Today we are headed to the Biltmore Estate; a 250-room French Renaissance chateau built over a six-year period, beginning in 1889. George Vanderbilt's home opened its' door on Christmas Eve, 1895.
As excited as I was to tour this home I was unfortunately reminded of the fact that I still have chronic myelogenous leukemia. One of my greatest challenges with CML is the unpredictability of how I might "feel" on any given day, or under certain circumstances.
It just sucks and makes "planning" and purchasing specific date tickets more difficult.
Today, was one of those days:
The “weather forecast” for the day said overcast with a slight chance of rain, so I dressed accordingly. One of the drawbacks of being in a hotel with no outside access from the room is that the only resource you have to confirm the weather app is your eyes. It looked cold and gloomy!
Walking outside, I felt that they were correct in their prediction and we headed out.
It was a short ten-minute drive to the estate parking lot where we hopped onto a bus that would take us up to the home.
It wasn’t long before the blazing, mountain sun had me feeling woozy and unwell. I was already regretting my choice of clothing and the fact that I had left my sun/umbrella in the car. I am so out of touristing practice!
Fortunately, our house tour was only 30 minutes away, and I felt certain that it would be cooler inside. I cannot believe how quickly I become overheated and miserable, it honestly wasn't THAT hot!
I found some shade in order to avoid waiting in the line to enter the estate, which was in the direct sun, and entered once the line dissipated. Despite sitting in the shade, I had already become overheated and struggled a bit during the entire tour, especially after climbing many staircases. I was grateful that we had chosen the self-guided tour, with the audio option, so that we could go at our own, slow, pace.
It was a teeny, tiny bit discouraging, that stupid reminder, but I was still super grateful to be here enjoying that lovely home.
Spending the day at the Biltmore was the next best thing to being in Europe.
We saw so many “familiar” architectural styles, artwork, wallpapers, sculptures, and statues that if you blinked, you could trick yourself into believing you had crossed the pond!
And did I mention the gargoyles??
Once we were through the house tour, I was just about convinced that I would be unable to enjoy the gardens, due to the lingering crappy, nauseousness, when a bottle of water, a dropper-ful of CBD oil, a cloud cover, and a breeze saved the day!
I thanked God for throwing me a bone!
I was able to roll up my sleeves and don’t laugh, my pants, and we carried on! I am sure I looked a sight, but honestly, I just didn’t care.
The grounds were full of tulips and leaves from the previously bloomed daffodils and I was able to stroll through them, thanks to the lingering cloud cover.
Eventually, we found our way to the Railway Botanical Garden which was enchanting. I am not certain which I enjoyed more, the trains and replicas of the estate, or the plants.
After we strolled through the gardens we headed down to Antler Village, which didn’t “impress me much” although the Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty was quite impressive, as were the fancy chickens! I didn't quite get the hype of that portion of the Biltmore experience.
The next thing that was on my list for the day was a visit to the Chocolate Shoppe. Instead of the desired shop, I opted for the one that was closest to the hotel. I selected a few handmade truffles and the best dark chocolate gelato I have ever eaten: I was grateful for another day.
It was the very first time in my life that I truly wished I believed in reincarnation and that I could come back to earth as a human, to do life again! There is just such a big, beautiful world out there that I will never have the time to experience all there is to offer.
What a treat it was viewing the world through his eyes.
After a few hours' break, I felt good enough to venture out for dinner. Vinnie’s Italian Restaurant was what sounded good to me. I had lasagna and it hit the spot. Joe had Spaghetti with Sunday gravy; delicious meatballs and a big old Italian sausage!
Here In Asheville, they are uber coronavirus cautious; tables were socially distanced, and we had to put on our masks every time the waitress approached our table.
We topped that off with a to-go Italian coconut white cake, with pansies on top. We now understood why the wait was so long.
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