I'm taking the occasional break from food on Sundays to talk about family, traveling, and other stuff that tickles my fancy. If that's not your thing, feel free to scroll on by. We'll be back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!
A few Sundays ago I started telling you about our big fall road trip that we took at the end of October. Our first stop was Fort Pulaski where we did some sightseeing and enjoyed a quick picnic, but then it was back on the road again up to Asheville, North Carolina. We love Asheville. It's a fun, vibrant, artsy town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We arrived late at night and the next morning was my Stephen's 6th birthday. All he wanted in the world was to visit the chickens at the Biltmore Estate, so we set off to make little boy dreams come true.
Asheville is a city in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence and the vast 19th-century Biltmore estate, displaying artwork by masters like Renoir. Its Downtown Art District is filled with galleries and museums, and in the nearby River Arts District, former factory buildings house artists’ studios.
From the Biltmore website:
Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau is as impressive today as it was more than a century ago. Biltmore House is truly a wonder of architecture and hospitality. As our guest, you’re invited to enjoy a self-guided tour of the house, as well as the beautiful gardens and grounds surrounding it, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
They're not kidding when they say this place is impressive. It boasts the mansion, restaurants, hotels, shops, a small downtown village, petting zoo, gardens, miles of trails, horseback riding, and several tour options. It's definitely one of our favorite places to visit and you can easily spend several days exploring the grounds.
You may have noticed a lack of chickens in my photos. Sadly (and I mean VERY VERY SADLY) there were none to be found! Well, a few locked away in the coop, but nothing like the last time we visited when they swarmed about all over the barn area and were super friendly and fun. Unfortunately since there were reports of avian flu somewhere in Asia, the Biltmore had most of its chickens in quarantine. We (and by we, I especially mean Stephen) were super duper bummed. But on the bright side, they had just gotten some really sweet goats.
The village area is very pretty with shops, restaurants, and even a wine tour and tasting for adults (kids can tag along too!). There's also a new playground between the petting zoo and the village. They're also building a second hotel in this area! We tooled around here for a bit, but the kids were edgy and a bit cranky from the chicken disappointment. The grounds are so expansive that you actually have to drive to the main house, so we hopped in the van and headed to do more exploring.
I won't lie to you, passes are pricey. Depending on what time of year you go, they run different specials. This time it was $64 per adult, but the kids are free. Last time we visited (February 2014) the passes were good for two days. I assume it has to do with whether you're visiting during a peak season.
Photography isn't allowed inside the home, but I don't think my picture taking skills could do it justice anyway. The regular ticket allows you to self-tour the main floor, two upper floors with bedrooms and living spaces, as well as the basement and kitchens. You can upgrade and tour the rooftop as well as other areas. The primary tour was plenty long for us - my favorite part is the basements (KITCHENS!!!!) which have an incredibly cool indoor swimming pool.
The view from the property is absolutely incredible and if there weren't five little monsters tearing us in every direction, I would have gladly spend an hour soaking it in from one of the many patios or verandas.
We spent longer than anticipated at the Biltmore and ran out of snacks. Anyone with kids knows that it's Parenting 101 to always have copious snacks on hand when you're in a unfamiliar place and aren't sure where or how to get to dinner. Stephen desperately wanted pizza for his birthday, so we found a place on our phones and headed that way. The pitch becoming increasingly fevered until we finally pulled up and the kids nearly hurtled themselves out of the van.
But luck still wasn't with us and the pizza place was closed one day a week. Tuesday. And we were there on Tuesday. Of course.
So, we shoved them back in the car, only to realize the baby had exploded his diaper. No big deal! I changed the diaper! And stepped in a massive pile of dog poop in the process. No big deal! Wiped clean and ready to go! But, wait. There's dog poo on BOTH BOOTS ERMAHGERD!!! Seriously, the level of hysterics in the car at this point was nearly humorous. And admittedly some of it was my own mourning sobs about the crap all over my new boots.
After much too long, we rolled back toward downtown where we knew there was a Mellow Mushroom Pizza (we LOVE Mellow Mushroom) - but before we went more than a mile we saw another pizza place! Yay! We stopped and had a very nice meal at All Souls Pizza. They didn't have much in the way of variety, but what they did have was delicious. We ordered the kids plain cheese, I got some kind of squash and goat cheese concoction (faaaabulous), and Wesley ordered a sausage something or other. We also had a dish of the house made butter and slathered it on the crust like bread sticks (DO THIS).
Overall a pretty great day.
Entry 1: Fort Pulaski in Savannah, GA
Entry 2: The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC