Friday, July 25, 2008

Le Grande Chateau

Just got home from a few days in Virginia and North Carolina, the main purpose of which was to visit the Biltmore Estate outside of Asheville, NC, a place we've always wanted to see. Well, it certainly is all it's cracked up to be. Huge. The statistics say the house covers 4 acres, totaling 175,000 square feet. It consists of 250 rooms that include 35 guest and family rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, and three kitchens, an indoor pool, a bowling alley, and exercise room. There is a self-guided audio tour that really is a must. We saw all numbers of people wandering the rooms without them and they just looked lost and confused. In spite of the self-guided tour that you can do at your own pace, the experience is quite a workout, although they don't show all 250 rooms (thank goodness). I was exhausted after the tour and we decided to save the rest of the estate for the next day, you go upstairs and downstairs and down into the cellars, and wind around and around and it takes hours. Since there is of course no photography allowed inside the house (which always disappoints me bitterly although I've learned to expect it by now), here are a few shots from outside. If you'd like to see some of the inside rooms on the tour, click here and then click on "start slide show."
This is the front door

Up the front wall are many intricate carvings

Or sitting around on the front porch

This fish reminds me of the one at Longwood; they probably knew the same fish carvers.



Beautiful containers that you'd need a team of horses to move
It really does look like a fairy tale castle. We were impressed, but decided we wouldn't have wanted to live there. First of all, it's so big that it's just out of our imagination how people actually did live there, plus you would have needed so many different outfits for all the activities and formal meals, my wardrobe couldn't handle it. Furthermore, you couldn't possibly go without your personal maid and mine recently quit. And finally, no air conditioning. Nice to see, but if I get invited, I'll just have to think up some excuse.

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