5.28.2007

South Carolina - Day Two

The title of this post is a bit misleading. I actually spent most of the day in North Carolina, at the Biltmore Estate. Mom, Dad and I woke up around 8:30, got dressed, had a traditional southern breakfast at Chik-Fil-A and then drove about an hour up the interstate to Ashville, North Carolina, home of the Biltmore Estate. George Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune, was somewhere around 30 years old when he decided to build a summer home in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. The home is the largest in the US, at 175,000 square feet.



We took a self-guided audio tour. That means that we wore headphones and didn't speak to each other for about three hours. It was worth it, though. The audio was very informative. Some of my favorite things:

Napoleon Bonaparte

Mr. Vanderbilt was a big french history buff. Among his collection of very nice things was a chess set and walnut table once owned by Napoleon. You can sort of make it out in the picture below (we weren't allowed to photograph anything inside the house). When Napoleon died, his heart was removed from his body and placed in a silver urn. The urn sat atop this table for two weeks before it joined his body in a casket for burial. So cool.



Watson Room

Each of the rooms was given a name. One of them was named after an artist or something. The who isn't that important. What is important is that this room is called Watson. And it is the only room of 35 bedrooms with twin beds. Twin beds? Does that mean something?

Fountains

There were several fountains on the grounds. All of them were large in scale and quite impressive. Except for one thing. See if you can spot what I mean:







See what I mean? If you were one of the richest men in the world building a house to impress your friends, wouldn't you include a fountain that shot some water in the air? I mean, like, a lot of water, like, really really high into the air? Instead he's got these three disappointments in front of his house. What gives, George?

I have a lot more pictures to share, but it's really late. I'm going to bed.

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