Today’s pictures can be found at: https://plus.google.com/photos/104423898538711271791/albums/5756313823806353009?authkey=CLXqx_iu84r6Yw
What can you say about the Biltmore but “Wow”. It was, and is, a beautiful house and it has some historical significance yet I will say that I found myself surprised with ‘Biltmore Land’. Tickets are $59 per person UNLESS you buy them online and 7 days in advance…. Then they are only $40 per adult… Children 16 and under are FREE, so we both got in for $40 ! That’s to see the main tour of the rooms that have been renovated. There are many areas that are on separate “special tours” and they are an extra fee. They have made this into an amusement park complete with Segway rentals, bike rentals, Kayaking, theme books, and even a place where they auto-take your picture for later purchase. Rachael loved the Estate because it brings to mind the type of places and lifestyle in Jane Austen novels, but I personally felt the opulence to be extravagant. Why have a library with hundreds of books that no one is allowed to read, or even touch?! I guess that’s the pragmatist in me. I enjoyed the gardens and property but I can’t say I’d pay to see it again. Much of the house is still unrestored and in my opinion, one can only look at so many fancy bedrooms before becoming board. I vote for a restored mansion like the Biltmore where people can visit say for a week and re-enact the time period. – Now THAT would be fun! We continued our visit with the Biltmore Village where we saw a working farm and blacksmith shop. The man who ran the Blacksmith shop, “Doc” is one of only a few hundred Master Blacksmiths in the world. Apparently there is still a huge market for artistic iron work and not enough artisans to go around! Rachael talked with Doc for quite a while and found out that a Master Blacksmith can make as much as $190,000 a year ! Doc took a liking to Rachael and gave her the iron leaf he made in the demonstration. After the village, we went to the Winery, which was not part of the original estate but was established in the 1970’s as an investment and income source. We saw a tour of the winery and it explained about the wine making process. Of course I couldn’t go home without a few bottles of the wine. I did a wine tasting and they even had grape juice for the kids so they could participate as well. So, no, Rachael is NOT drinking real wine in the pictures ! Well time for bed… on the road for many hours tomorrow !