Friday, August 21, 2009

Asheville, NC

I went to Asheville, NC, mainly to see the Biltmore Mansion. But while I was there, the Sourwood Festival was going on in Black Mountain, a small community outside of Asheville. Like most street fairs there was food and food and crafts, but there was also entertainment.

Looking down just one of several streets full of vendors.

Using a tractor to turn the crank on some old fashioned, homemade ice cream.

The entertainment I enjoyed most was watching the cloggers. This group is a 5 time National champion.

Before heading out to the festival we stopped at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Today was woodcarving demonstrations.

But I did visit the Biltmore Mansion. Here is the entrance. It is still about 5 miles before arriving at the house. The intent was for a carriage to take 45 minutes to arrive, allowing the occupants to enjoy the woodlands.

My first glimpse.

View from the front.
The Vanderbuilt's built the house in the late 1800s. The house is 175,000 square feet, has 255 rooms with 43 bathrooms. Remember, in 1890, indoor plumbing was not the norm. It was built as the primary home for George Vanderbilt, his wife Edith and their daughter, Cornelia. They loved to entertain and have family and friends visit. George's desire was to have a self-sustaining farm on the 125,000 acres, but that never happened. George died in 1914, leaving the estate to his wife. To keep the property, Edith sold 85,000 to the U.S. government, which that land is now Pisgah National Forest. Today remains 8000 acres, which is still owned by the heirs of Cornelia. A completely private venture, Edith first opened the house to the public in the 1930s and the family has not lived in the mansion since the 1950s.

Our group picture on the front steps of the mansion.

Under the arbor in the gardens.

Just one small slice of the many gardens surrounding the house.

A couple of miles from the mansion is what was once the working dairy farm. Now it has a garden and demonstrations. We sampled the raspberries and strawberries as we walked through.

One of the fancy chickens in the barnyard. I think she is having a bad hair day!


firesign58 said...

On our bike ride (in August 2008, a year before your photos here) we also went to the TN-NC state line and Clingman's Dome. The Great Smokies are beautiful. We rode the Tail of the Dragon and the Shenandoah Parkway.

firesign58 said...

Oh yes, and the day we were in Asheville they had a tornado! We quickly hopped on the bike and zoomed out of town away from it! Motorcycles and tornadoes do NOT mix. :D