We had the opportunity to visit Charlotte, NC.
I went to school in Georgia and had always heard of Asheville, NC and the gorgeous, historical Biltmore.
So….naturaly, the visit to Charlotte expanded into a visit to Asheville too. Yeah! And a little learning about one of our very influential families in the US and the grandest estates built in the USA!
You can read all about George Vanderbilt and his love affair with this area: www.biltmore.com
It’s really interesting…..the Biltmore was designed by the architect Richard Morris Hunt (he’s amazing!) and George’s love for the land extended into a passion for horticulture…..which empowered a movement in forestry! The Biltmore was a self sustaining estate. So many ideas of today, that happened years ago!!!
The “house” was started in 1889 —- and just getting the materials there was a construction job in itself. I could have spent hours, slowly walking through each room……leather wallpaper?! What! Every piece of woodwork is polished to a sheen, the artwork is beautiful, the furnishings grand and whispers of how this place looks over the holidays was echoing through the halls! But of course, we were with young children sooo…..
…….we enjoyed what we could —- pointing out fun details of what it might have been like to grow up in such an incredible home —— a massive library, a swimming pool in the “basement”, and or course……..acres and acres to play.
When we got home, I stumbled across this book:
The whole story is set in the Biltmore and in Asheville, NC!!!! It’s a bit scary in places, but I loved it! The kids hid under the pillows during those pieces.
We stayed off site, which was our only option at the time. Since our visit, the Village Hotel has completed construction and I’d highly recommend staying on site. Antler Hill village offers places to eat and a spot to grab an ice cream. There are MILES of trials and a winery if you’ve got kids that are old enough to hang out by the pool while you take a tasting! (Sadly, we did not experience this part!)
But we did pair our trip with a little adventure:
The kids first experience with river tubing! woo hoo!
This was something they STILL talk about. It was a three hour ride. (que the Gilligans Island theme music here) About half way through an enormous crack of thunder ripped over us and then came a downpour. I was nervous that we’d see lighting but I think the spirits of Vanderbilt were with us and a warm rain was all we dealt with.
The kids got into one tube and then put the other on top of them for shelter. To this day we call it “the clam shell” that saved them!
And they have been asking to go river tubing! Always a good sign that fun was had and a great family memory was made!
We used https://zentubing.com/
Loved the nice people and great tubes! We even stopped by Walmart to buy a cooler so we had snacks and drinks along the way!