Friday, August 1, 2014

Visiting Asheville

Hi! It's been a while. I just got back from a short birthday trip to Asheville, North Carolina. Keith took me to the beautiful 1900 Inn on Montford for four wonderfully relaxing days. He handled the reservations, and I didn't know exactly where we were going. As we drove up, my heart raced. The inn is a beautiful old Victorian-era mansion, built in Arts & Crafts style, surrounded by lush gardens, with rooms named after famous authors. Oh, Keith. You did so well.

Have you ever been to Asheville? It's small and peaceful, with mouth-watering farm to table restaurants everywhere. If we hadn't walked miles and miles through the Biltmore Estate, I probably would've gained five pounds on this trip. I was so impressed by the quality of the food, and especially the quality of the meals under $10. One of my favorites was Chai Pani, an Indian fusion/street food place downtown. I loved their deliciously exotic take on the humble sloppy Joe. We liked it so much, we went back twice.
I also recommend HomeGrown for tasty and creative farm to table cuisine under $10, the Lexington Avenue Brewery for their extensive late-night menu that has some healthy options, Nine Mile for huge portions of Caribbean inspired pasta dishes (seriously, plan to share a dish!), and Ambrozia if you want to get away from downtown and enjoy finer cuisine with the locals.

But for me, the Biltmore was the best part of the trip. The Biltmore was the home of George Vanderbilt, who was the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. George used his inheritance to build a home modeled after European castles, and he chose the peaceful hills of North Carolina to escape the bustle of New York City. The home is now over 100 years old, incredibly maintained, and open to the public. We spent a day admiring incredible Gothic revival architecture, breathtaking European tapestries and furniture, and lush gardens. Photography is not allowed inside the mansion, but here are a few photos from other sources just to give you a taste of what we saw.

At 2800 square feet, the formal dining room is larger than my entire house. The round iron light fixtures are my favorite part. They're a little rustic, a little geometric, and completely beautiful. Credit
This is the more casual (ha!) Breakfast Room, used by the family for everyday meals. Keith loved the red and gold damask velvet. I guess we won't be changing the red velvet damask cushions on our sofa, after all! Credit
This bedroom belonged to George's wife, Edith Vanderbilt. George began construction on the house when he was still a bachelor, and Edith never saw the house until after their honeymoon. When she came to the Biltmore for the first time, this room was already prepared and decorated for her, just as it looks today. I hope she really loved gold and purple. Credit
Other highlights of the trip included time spent with Keith's family and a bizarre incident in which we rescued an adorable baby possum from a bloodthirsty housecat. Um, what? It was one of those surreal "This only happens in the south!" kind of moments that I relish. Unfortunately, the little one decided to play dead as soon as we stood between it and the cat. We had to stand guard over it for about 20 minutes, while the cat licked her paws and stared hungrily at the poor little critter. Eventually we distracted the cat, and the little one slunk off into the safety of the night. Good luck, little critter.

Stay tuned for a post on Monday with tips for getting the most out of your visit to the Biltmore. And until then, have a wonderful weekend!

4 comments:

  1. Wow, looks like you had an awesome trip! I just found out my best friend is moving to Asheville! Those rooms are gorgeous. Is there a lot of history in Asheville? I think I know where I'll stay if I ever go visit him haha :)
    -Dee @ Dee's Reads

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    1. As far as I can tell, most of the history in Asheville is centered around the Biltmore Estate and the Vanderbilt family. Until George Vanderbilt built the mansion, it was just rural farm country. I hope you get to visit! There's so much fantastic food, and many beautiful places to stay.

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  2. I grew up with lots of family in NC, so on road trips through Ashviille, we stopped there a lot. I USED TO HATE IT! Then when I was in high school, I went with the history club, and saw it with new eyes! It was awesome and I was mad that bratty 8-year-old me didn't "get" it You absolutely need to go back in late fall when they gussy it up for the holidays, but the fall leaves are still everywhere! It's magical!

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    1. Haha, I love this. I can just picture kids being like, "THIS PLACE I STUPID AND I WANNA GO HOME!" I'm hearing really good things about the Candlelight Christmas events at the Biltmore. I think you're right; we may need to go back soon... :D

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