Monday, June 27, 2011

The Lady on the Hill

David and I were fortunate enough to visit the Biltmore in Asheville, NC for our one-year anniversary! Being the uber history dork that I am, I have been dreaming about visiting the Biltmore since I was a kid. With a price of $60 a ticket it never made its way into the Ward family budget. David knew I had been dying to go there for a while (maybe it was the fact that I mentioned it about once a week since we started dating, oh, 4 years ago), and suggested we go for our anniversary. I couldn't love my boy more than the moment he said it was all booked!

Absolutely stunning

We woke up early Friday morning and hit the road for Asheville. After a bit of arguing over which route was correct (Google Maps needs to get on its game) we made it there in about two hours, just in time for the opening! For those of you who have not been yet, this place has organization down to a science. We were some of the first in for the day after a quick bathroom break (make sure you visit the restroom before you enter the house because even though there are over 30 bathrooms, mere peasants cannot use them).

We're thinking this would be the perfect place to be our first home, what do ya think?

We quickly got the $10 audio tour (totally worth it!!) and started traipsing around the biggest house in America. Ol' Georgey knew what he was doing when he started building this place. It was built with the most intricate architectural designs all throughout the house and across the 8,000 acre estate. This 250-room house started off as a "country getaway", but quickly became something much more. It took us about two and a half hours to tour the home before venturing out into the gardens.

I should probably write an entire separate post about the gardens and their beauty. You could spend an entire day just wandering around the many different sections of the gardens-and we almost did. We thought we'd take a quick trip down to Bass Pond and the waterfall there. HA! Almost an hour and buckets of sweat later we finally made our way to the pond and waterfall. The even more frustrating part than the hour-long trek there? You couldn't even seen the flippin' waterfall! We got a pretty good picture of it later from the car. Argh. We definitely earned our all-you-can-eat buffet at the Deerpark.

 We made it to the pond!

 David attempting to hitchhike back. We were SO not prepared for the trek to the pond.

Waterfall picture (taken from car)

Our afternoon continued with a superb lunch at the Deerpark. I highly suggest you take advantage of this if you ever get to visit. I'm not talking about a shabby spread kept warm by bizarre heat lamps. The food and service was out of this world. Not to mention they had some of the best sweet tea I've ever had, and that means a lot coming from this Southern born and bred girl! Then, we meandered (and by meandered I mean we took a shuttle) to Antler Hill Farms for our FREE tour of the winery and tasting. We pretended to be great wine connoisseurs and tried quite a few of their famous wines. All I can say is yum!

Then, we headed to the farm where we discovered a new (or old considering the house was opening in 1895) version of cornhole. We also visited some with the animals, though my dear husband was not quite comfortable with the fact that you entered the gates and they were wandering around at your feet.


This was as close as I could get him to an animal, and that is only because it is locked up in a barn and cannot escape. 

After all this excitement we took a break at the hotel before hitting up downtown Asheville. After wandering around downtown for about 5 minutes I was kicking myself for never having visited this stunning place before! The city was so welcoming and full of all sorts of kooky things including the drum circle. In the middle of downtown a bunch of people gather with African drums and just start playing. People from all walks of life come and go as they please, yet all the while creating a masterpiece. Some people brought lots of drums and shared them with random people just to keep it going. It was incredible! I highly suggest seeking this out if you ever make it to Asheville.

Drum circle!

After an hour of this our tummies were grumbling (though it took hours to reach this point since we were so pleasantly stuffed after lunch!) and we sought out food. We found a place called Barley's that had over 55 different types of beer on tap-our kind of place! We split a sourdough bread calzone (yum) and relaxed while watching the College World Series before heading back to the hotel.

 Just one of the two bars

When we returned to the hotel my sweet husband gave me two more charms for my Pandora bracelet!! One that has a dangling pearl (the birthstone of June) and another that reads "Forever Together". He had to explain it to his completely unromantic and very blonde wife (moi) that it meant "forever together in June" since that is when we got married. Seriously, how freaking lucky am I?!?

It was an incredible visit that could not have gone any more perfectly!

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