Before leaving for England I made hotel reservations for a quick trip to Asheville, North Carolina when I returned. The 'Dressing Downton' exhibition was at Biltmore through May 25th, and I wanted to see it. After my England trip, I had nine days to catch my breath, get caught up on household chores, and then I was off again - this time with my hubby.
Downton costumes go hand-in-hand with Highclere Castle, so it was fun to make comparisons between the castle and Biltmore. Highclere was completely finished in 1878 [construction began in 1842], making it 173 years old. Biltmore was completed in 1895 [construction began in 1890], making it 125 years old.
Highclere Castle now sits on 1,000 acres of land in Newbury, West Berkshire, England, while the Biltmore currently sits on 8,000 acres in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Highclere is 120,000 sq. ft. with about 200 rooms, 50 of which are bedrooms. The Biltmore is 175,000 sq. ft. [that's four acres of floor space!] with 250 rooms, and 35 are bedrooms. There's no count given for water closets at Highclere, but Biltmore has 43 bathrooms. Biltmore is America's largest private house built by George Vanderbilt. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
Saturday, May 23rd was a beautiful day in Asheville. Our tour of the mansion and costume exhibition was scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
We arrived at Approach Road at 9:00 a.m.
We drove to the parking lot, and boarded a shuttle to the mansion. It was early, so tourists were minimal [that changed as the day progressed, however].
Here's Biltmore! Its facade is 375 feet - longer than a football field! Even though I visited in 2012, I looked forward to seeing the mansion again.
South terrace just off the library.
Spreading trees with vine-like trunks provide a covering for the terrace.
At the far end of the terrace is a tea house which I didn't know about in 2012.
~ Looking up at the terrace ~
~ Back view ~
~ Front of Biltmore ~
Mr. Vanderbilt saw a 16th century French castle with an exterior spiral staircase, and photographed it for Biltmore.
~ At 10:00 a.m. we went inside for the tour. Alcove leading up to the entrance. ~
~ Biltmore Greeter ~
Entrance Hall. No photography was allowed beyond this point inside the house.
To be continued...