Thursday, August 1, 2013

Visiting the Biltmore Estate

We've lived in North Carolina for 13 years now, and finally got around to going to visit Biltmore!  The kids were amazed to find out that the largest private residence in the whole country was so close to our cabin here... it was a no-brainer that we simply had to go!

Here are 8 things that made our visit particularly enjoyable:

 1.  It was a cloudy day.  Today certainly did not feel like July, and I guess was a good thing.  The big house is not air-conditioned, so I can imagine how hot it must normally get in the summer.  For us, it was a very comfortable temperature, and then the walks through the gardens and the village were lovely, too.  Not sweaty at all!  Plus, it wasn't crowded at all - -probably due to the weather?

2.  We went in the summer months, which meant the kids got in free!!

3. We bought our tickets at Costco ahead of time because they saved us a significant amount off the regular prices.  What we didn't know is that this would also provide us with a wonderful gift:  valet parking!  Instead of having to park far away and get a shuttle from place to place, we were actually able to pull right up to the front door of the big house!    This was especially nice in the morning when it was a little drizzly as we arrived.  Thank you, Costco!!

4.  The house tour was quite interesting.  Even our kids stayed engaged the whole time....  The last big tour they went on like this was in a big castle in Bavaria where the tour guide spoke in German the whole time, so I guess this was a big improvement for them.  :)

5.  The gardens provided plenty of entertainment, too.  And I only had to yell, "Get off of that!  If you fall off you will DIE!" once.

The tree looked like it had reaching arms!
The boy always loves a good mohawk.

6.  And when we (parents) started to wilt, there was always the winery and wine-tasting to look forward to!

7.  We found plenty of things that amused the kids.

"He's not heavy -- he's my brother!"

(When I told Colsen there was a live blacksmith doing a demonstration, he went running over yelling, "I always wanted to be a blacksmith!!")

8.  And, finally, I was able to visit this beautiful place with the love of my life, a.k.a. as the birthday boy.  :)

So, to sum up:  If you're planning on visiting the Biltmore Estate, do it on a cloudy, not-too-hot weekday in the summer, go with people you like, and get your tickets at Costco so you can take advantage of valet parking!

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