Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Family Vacation!

Once a year, my mother and sisters, Linda and Christie, and I head out on a family trip. It's really an excuse to spend a few days together, laughing and enjoying time together. We've done a Broadway and New York City trip, Nashville, Indiana, Ohio's Amish country and Canton area. We took the train to Chicago to see My Fair Lady. This year, we headed to North Carolina. Christie's daughter goes to college in North Carolina, and is interning there this summer. The Chihuly in the Garden exhibit at Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina gave us one more reason to go. (As if we needed any.)

I drove to Linda's home outside Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday. Mom & Christie came down on Wednesday, and then I drove to Asheville. We made a couple stops along the way. We had lunch and looked at some gorgeous artisans' crafts at Tamarack in West Virginia.

With Linda at Tamarack

Our second stop was just before reaching Asheville, when I abruptly swing into a scenic overlook so we could stretch and see the scenery. Beautiful, but it was even more beautiful when we reached out hotel in Asheville.

Me, Mom, Linda

We stayed at the Village Hotel on the Biltmore property. Wise decision. We could take the shuttle every place we wanted to go. And, we had a great room with a window seat. (I always wanted a window seat.)

After the long drive, we had dinner right there at the Bistro next to the hotel. Then, crashed back at our room. These photos were all from my sister, Christie.

Linda ordered the wine. I just pulled it over for the picture.


Window seat!

We left early for Biltmore, taking an early shuttle so we could beat some of the crowds. Here's what you see as you drive up to Biltmore.

Let me tell you about Chihuly in the Gardens at Biltmore. This is what it says on Biltmore's website.
"Chihuly at Biltmore represents the first art exhibition in Biltmore’s historic gardens, and the first garden exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s works in North Carolina. The world-renowned American artist’s work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide, and now, for a limited time only, they can be seen at Biltmore.

"Dazzling in daylight, the exhibition takes on a new dimension when viewed after nightfall; experience the brilliance and beauty of these awe-inspiring marvels of color, form, and light."

Dale Chihuly is a glass artist whose works have been seen before at other gardens, including the Desert Botanical Gardens in Arizona. I missed that exhibit. My own fault. 

I could have shown you over 100 photos, from daytime and nighttime. I won't. First, daytime photos because we did the gardens before the house on Thursday. Thanks to my sister, Linda, for sharing her pictures.

Me, Christie, Mom

Mom, Me, Christie, Linda

Christie and Me

Mom, Christie, Me

Christie, Mom, Linda



There was one Chihuly exhibit in the house, in the conservatory. We were lucky enough to hear the pipe organ playing when we arrived. If you're going to tour the house, I definitely advise you to get the audio tour. It's well-worth it. And, the final pictures from inside are from what is called "The Halloween Room". Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil and her husband actually held a party, and guests were allowed to decorate the walls. It wasn't actually Halloween, but the theme dealt with a musical piece, and the elements on the wall were from that piece.

Dining Room

The Pipe Organ

In the Halloween Room

The Halloween Room

After the tour, we had ice cream from Biltmore's dairy, and then went back to the hotel. There's a small shopping area right by the hotel, and we went there to see The Biltmore Legacy. This exhibit told about George and Edith Vanderbilt, and included pieces they had collected. My favorite piece? We went to Biltmore when I was eleven or twelve. At that time, it was in the house, and I always remembered it. Now, it's in this small exhibit. For his 21st birthday, George Vanderbilt received Napoleon's chess set and game table from a family friend.

We rested a little at our hotel before going back to Cedric's Tavern for dinner. It's named after the Vanderbilts' St. Bernard. We ate outside, and enjoyed the pleasant early evening before we picked up the shuttle again to go back to Biltmore.

We ended our day with the nighttime tour of the gardens. Honestly, I was more impressed with the daytime tour. You don't really have to do both. We all thought there were lights out, or the displays weren't properly lit that night. Several of the daytime exhibits definitely were not lit up. I don't know if something was wrong, but, pretty as they were, they didn't pop the way I expected.

Saying that, we had a wonderful day at Biltmore. Linda added the personal touch to our tour. She was reading a book about the house, and she gave us highlights as she came across them. Thanks to Mom & Dad, we're all history buffs. And, we always love our time together.

Tomorrow, on the blog, Asheville, North Carolina, and Wytheville, Virginia.