Recently, while visiting my sister, I was fortunate to visit the Biltmore Estate, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau completed in 1895, located in Asheville, NC.
It was a beautiful, warm day and we toured the gardens (such a treat!) and the house, which covers FOUR acres! It is the largest private home in the United States with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. Can you imagine cleaning a house that size? No thanks!
An added treat was an exhibit of over 45 costumes from Downton Abbey, the popular PBS series, many of which I recognized from watching the show for the past five seasons. It was great to see the lavish beaded gowns and tailored men’s suits up close. The overlaying of the fictional series with the real lifestyle of the Vanderbilts helped us envision what day to day life was like for the ultra-rich.
The priceless art, elaborate furnishings, tapestries from the Middle Ages and floral arrangements in every room were a sight to behold.
Today, it requires a staff of 1,800 to maintain the house and 8,000 acres of grounds. Over a million people visit the estate each year, which now includes an inn, stables and winery.
A stunning display of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils filled the beds of the walled garden.
Many spring shrubs were in bloom including magnolias, dogwood, eastern redbud, forsythia and cherry. It was wonderful to jump into spring, leaving my still snow-covered yard and cool weather behind. I will return renewed and expectant of the abundant growth to come. Best of all, I’ll get to enjoy two springs this year!