, a surprisingly good night followed by breakfast at Crowne Plaza hotel although vouchers had to be asked for at reception, they hadn’t been given out at check-in. Phillip & I go to collect car at airport which involved a bus shuttle and a two stop train ride.
On way up north to Asheville, stopping for lunch at an Arby’s and arriving at about 4pm just in time for afternoon tea on the verandah.
Rooms, overlooking the estate’s grounds, are a bit beige and with a pelmet over the bath but very spacious and with an exceptionally comfortable bed. Dinner in the Library tonight.
The hotel, called the Inn at Biltmore is a fantastic modern building with style and with views over miles and miles of trees.
The tree colours are still mainly green, but some yellows and reds are appearing, maybe we are a tad too early for the best colours.
91 years of married life (between the 4 of us) is celebrated today and after breakfast we venture on the shuttle to Biltmore House itself for an audio tour.
A quite fabulous building created by Mr Vanderbilt at the turn of the last century with sumptuous rooms, a considerable art collection and tapestries that are unique and, in some cases, over 500 years old.
The downside is that the house is crowded to the extent that you have to wait for up to 5 minutes to get into some of the rooms. The audio commentary is very good, but the whole process is a bit of a victim of it’s own success. I would hate to be there when it is high season.
Despite this, a place worthwhile going to and probably best to go on opening at 9am or at about 3pm as 2 hours should be sufficient and the house closes at 5pm.
So many lovely things to describe and no photography allowed so had to buy the coffee table book to remember the rooms by. Very well worth the time to visit if you are in the area.
Wall to wall blue sky and we venture down to the gardens with it’s roses that are now sadly past their best, the pristine rows of miniature chrysanthemums in various colours and orchids in the greenhouse to name but a few species.
Much much more as well but we were flagging by now so we returned to the hotel for more drinks on the verandah just outside a very long room with great lighting.
Dinner in the main dining room tonight (bookings essential) as it is a special occasion.
A wonderful atmospheric misty morning soon gives way to wall to wall sunshine again although a bit colder than yesterday.
“Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier”. A somewhat famous line from the 1956 film about Davy Crockett, a cowboy, Indian sympathiser and US politician from the 180s.
His birthplace is recorded by a visitor centre and a replica house on the banks of the Nolichucky River about an hour and a half north from Asheville and is the target for our visit today.
Once out of the Estate and Asheville, we head North on Interstate 24 climbing ever higher until we have to turn off onto small roads past scattering so of clapboard houses mostly small but occasionally interspersed by brick built ones and some grander properties. Apart from a few, all seemed to be well looked after.
Trip advisor had a report saying signage to the museum and state park was poor so we were grateful for the SatNav (GPS) although it did send us past the entrance before advising we had reached our destination!
Museum closed for lunch! We instead, visit the replica house, eat some of our lunch, watch squirrels, and watch the water trickle by on the river before the museum re-opened.
More information provided inside as well as displays of some of the “boys toys” from the 1950s when the TV shows were in their prime and we sat down to watch a brief History Channel report on him.
Not a major attraction but well presented with knowledgeable staff.
Return the same way, stopping for a few photographs (is that tobacco growing in the fields?) and for a drink (the homemade lemonade was reported as being fabulous) at a wonderful village store where three old gents were seated at the bar talking in their wonderful Southern drawl.
Past so many pumpkins by the side of the road and even more trees beginning to turn orange and red, we arrive back in Asheville around rush hour but still get to a shop Sarah wanted us to go to for supplies and then a Chinese at the nearby P F Chang’s. No booking needed but a very crowded and obviously popular restaurant.
Back at hotel, we are tired but room key won’t work and safe won’t open. Two staff members battle for about 5 minutes to get it open but apparently it was my fault for putting something near the door when we shut it and the safe thought it wasn’t shut properly!
Not such a misty morning but chilly. Check out and head to the village for a brief look around the history part and then to the wine tasting. Only three sampled as I am driving but they are nice and we buy three bottles for drinking when we get to Florida later this month.
Head for the Blue Ridge Parkway for some wonderful colours although we are told they will be at their best in about a week’s time. That blog will have to wait until later – watch this space!