Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Drive to Tennessee

We had another long travel day as we drove from North Carolina to Tennessee. We drove All. Day. Long. We did have a few stops along the way to help make the drive seem not quite as long. Our first stop of the day was at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina.

 The Museum of the Cherokee Indian strives to perpetuate the history, culture, & stories of the Cherokee people, and is beautifully curated. We got a private tour of all their artifacts by one Cherokee tour guide, dressed in traditional dress. Then had another Cherokee tour guide that took us through the museum, also in traditional dress.

After our tour and a quick lunch, we were back on the road. We had amazing views of the Southern wilderness landscape as we drove.

We made a couple of stops at a few information centers, this one had a particularly nice view.

Our final stop was at the Appalachian Trail and the NC/ TN state line. I wish we would've had more time so we could've walked even a small part of the trail, but we only had time for a quick visit in order to make it to Nashville in a timely manner. I did make sure to walk up the trail a little ways so I can say I have actually been on the trail.

Next up, Nashville!!

The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned residence in the United States, it has 250 rooms,  a library with 10,000 volumes, a Banquet Hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley. This magnificent home was built between 1889-1895 and is still owned by one of Vanderbilt's descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age.

The house has 33 bedrooms for family and guests, 43 bathrooms, three kitchens and 19th-century novelties such as electric elevators, forced-air heating, centrally controlled clocks, fire alarms, and an intercom system. The principal rooms of the house are located on the ground floor.  

The porches had amazing views of the blue hued smokey moutains

The library was a favorite room of our whole family

They were beginning to set up for a special exhibition entitled, Designed for Drama which will feature elaborate costumes from recent films that bring literary characters to life, including Sherlock Holmes, Finding Neverland, Anna Karenina, and Pride and Prejudice. The fashions on display reveal the attention to detail involved in period costume design, and represent the work of costume designers at the highest level of their profession.  The Biltmore Estate is the perfect venue for such an exhibit, these extremely detailed costumes shine while displayed in the masterfully elegant rooms. 

Edith Vanderbilt's bedroom was one of my favorite rooms.

After touring the top 4 floors, we descended down into the basement. One of the rooms had been turned into an exhibit about the history of the estate, the walls in that room were painted with brightly colored murals. It was quite the contrast to the richly colored rooms in the rest of the house.

Guests of the estate could enjoy other activities that were found on the basement level, including an indoor 70,000-gallon heated swimming pool with underwater lighting; one of the nation's first bowling alleys installed in a private residence; and a gymnasium with once state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The service hub of the house is also found in the largest basement in the US, as the location for the main kitchen, pastry kitchen, rotisserie kitchen, walk-in refrigerators that provided an early form of mechanical refrigeration, the servants' dining hall, laundry rooms and additional bedrooms for staff.

After our tour we spent plenty of time in the amazing gift shops, yes shops as in multiple. I found a couple of treasures that I will cherish for years to come, they are music boxes made out of goose eggs

Then we headed to Antler Hill Village for lunch. George Vanderbilt enjoyed getting away from it all, as much as he did tending to the operations of Biltmore House and the formal gardens. In 2010, Antler Hill Village opened to guests as a place to relax and unwind after a day of House tours and jaunts around the grounds. The village features a large Village Green, an exhibition hall, Biltmore Winery, and more.  The village is located right below our hotel, there is a trail that connects the two.

We ate at Cedric's Tavern which was named after the Vanderbilt family's beloved St. Bernard.