The Return! Ramblings Close to Home: Biltmore and More!   1 comment

Um…yes it has been a long hiatus, but…we’re back!! We had not looked at the sight for quite some time.  When we did I saw that people from dozens of countries had visited.  While we realize there is not a huge demanding audience worldwide waiting with bated breath for a new installment, we decided that going forward was fun!  The next few years could be quite interesting as well and this will be a way of documenting the changes in our lives during that time.  So onward!

This weekend we made a return trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  It is sad to think, but so many people we know who were born and grew up in North Carolina have never been there.  We bought season passes this year as we wanted to see the estate in every season.  Plus, we can bike the many miles of bicycle trails and paths on the property.  For those that are unfamiliar, the estate was conceived and built by George Vanderbilt with construction starting in 1889 and opening for visitor in 1895. While it is difficult to conceive today, the original estate included over 125,000 acres most of which became part of the first national forest in the United States.  The house was the largest personal residence ever built in the country.  Richard Morris Hunt was the building architect and Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for Central Park in New York, was the landscape architect.  The home is still in the Vanderbilt family overcoming, wars, depressions and taxes!

So off we went this last Saturday.  This trip would be to visit the gardens, not the house itself, and make an obligatory, yet welcome trip to the winery.  This would only consume about half the day so before hand we journeyed south of Asheville to what could well be our future retirement destination in the area around Brevard, North Carolina.  We want to have a short hike on an absolutely gorgeous day at Dupont State Recreational Forest, over 10,000 acres that was last owned by the Dupont Corporation to conserve clean water for its manufacturing plant.  We have previously visited the larger more frequented falls, such as Triple Falls, and wished to get a little bit more off the beaten path.  So we entered from the old CCC road on the north side of the forest and hiked to Wintergreen Falls.

Wintergreen falls admired by Nana!

Wintergreen falls admired by Nana!

This falls is small but in a beautiful setting.  The entire time we were there no one else appeared.  There were others on the trails which are also used by those riding horses and also mountain bikers.  Both leave the walker with something to be vigilant about when hiking.

Along the way we were passed by equestrians which included one finely attired Julie, quite the lady in her “hat” on top of her head which enclosed her ear.  I am sure it has a name.  Also, we rescued a man and his two young boys out for a day of mountain biking but who had no map so were pretty much lost on the 80 miles of roads and trails.  Fortunately I had as spare may and I hope they are not still wandering the woods starving and avoiding the occasional black bear.  So here are some pictures of the falls taken a while before noon.  Perfect temperatures, skies, day.

 

Wintergreen Falls.

Wintergreen Falls.

Wintergreen Falls.

Wintergreen Falls.

Bluets at Wintergreen Falls

Bluets at Wintergreen Falls

Wintergreen Falls.

Wintergreen Falls.

After a nice lunch at the Square Root in Brevard, we drove on to the Biltmore Estate.  We did so with some trepidation as I had realized that, while trying to avoid a wallet like George Constanza’s on Seinfeld, I had earlier removed our Biltmore passes and wondered if our afternoon would be a lost cause.  Not to be!  The kind gentleman issued new passes, whispering that they usually charged for new ones but he was going to let it go this time…  So, shhhhhhhhh!

We made our way to the garden parking area.  We had been there a few weeks ago when the walled garden was filled with tulips and other bulbed and unbulbed flowers.  It was in a transition state and a touch dowdy at this time but this was expected.  Our goals was the Azalea Garden and the walk to Bass Pond.  Here are a few pictures with an included ridiculous selfie just so we fit in with the zeitgeist!  Note that on the two pictures of the conifer the pollen exploding when even gently touched. Rather beautiful yet probably contributing to “yellow lung disease”.  I don’t think any attorneys have addressed this peril yet.  Many of us our ready to sue or be sued due to the buckets of pollen we or our neighbors dump maliciously and capriciously and generally eviliciousilly (made up word!) into the atmosphere this time of year.  Our poor lungs!  And not to mention that we all bought cars of a particular color for a reason and right now they are all YELLOW!  Yes, where are the lawyers, the peony and azalea chasers, when  you need them!  I’ll tell you where!  The Barbados!

 

Massed azaleas at Biltmore Estate Gardens.

Massed azaleas at Biltmore Estate Gardens.

Massed azaleas and wildflowers at Biltmore Estate Gardens.

Massed azaleas and wildflowers at Biltmore Estate Gardens.

Woodland Sunflower.

Woodland Sunflower.

Yellow-orange azalea.

Yellow-orange azalea.

Azaleas.

Azaleas.

Ok, I don't know what this is!  Help! Anyone!

Ok, I don’t know what this is! Help! Anyone!

Obligatory selfie.  God, I didn't know that tooth looked that crooked!

Obligatory selfie. God, I didn’t know that tooth looked that crooked!

Nana.  Happy in flower paradise!

Nana. Happy in flower paradise!

 

 

 

 

Nana looks really happy!  She is going to the winery next

 

 

Conifer shaking out a lung-full of pollen!

Conifer shaking out a lung-full of pollen!

So, pollinated and visually saturated, off we go to the winery at the Biltmore.  Now, in 1990, about the last time we had any of their wines, they had only been in business 5 years.  They are much improved since that time.  That it took so long to actually drink their wines again says something about our opinion at that time.  Not that we are wine experts.  Nay, Nay!  They ARE much better now as far as we are concerned.  We really like some of the Chardonnay’s and the Reserve Tempranillo.  Nice place for some wine and cheese, but we had to be careful, had a drive home in front of us. Pretty good day.  This is how spring should be!

 

 

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One response to “The Return! Ramblings Close to Home: Biltmore and More!

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  1. Awesome!  Fun, Fun, Fun!!

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