Asheville NC Vacation The Ultimate Vacation Destination
  • May
    1

    Western North Carolina’s  Spring flowering season has just begun in the lower elevations of Asheville and Hendersonville, and with plenty of winter moisture, a spectacular spring it will be!  We toured the Biltmore Estate Azalea Gardens on Thursday, April 29, 2010, and their trees and shrubs were beautiful beyond words.  The foresight of George W. Vanderbilt, who built the Biltmore Estate, Frederick Law Olmsted (the father of American landscape architecture), and Richard Morris Hunt (the architect of the Biltmore House) shows every time we walk the grounds of Americas largest single family home.  The planning, the layouts, the plant placement, the walls, the gardens, the fields, and the water features all were combined to create a magical wonderland.  The family of George Vanderbilt continued the traditions since the house first opened Christmas Eve, 1895, and are still creating more and more joy for themselves and for us.

    Spectacular Azalea Colors at Biltmore Estate's Azalea Garden - photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Spectacular Azalea Colors at Biltmore Estate's Azalea Garden - photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

     

    Ginny adores wandering the acres of pathways of the Biltmore Estate's Azalea Gardens.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny adores wandering the acres of pathways of the Biltmore Estate's Azalea Gardens. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    While hiking the Mountain-to-Sea Trail earlier in the week, Stephanie and I noticed some beautiful orange flowering trees, and wondered what they were.  Imagine my delight upon arriving at our Mountain Laurel Lodge to see the exact same flowering tree in our own backyard!  I believe they are Flame Azalea (rhododendron calendulaceum) or Florida Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum).   There are several other shrubs and bushes that have already shown their spring flowers, and we’ve yet to identify them with certainty, although we are pretty certain the following are also in the Rhododendron and Azalea species. Perhaps someone reading this may have an answer.

    While hiking the Mountain-to-Sea Trail earlier in the week, Stephanie and I noticed some beautiful orange flowering trees, and wondered what they were. Imagine my delight upon arriving at our Mountain Laurel Lodge to see the exact same flowering tree in our own backyard! I believe they are Flame Azalea (rhododendron calendulaceum) or Florida Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum). There are several other shrubs and bushes that have already shown their spring flowers, and we’ve yet to identify them with certainty, although we are pretty certain the following are also in the Rhododendron and Azalea species. Perhaps someone reading this may have an answer.

    Our latest vacation rental home acquisition, the Mountain Laurel Lodge, has as its back yard a mountain side rising up to a peak, almost entirely covered in Mountain Laurels, Rhododendrons, Dogwoods, and other trees and shrubs unidentified or perhaps unseen by us so far.  We can’t wait for the surprises in store for us, especially when the huge number of Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons open up for their private spring decoration show.  There is still time to rent the home for your vacation to witness the show for yourself!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Our latest vacation rental home acquisition, the Mountain Laurel Lodge, has as its back yard a mountain side rising up to a peak, almost entirely covered in Mountain Laurels, Rhododendrons, Dogwoods, and other trees and shrubs unidentified or perhaps unseen by us so far. We can’t wait for the surprises in store for us, especially when the huge number of Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons open up for their private spring decoration show. There is still time to rent the home for your vacation to witness the show for yourself! www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Photos and text by Robert A Bowles,  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com, 828-274-9777.  While visiting the Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Smoky Mountains, please call us to reserve one of our luxurious vacation rental cottages, chalets and lodges.  You deserve to be spoiled!

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  • May
    27

    Yes, it’s the BILTMORE WINERY located on the Biltmore Estate in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina.  Your entry ticket to the world-famous Biltmore Estate includes much more than just a tour of the George W. Vanderbilt’s spectacular 250-room home (the largest in the U.S.), it also is the passport to visit the incredible grounds, restaurants, outdoor activities….and the Biltmore Winery. 

     

    Ginny begins her self-guided tour at the beautiful Biltmore Winery building designed by the Biltmore Estate architect, Richard Morris Hunt, originally used as the Biltmore Dairy

    Ginny begins her self-guided tour at the beautiful Biltmore Winery building designed by the Biltmore Estate architect, Richard Morris Hunt, originally used as the Biltmore Dairy

    Sheltered in the mountain valley of the French Broad River, the 94 acre vineyard is in a perfect climate for grape cultivation producing award-winning wines including Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  The hand-picked grapes produce an annual harvest averaging 250 tons of grapes. 

     

    Ginny gazes at the long row of Wine Vats.  The sign on each vat reads:  "Bottling Termenter and storage.  Capacity 3190 gallons. 17.6 gallons/inch"

    Ginny gazes at the long row of Wine Vats. The sign on each vat reads: "Bottling Termenter and storage. Capacity 3190 gallons. 17.6 gallons/inch"

    1971 saw the first plantings of grapes by George W. Vanderbilt’s grandson, William A. V. Cecil, who felt this would be a natural extension of the self-sustaining economy of the Biltmore Estate.  Indeed, this has proven to be a huge success with the ever-expanding vineyard and a 90,000 square foot wine-producing and bottling facility opened in 1985.  This beautiful facility, converted from the dairy barn with underground tunnels with perfect temperatures for wine making, was designed by the Biltmore’s architect, Richard Morris Hunt. 

     

    Experience it for yourself on your self-guided tour of the winery operation that ends in the Tasting Room where you can sample (and purchase!) the wide range of award-winning Biltmore Wines now available.  For a full listing of the wine offerings, the many awards and details on the winery, visit their website at: http://www.biltmore.com/our_wine/

     

    Ginny views the Wine Cellar.  During the days of the Biltmore Dairy, this was a service area.  The 8 tunnels were used to dispose of waste from the milking rooms.  It is an ideal place with natural temperatures of 54 degrees to 60 degrees, for aging and storing sparkling wines.

    Ginny views the Wine Cellar. During the days of the Biltmore Dairy, this was a service area. The 8 tunnels were used to dispose of waste from the milking rooms. It is an ideal place with natural temperatures of 54 degrees to 60 degrees, for aging and storing sparkling wines.

    If you need discount tickets to the Biltmore Estate good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS, feel free to contact us at 828-274-9777 or joyah@aol.com or http://www.ashevillevacationhomes.com/BILTMOREESTATETICKETS.html

    While visiting in the area, you are invited to stay at our romantic & luxurious vacation rentals:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

     

    Ginny is entralled with the multitude of wine barrels!

    Ginny is entralled with the multitude of wine barrels!

    Ginny "hangs out" admiring the dusty bottles of vintage wines on the other side of the locked gates.

    Ginny "hangs out" admiring the dusty bottles of vintage wines on the other side of the locked gates.

    At the end of the tour, Ginny finds herself in a huge tasting room and is invited to sample the wide variety of wines made here.

    At the end of the tour, Ginny finds herself in a huge tasting room and is invited to sample the wide variety of wines made here.

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