After checking in to the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville and having a short rest, I began to plan for the rest of my day.
I wanted to pack in as many local sights as I could possibly see in the little time I would be in Asheville. So, what’s the main thing that people who visit Asheville consistently have on the top of their list? The Biltmore Estate.
Now, the Biltmore Estate is a large private estate that was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, a member of the wealthy and socially powerful Vanderbilt family, between 1889 and 1895.
George Vanderbilt first visited Asheville in 1888 and was captivated by the area’s natural beauty. He decided to build a country home there and enlisted the services of architect Richard Morris Hunt to design the house. Hunt modeled the house after the chateaux of the Loire Valley in France and incorporated a mix of architectural styles, including Renaissance, Gothic, and French Renaissance.
The construction of the Biltmore Estate began in 1889 and employed over 1,000 workers. The house features 250 rooms, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. It’s impressive, to say the least.
The Biltmore Estate was opened to the public in 1930 by George Vanderbilt’s daughter, Cornelia. Today, the Biltmore Estate is still a stunning example of the Gilded Age and remains one of the most impressive private residences in the United States. And I wanted to see it.
I purchased a ticket and made my way to the estate.
Now, along with jet lag and how large the estate is, I miscalculated how long it would take me to get from my hotel to the estate parking lot. Big time. Also, when I arrived, I was absolutely overwhelmed with how expansive and beautiful the property was.
It was absolutely beautiful. So beautiful that when I stopped taking photos and made my way to the ticketed entrance, I was shocked to be told that the last entrance time already happened and that the door was closed.
Luckily, I was able to talk my way into getting my entrance fee refunded. I tried to see the bright side of things as I walked around the grounds.
I explored the carriage house turned into gift shop area. I bought some caramels, played with my camera and marveled at how blue the sky was in contrast to the snow.
I bought some bonbons for gifts and a delicious gooey salted caramel for myself. After sauntering back to my rental, I began the expansive drive around the property, to the exit.
The landscapes I captured with my camera helped with my jet lag.
The upside to missing my entrance time? I was able to capture the beauty of the estate as the sun set among the trees. I was memorized by the beauty of the wide open space.
Living in Los Angeles, it’s too easy to get trapped by the concrete jungle and sparse trees along the sidewalk. You visually become trained to expect it – this vibrant city life. You can tend to forget that there’s a whole wide world on the other side of the United States.
If you allow yourself to remove politics and history from it all and just focus on the landscape, you can see how beautiful the land is.
Sometimes, I prefer the Earth over people.
One Lodge Street
Asheville, North Carolina 28803