their neighbors to “Never stop seeing the roses”
By BOB & BARB EPSTEIN
Syndicated “On the Road Again” Columnists
For The Vista
Barbara and I love to travel as most of the residents of Fairfield Glade enjoy doing as well.
For residents of the incredible Fairfield Glade community, there are options to be able to reach out and explore places within a reasonably easy drive. There are numerous day and overnight trips that add a fine dimension to our enjoyment of being in the best part of East Tennessee and nearby N.Carolina, as well.
In the past week, we visited The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. It was our next stop after leaving our favorite family dude ranch — Clear Creek Guest Ranch in Burnsville, N.C. — with its great riding trails and excellent family style meals.
In the 1880s, at the height of the Gilded age, George Washington Vanderbilt, the youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt, began to make regular visits with his mother, Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt (1821–1896), to the Asheville, North Carolina area.
He loved the scenery and climate so much that he decided to create his own summer estate in the area, which he called his “little mountain escape,” just as his older brothers and sisters had built opulent summer houses in places such as Newport, Rhode Island, and Hyde Park, New York.
Some little “mountain escape”! The 250 room Chateau-styled mansion, today on 10.86 square miles was opened in 1895 and today it is still owned by Vanderbilt’s descendants.
But today, millions of people per year pay a fee to visit this incredible edifice.
There are gardens, restaurants, the Antler Hill Winery (we purchased a great delicious semi-sweet wine here for $15), an Inn where anyone with a credit card can stay over, and some of the most beautiful walking paths anywhere in North America.
The list of amenities is so long I can’t fit it into this article. There are riding stables, fly fishing classes, bake shops, ice cream store, food courts and a wine bar for tastings and on and on!
Biltmore Estate is a prime tourist attraction for Asheville. This huge estate, the largest private home in America (178,926 square feet (16,622.8 m2) was built as a summer place and today it is monument to a jaded time in America when a dollar was truly worth even more than a dollar ever was again.
Vanderbilt went on extensive buying trips overseas as construction on the house was in progress.
He returned to North Carolina with thousands of furnishings for his newly-built home. These included furniture, tapestries, hundreds of carpets, prints, linens, and decorative objects, all dating between the 1400s and the late 1800s, and all coming from various eastern and western countries and continents around the world.
Among the few American-made items were the more practical oak drop-front desks, rocking chairs, a walnut grand piano, a huge bronze candlestick and wicker baskets.
Vanderbilt’s idea was to replicate the working estates of Europe.
He commissioned prominent New York architect Richard Morris Hunt, who had previously designed houses for various Vanderbilt family members, to design the house in the Chateauesque style, using several Loire Valley French renaissance architecture chateaus, including the Chateau De Loire, as models.
The estate included its own village, today named Biltmore Village, and a church, today known as the Cathedral of All Souls. The Architects for the project were : Frederick Law Olmsted,
George Washington Vanderbilt II, Richard Morris Hunt.
To make reservations and purchase tickets call at (800) 411-3812
OK! Now we are off to Hendersonville, to dine at the Mezzaluna (Half Moon) Brick Oven Tap House.
Please take a look at www.APtravelnews.com there will be a link to The Vista in coming weeks.