Friday, December 26, 2008
Biltmore @ Christmas
Around Thanksgiving I proposed that I take my wife to visit the Biltmore Estate while it was decorated for Christmas. We'd talked about visiting the Biltmore for a couple of years and sometimes you just have to say "now is the time" or things turn into "one of these days". So, I chuckled when I read my buddy, Michael (conchscooter) had visited a few days before us. But then again, we both have pretty good taste and ideas, so why am I suprised we both had a good idea?
As we were touring the Biltmore Estate, my wife commented that it would make a good blog post. I replied, "It's been done. Michael did it two days ago." But she insisted that I should post my pictures, so I yield to her prodding.
What can you say about a 175,000 square feet 255 room house sitting on an 8,000 acre estate that was originally 125,000 acres? Breath taking. The craftsmanship and the pure grandeur is overwhelming. Tapestries cover the walls of a 90-foot room. A two-story library with a circular staircase contains 10,000+ volumes. A Billard room, a banquet room worthy of Kings and Queens with a 40 foot dining table, an organ loft with a pipe organ, and in the basement a huge swimming pool and a two lane bowling alley. The tour for the common peasants views 30 of the 255 rooms. Pay more and you get to see "behind the scenes". Pay more and you get to walk on the roof.
Visitors bathrooms, dining areas, and gift shops are housed in what was once the horse stables. I dare to say that the stables and hay loft that now is a dining room exceed the quality of many U.S. homes. I bet someone somewhere is giggling that commoners pay to eat in their stables.
The visit was well worth the 3 hour drive. We will have to return again and take in the estate itself.