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.


Linda Crawford said...

You do such a great job chronicling our trips! Thanks for putting this up and organizing it all.

SandyG265 said...

Nice pictures.

Kaye Barley said...

Aw, I love your family trips - thanks for taking us along!!

Lesa said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures, Linda! I'm using more for tomorrow's blog, too. Thank you for everything you shared about the Vanderbilts and Edith Wilson.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Sandy!

Lesa said...

Oh, you're welcome, Kaye. As Linda said, it's a way of remembering.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Great pictures. Sounds like a fun trip. I hope you got to go downstairs and see the swimming pool.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Jeff. It was a fun trip. Yes! We did get to see the swimming pool. My favorite room, though, naturally, is the library.

Kay said...

Lesa! Those pictures were great and so many thanks for sharing them with us. One day I'll get there. Hey, that window seat looked like it was made just for you - perfect length, right? Nice to see your Mom and sisters as well.

Sharon said...

Lesa! Thanks for sharing. I cannot wait to go in September.
We always stop at the Tamarack when we drive in that direction too. It is a great place for lunch.

Lesa said...

You're right, Kay. The window seat fit perfectly! We love our time together.

Lesa said...

Perfect, isn't it, Sharon? For us, it was about a halfway point, so good stopping point. Good food, clean restrooms. The crafts and artwork. Tamarack is a good stop.

Rosemary Kaye said...

What fabulous pictures - and narrative - Lesa; you make us feel as if we are right there with you. And what an amazing place. By chance last night I watched a programme about the Gettys as art collectors. There was a lot about the Getty 'Horatian' villa at Malibu and the Getty Museum, also about Paul Getty II's generosity to our own art galleries. Although the art he and his father liked is not to my taste, I have to applaud their philanthropy. Your pictures make me think also of The Great Gatsby. The wealth these people had was incredible - but I imagine many people today have a lot more (even allowing for inflation, yet they mostly keep the fruits of it locked behind doors and walls (eg most of the Saatchi art collection has to be stored in vast warehouses). It's lovely that you get to see Biltimore. And what an amazing idea to allow your guests to paint a wall - though it looks like their guests were rather more artistic than most of us would be! Do you read something that is set in wherever you are travelling? Thanks again for sharing your family trip, you can tell from the photos that you all really enjoy your time together, and that is a precious thing. Rosemary x

Gram said...

What fun. Wonderful pictures. I enjoyed the Biltmore when we were there...and Ashville as a whole.

My Recent Favorite Books said...

Looks like you and your family had a wonderful time!
Great pictures!

Bonnie K. said...

Great photos! Wonderful memories to have of your family's time together.