Last week my travels found me presenting at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC. It was a place that I had never ventured to, so I was thrilled to take in the city of Asheville and a “little” place called the Biltmore that I had heard so many amazing things about. The estate was built by the Vanderbilt family and it is the largest house in the United States. I toured the inside. It took me a few hours to meander through all the bedrooms, bathrooms, sitting rooms, dining room, bowling alley, and even indoor swimming pool. It was amazing. I would definitely recommend paying the extra few dollars for the audio self guided tour. However, what was even more thrilling to me was spending some time outside in the Biltmore’s gardens. Spring had begun to spring here and I wanted to explore and imagine what life was like living here. One thing was sure, you could definitely get lost in a good way. Without the use of modern technology in those days, it would be easy to hide away in many secret places on the estate.
The Italian garden, off the side of the estate, during warmer weather is filled with beautiful water lilies and statuary. It is a lovely place to reflect and soak up the sun. This is the closest garden to the estate.
I journeyed down the hillside to where the conservatory sat and my breath was taken away by this garden in spring. I can imagine its spectacular beauty in summer. Perennial beds were waking. Spring bulbs were blooming in abundance. Spring trees buds were swelling and the grape vines that grow over the arbors were beginning to show signs of life again.
The rose beds in front of the conservatory too were green with life. I could spend days here. In fact, I think if I lived here all those years ago, this is probably where you would have found me. I bet that most of the Vanderbilts had favorite spots on the estate. I wish we knew where they liked to spend their days here.
I had to stroll through everything for a closer look.
This tulip took my breath away. Next I headed off to spend sometime in the conservatory.
Inside this warm and humid oasis grew some of the most beautiful and exotic species. The authentic wrought iron and metal plant stands lined the walls and centers of the conservatory. Rooms were filled with all sorts of orchids and other tropical plantings in full bloom! It felt like a scene from Alice in Wonderland. I was waiting for them to all start singing. I swear I could hear their little voices.
As I headed back up the hill my day at the Biltmore came to a close. I wish I could have spent more time here. There was so much more to explore and soak in. Next year, I hope to return. I’d love to spend a few days here; learning and listening and appreciating the beauty of this timeless oasis.