"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I've always passed Asheville by, as I do most cities, and I know I've been missing things by doing that. I'm so glad having Nan traveling with me has given me boldness to do some things I wouldn't likely do by myself. We found a great Passport America RV park, right on the banks of the French Broad River. (Thank you, Birdie, for introducing me to PA)
Our sites on the river:
I thought about getting my kayak into the river, but we stayed too busy doing other fun things, so it didn't happen.
Things like relaxing in the shade.
And watching the water flow by...
The campground is situated in the middle of the French Broad Greenway.
And the hiking/biking trail runs right through the campground and alongside the river.
So of course, Roe and I had to check it out.
Im guessing this little space is a rain/storm shelter.
Geese under the bridge, and debris snagged by the pillar.
Plenty of spots to sit and watch or fish along the river.
Roe and me.
Nan got out her bike so she and Bear could ride the trail.
Aren't they cute?
The trail also goes a long way the other direction where there are ball fields and a dog park.

The next day we left Nan's rig and took all the fur kids to visit the Biltmore Estate.
 The approach road was all abloom with Rhododendrons and other spring flowering trees and shrubs.
 The Biltmore House was completed in 1895. With 250 rooms, it was quite an engineering feat in its time. It was built by George Vanderbilt, who lived there with his wife, Edith, and their only child, Cornelia, was born there.
Me and Nan posing with our women's forum mascot, Belle.
 One of the fountains in the wall we were standing above. Highly skilled stone carvers were the most highly paid workers the brochure explained.
 Guardians of the gates.
Gargoyles on the roof.
 The main entrance.
 Two lions were on either side of the doorway.
 Flowering dogwood
 Some other white blooms...??
No pictures were allowed inside the house, so these few I have are pictures of pictures in the tour guide. The ceiling of the banquet hall is 7 stories high. There are three fireplaces on one end, and an enormous 1913 Skinner pipe organ on the other end which was playing when we were there. Flemish tapestries from the 1500s hung on the walls. The largest dinner held seated 38 people at the oak table.
This chess table and set in the library was once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte.
70,000 gallon indoor pool was heated and had underwater lighting. Swimmers could push call buttons to  order refreshments or summon servants to help them change when they were finished.
One of the nation's first bowling alleys installed in a private residence. Since automatic pinsetters hadn't been invented, a servant would set up pins and roll the balls back. I had to hold Nan back, to keep her from rolling a ball down the alley.
One of the female servant's room in the basement.
The library contains nearly half of Vanderbilt's 23,000-volume collection. On the ceiling is "The Chariot of Aurora," painted in the 1720s by Italian artist Giovanni Pellegrini. I also saw two original Renoir paintings in another room.
We had lunch there...not in the banquet hall, but in the stable.

You can see the hay manger & watering bowl beside our table.
Belle joined us.
The food was good.
WE ran out of time and did not see all the gardens and landscaped grounds around the Estate. There are many bike, horse, and hiking trails, as well as the formal gardens. I did get to see and learn what the mountain laurel looks like. The clusters of blooms are quite impressive.
And so are the buds.
The Walled Garden

Nan took these great pictures of the roses for me.

I believe these are Palaminos in the pasture. We missed the River Bend Farm on the grounds completely.
Once a dairy, there are now vineyards and a winery.
 Bottled wine aging in the cellars.
Cool tunnel.
 Modern wine-making.

 Clock tower on the winery.
 Wine tasting.
 Grape juice is fruit of the vine, too.
Also on display was George Vanderbilt's 1913 touring car.

What the ladies wore for motoring. I just wore jeans and a sweatshirt with my tennis shoes. I'm so glad times have changed. They had to change clothes several times a day into an appropriate outfit for each of the day's activities. Of course, they had servants to do the laundry.
I'll leave you with my gift shop photo: Tiffany Glass

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