Saturday, January 16, 2010

Biltmore Estate Largest in U.S.

Tuesday June 18, 1991

Up and out by 10 a.m. We eat breakfast in again. Our drive takes us almost to Ashville before we turn off on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive through the Smokey Mountains. After awhile it begins to rain. Luckily, we'd already stopped along the road to eat our lunch in the car. The ride is pretty but no views due to clouds so we bail off at I23 and head for Ashville.

We stop at The Biltmore Estate, but $20 each to go through is too much. We stop at the Farmers Market to buy produce, etc. We have dinner at Crabby Bill's in Bat Cave. It's nice sitting outside by the stream.

I'm feeling good. Still have those funny pains in my ribs sometimes. Mostly on the right side. Laxatives daily are keeping me from constipation--sitting so much. Drink our champagne and watch TV. Frank jacuzzis.

"Jacuzzis"? I never knew that could be a verb, but why not. I love jacuzzis. Why weren't you in there with Frank, Mom? You have a private one in your condo.

The Blue Ridge Parkway spans 469 miles and connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It was built in the 1930s as a Depression-era public works project. It celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. I have travelled on parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway and was not impressed by the views. The mountains are more like low hills compared to my familiar views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California or the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

The Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC, is the largest home in America. The tour that would have cost them $20 apiece in 1991 now costs $40 apiece. It is a French-Renaissance mansion built by George Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It is the largest privately-owned home in the United States at 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms. By contrast Hearst Castle on the Central California coast has only 90,000 square feet. It is owned by the state.

Crabby Bills is a chain of 7 restaurants in the state of Florida. The restaurant in Bat Cave, NC has closed down.

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