Friday, April 12, 2013

Biltmore Adventure!

I live for adventures . . . I double dog love to take my kids to new places!  My hope is to instill in them a love for travel and the desire to learn about this amazing world and the treasures it holds.

First road trip for 2013 . . . Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina!  My Mom is turning 70 this year and since we won't be going to 'Downton Abbey' in England, we opted for the next best thing in America to celebrate her birthday!
My Mom is a McDonald's fanatic so we made a stop at the unique 'Biltmore' McDonald's that she's seen on tv!  It's very cool inside, and the grand piano plays by itself.
We had tickets for Wednesday, but you could actually enter the grounds after 4 p.m. the day before to have a little extra time to visit!  The drive through the rolling hills on the estate was amazing . . . the grounds are so well maintained and lush.
We spent the evening in Antler Village!  We watched a blacksmith at work, toured the Winery, visited the animals on the farm and enjoyed a great dinner at Cedric's, named after the favorite Vanderbilt dog.  Love.
The kids spent an unreasonable amount of time running around the maze . . . gotta get the energy out.  I tried to spend an unreasonable amount of time tasting at the Winery . . . but instead I appeased myself by finishing off my Mom's unwanted wine.  Oh, and I got the kids some new pets . . . aren't they cute? 
The next day we rolled up to the family estate early so we could enjoy a full day!  On the advice of a friend, I got us all the audio tour for the house.  Wow, what a difference it made . . . listening to cool facts helped keep the kids interested and made it much more enjoyable for Mom and me!  Well worth the extra fee. 
No photos were allowed inside the home . . . in the end that's probably best as it lets you just enjoy the tour.  Our favorite rooms were the library, the indoor swimming pool and the grand staircase!  Wow.
We enjoyed lunch in the Stable Cafe . . . literally where Mr. Vanderbilt used to keep his prized horses! 
My travel weakness is a themed Christmas ornament from my destination so of course I indulged at the quaint little shops just outside the restaurant.  And every kid should have their own nutcracker ornament!
Next stop, the unbelievable gardens.  Our day could not have been more gorgeous to wander through the beautiful scenery.  The kids had a blast just being able to run around out in the open. 
They made friends with the frogs and fish in the ponds . . . and what's better than running around?  Cartwheeling!
We visited just as the spring blooms were beginning . . . tulips are my absolute favorite so it was fun to see those!  Here is my new favorite picture of my babies . . .
We found the most beautiful tree for the kids to climb . . . the cool part was as you stood under it, you could hear the buzz from all the bees enjoying the tree . . . literally thousands, but they were happily occupied.
The Conservatory had so many beautiful varieties of plants and flowers.  Our favorite was the 'gator.'  Go Gators!
Our final stop for the day was a carriage ride.  My mom loves horses so I thought it would be a fun way to complete her visit.  Our horses were Jesse and Pat!  It was amazing how our driver Cindy got them to move . . . she literally said their names and made a giant kissing sound and off they went.  So cool.
The carriage ride took us through the countryside around to the back of Biltmore . . . what a view!  Jesse and Pat were in perfect step heading to the barn for the night . . .
Our final stop in Asheville was to a trendy restaurant called Tupelo Honey Cafe in downtown.  There was a long wait but there was some 'entertainment' in the park across the street . . . some drummers, dancers and a girl with amazing hula hoop skills.  The food was delicious and a great way to end the night before the kids went swimming in the hotel pool!

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