Friday, May 28, 2010

The Biltmore Estate

Most visitors come to the Estate for the House.   Soaring Gothic design, artisan workmanship, 250+ rooms including 34 family and guest bedrooms and almost as many servant quarters.  43 bathrooms with indoor plumbing, built at a time when a flush was still a novelty in the mountains. 

A glass-roofed Winter Garden room where family and guests sat amid greenery in the cold of winter.  

They exercised in a well-equipped gym, a bowling alley and a 70,000 gallon indoor swimming pool.  

It took 3 kitchens to feed the household and 2 laundries to do the wash when the Vanderbilts were in residence.

This was one of my favorite views. A hint of life's coil. 

But the Estate's lands took my heart.  Frederick Law Olmsted, father of American landscape architecture, started with 125,000 acres of overgrazed farmland.  Then he applied principles of natural landscaping to restore forests, create productive farms and preserve waterways.

Law designed formal gardens near the House, using hardscape, trees and perennial shrubs and seasonal plantings. 

The day we visited, a hundred thousand tulips rioted within the Walled Garden.

Grape-candy clusters of wisteria drooped from vines as thick as tree trunks.  

Beyond the Walled Garden, azaleas and rhododendrons white, pink and purple bloomed in a room carpeted by lawn, roofed by sky and bounded by the fresh leaves of spring.

It's not Texas, but it's still close to heaven.

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott ,for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. What a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

    Have a great weekend.


  2. Kathleen,
    Your photos and words ("grape-candy clusters") of The Biltmore Estate really make me homesick for lovely Asheville, North Carolina. Buck and I went to The Biltmore once for the Christmas candlelight tour (Madrigal singers and all). You would love it.

    When you return to Asheville, check out the Grovewood Cafe. It was our favorite spot to enjoy lunch, sitting out on their two-tiered stone patio. It is very close to the Grove Park Inn.

    Your "life's coil" picture is art.

  3. I loved visiting the Biltmore House. Thank you for sharing your photos. They also have pretty good wine there. It's in my local Krogers now, and I am mightily glad.

    Love you. Glad Harry's surgery went well.


  4. In past years during visits to Asheville, I passed on the Biltmore. Not a fan of royalty, I just wasn't interested in seeing the spoils of super-wealth. I finally gave in, and I'm glad I did. A piece of American history and lots of beauty there. Plus, there is, well, ASHEVILLE. A very cool place.

  5. Wow. Looks and sounds like pure perfection. I am definitely going to Ashville.

  6. Some day I'd love to see it in person. But thanks to you, now I can experience it through your eyes.

  7. What a beautiful house and gardens, such opulence, thanks for sharing these photos and wonderful words dear Kathleen. xoxo ♡

  8. Such a great pairing of words and pictures, Kathleen. Thanks for another glimpse into your trip. x0 N2

  9. What a great preview for the many of us who have a trip to the Biltmore in our vague plans for future visits.

    Your photographs are only surpassed by your writing and they are a close match. Thanks for sharing both so generously!

  10. Wow, I'll put the Biltmore on OUR list of must-sees the next time we go south. I haven't been on your site in a while and obviously
    I've missed a lot of good stuff. Glad you're collecting a little money for your fabulous writine (which is priceless, by the way, to those of us who read your blog).
    Cheers, and thanks for the recipes. We're in California on our annual family visit, and I just made guacamole for one of the many family gtet togethers. Told them it was Green Mountain Guac (ha!) and everyone was surprised it was so good. Truthfully, it was YOUR recipe. gracias!

  11. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos! It's nice to see "foreign" places through the eyes of a Texan.

  12. These are can I just climb right into them photos.

    You certainly make me want to travel.

  13. What beautiful gardens. I've heard a lot about this place. I really must get there soon. Thanks so much for the lovely garden tour.


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