Welcome to the Best of the USA Blog Hop where I invite you to join me on the first Monday of every month (or in this case, Tuesday) to share all of the fun, family friendly, educational, beautiful, and just plain super cool destinations around the United States that you have visited and enjoyed!
You can share an entire post or simply a favorite photo of an amazing attraction, location or lodging option. If you have been somewhere that you have loved in the USA, I want to hear about it! I’m always on the lookout for new places to visit!
My Choice for the Best of the USA Blog Hop in September….
Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina.
I can’t believe that it’s been nearly ten years since my family visited one of our favorite places, Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina. We visited the day after Thanksgiving, during the height of the holiday season in America’s largest privately owned home.
My husband and I have always enjoyed home tours. We love to hear the history and stories of the homes while viewing the amazing art and architecture. Over the years, our children have learned to appreciate the same.
Completed in 1895, Biltmore Estate was to be a modest mountain retreat but the architect, Richard Morris Hunt, had another idea. He envisioned a grand structure for George and Edith Vanderbilt, fitting 250 rooms and 65 fire places into four acres of floor space, furnished with treasures from around the world. The result is incredible.
As we toured the home on a self-guided tour, we were amazed at the details, enjoying all the nooks and crannies and pleasant surprises we discovered as we stepped from room to room.
My memory is a little rusty these days, but I believe it took us about an hour and a half to tour the home. It was a bit crowded so I’m not sure if that hastened us along, or if we really felt that was about the right amount of time to explore with a 10, 8 and 7 year old. After touring the home, we grabbed some snacks and ate in the gardens which were bare in November. I imagine spring or summer would be an amazing time to view the grounds. We wandered through the conservatory briefly before making our way to the farm and winery.
After exploring the grounds we headed back to the home for the highlight of our day; a Rooftop Tour. While many details about our day is fuzzy to me, I do remember that my husband and I struggled when it came to purchasing the added tour for our family. We worried that the kids would be bored or that the added tour would be a bit much for them. Our worry was unfounded. The tour guide was amazing and managed to engage everyone in our group, including my children, while highlighting the special architectural features of Biltmore.
My kids loved getting an up close view of the fake gargoyles that were modeled after the gargoyles found on European castles. The gargoyles at Biltmore are “fake” because gargoyles are fashioned as drain spouts to remove water away from the structure, but the gargoyles at Biltmore do not have water holes.
My boys’ were fascinated by the gargoyles and giggled as typical little boys’ do when they realized the the gargoyles had butt cracks and swore they were mooning them!
I was fascinated by the gargoyles, but not for the same reason. I learned that each of the gargoyles were fashioned from a single block of stone that was already attached to the home by the best stone sculptures of the time. Legend holds that some of the gargoyles are fashioned to look like some of the workers.
We enjoyed our guided tour so much that we regretted only selecting one. If we ever have the opportunity to visit Biltmore Estate again, we would definitely consider a stay on the property with as many tours as we can fit in.
Have you visited Biltmore Estate?
Join Me, Help Me Spread the Word About Best of the USA and Let’s Discover Some Amazing Places to Visit
Now it’s your turn to share what you think is the Best of the USA. Join me by sharing your favorite destination, attraction, hotel, restaurant, beach, etc. in the US.
Simply link up below and don’t forget to leave a comment and visit some of the other great submissions.
If you’d like to help spread the word about the Best of the USA blog hop, you can do that on Twitter with the hashtag #BestoftheUSA. It’s my goal to visit each post and to share them on both Twitter and Facebook.
Is this your first time joining the blog hop? You can visit my Best of the USA Pinterest board to see the past entries.
© 2013, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.