Monday, May 18, 2009

Biltmore Estate - Asheville, NC - Day 1

For our 40th anniversary in December 2007, I had planned a surprise trip for Dave to the Biltmore Estate (a Vanderbilt home) in Asheville, NC. However, our church began an extensive building campaign, which Dave and I felt was more urgent for us to attend than an anniversary celebration. So, we postponed the reservations.

After the campaign, we left on our trek across the USA. In June, while on our trek, I re-reserved our accommodations at the Inn on Biltmore Estate for our anniversary in December 2008 (now our 41st anniversary). However, in December, Dave was attacked by vicious kidney stones, which lasted for over 6 weeks. So, once again, we postponed our anniversary celebration to view the Christmas decorations at the Biltmore Estate. By now, I have shared with Dave where the mystery anniversary celebration was to be held.

As many of you know, we are trying to build a smaller home in Lavonia, Georgia. Now that it appears to be a "go," we decided it we didn't go to Biltmore now, we might not ever get this trip accomplished. So, we hastily re-scheduled the trip to Biltmore for mid-May.

Our friends, the Nordmans, are kindly checking in on our two remaining pets: Kalli (dog) and Graykitty (yup, it's a cat). Since our last blog entry, my mother's cat (Scooter) has joined her in heaven.

We left the house around noon and stopped at Arby's to grab a sandwich for our journey. It is approximately a 3-hour drive to Asheville, NC, from our house. The drive is about half freeway, and the remainder mostly city and highway streets.

Once on the estate, it is a 3-mile drive to the Inn. You can see a glimpse of the Inn as you round the hills.

We arrived at 3 PM, but our room was not ready. The front desk staff told us they would call my cell phone when the room was ready.

So, we took the opportunity to drive around the estate, which is now over 8,000 acres. The roads are scenic with rolling hills and spectacular mountain views of the eastern Continental Divide, the French Broad River (third oldest river in the world), and some critters (mostly cattle, sheep, and Canadian geese). As you can see, the geese rule the road!

At 4:10 PM, we arrived back at the Inn. Our room was ready, but no one had called us.

The room is really nice; however, we are just simple folks and miss the microwave and refrigerator! We did call down for a frig for Dave's insulin, so we received that quickly and at no charge.

The bathroom is quite luxurious with its granite countertops and separate shower, but not into using a spa tub that is not my own.

The view is beautiful, but we paid extra for it. Unfortunately, we overlook the roof of the winery and construction for a new parking lot at the being-constructed Antler Park (a new shopping village). But the distant view is really beautiful, as you can see.

Because we have a handicapped parking pass, we did not have to pay for valet service with the car. The parking lot is down the hill from the Inn, which would be easy to access, but it's the up-the-hill walk that would have had us huffing and puffing. So, that was a really nice perk.

We had brought along snacks for our evening munchies, so we opted not to go out for dinner. We were still mostly full from our Arby's lunch. We settled in for the night, when we had a knock on the door. It was our turn-down service. Dave had already crawled into the comfy bed, so not turn-down required. However, we were presented with a rose for our room (to replace the one already in the room), a "box" of chocolates (2 pieces), and a card with tomorrow's weather report. All systems GO for a beautiful day tomorrow.

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