28 December 2012

Living in the Gilded Age

I have been wanting to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, for years. I remember seeing it in an episode of America's castles a long time ago. I like touring through the homes of the rich, famous and historical.  This home was built by a Vanderbilt and it just happens to be the largest private residence in the US.  I had intended to visit in the spring or fall to take advantage of the gardens but during this week I was able to see the hundreds of decorated Christmas trees throughout the home.

The home took 6 years to build and was officially opened in 1895.  It is still owned privately by Vanderbilt's descendants.

I was only able to take a couple of photos of the interior but I cannot speak highly enough of its beauty.  It was obviously built by the very rich but it's not gauche.  I just wish that they liked more windows in their homes back in the late 19th century.

The music room.

The tree in one of the bedrooms.  I cannot imagine the work that goes into decorating this home for Christmas.  There was at least one tree in almost every room we toured.

The bowling alley in the basement.  It reminds me of the one in the film Let There Be Blood.

The dining room where an organist was playing holiday tunes.

The gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (Central Park).  They were beautiful but they will be even more so in the Spring.

The view from the terrace.

The Italian Garden.  I wanted to tour through more but at this point the rain was pouring and I didn't bring an umbrella.  There is an entire Azalea Garden, the largest of its kind in the world, that I would love to visit later.

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