On Saturday morning I rose bright and early before any of the other sleeping beauties who were on the trip. Once everyone was up, we got ready and hit the road around 9:00 a.m. (we had an hour plus drive from Lake Lure). We had planned to go to the Farmer's Market in Asheville before we went to the Biltmore. Someone had read online that the Farmer's Market had a deli and that it was super large. We had big expectations for this outing.
When we got to the Farmer's Market, there were hardly any booths open and the deli was closed. However, we didn't leave empty handed. Amber bought some jams and jellies and Leah came away with a basket.
We then headed on in to Asheville and grabbed some lunch at Jimmy John's before making our way to the Biltmore. We all had made our reservations online for 11:45 a.m. which was more or less the time we arrived at the will call to pick up our tickets since the traffic was bumper to bumper going into the estate.
After we got our tickets, we parked and took the tram to the estate and immediately went in for our tour. Most of us got an audio tour which was a good decision since there were no signs about the rooms in the house. The audio tour provided a history of the rooms and the Vanderbilt family and was very interesting.
The Downton Abbey costumes were scattered throughout the tour and placed in various rooms. They were the actual outfits worn in the show and the plaques about the outfits told who wore them and in what season and described what materials, etc. they were made from. Unfortunately, we couldn't take pictures inside the house, so we were't able to photograph the costumes either. There were a couple of costumes at will call and the gift shop, but none of us thought to take a photo at those places.
The house was absolutely gorgeous! I had never been before and was amazed at the grandeur and architecture. It took five years to build the house and still looks incredible to this day. I am constantly amazed at how grand buildings like the Biltmore were built so many years ago without the modern day amenities that we have today.
After the tour of the estate, we perused the gift shop, walked around the grounds and then headed over to the Antler Hill portion of the estate where they have a winery and a farm. We hadn't previously scheduled any tours and some of this part was under construction; so, we didn't stay long, but just walked around for a little while before leaving for the day. We ended the adventure with dinner at a local Asheville restaurant and a trip to Trader Joe's before heading back to Lake Lure for the night.
Sunday morning we got up and got ready and hit the road towards home. We stopped for lunch in Knoxville where we parted ways with Katie who drove back to her home in Murphreesboro while we headed south to Huntsville.
It was such a fun weekend with my friends! The Biltmore was so great and I would love to visit again when I have more time, maybe at Christmas where I hear it is so beautiful with all the Christmas trees and decorations. If you've never been, I would definitely recommend a trip. It's a great weekend getaway.