Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Biltmore visit and Downton Abbey

Mr. VJ and I love Asheville, NC specifically the Biltmore Estates (see our last visit here). The Vanderbilt home is just amazing specially during the holidays. The home is lit and adorned with several Christmas trees. The driveways are lined with luminaries.  Mr. VJ and I have gone through all the specialty tours of the home and have enjoyed every single one of them.

Anyway,  my step son had written SNOW on his Christmas list which prompted Mr. VJ and I to take the kids up to the mountains. When we got to the Biltmore Estate, the kids were just in awe of the grandeur of the place.  It was so funny how they were joking around saying maybe we are long lost relatives since our last names both starts with Van. Cracked-up Mr. VJ and I!

Although the weather was gloomy when we were there, that didn't change how beautiful the place was even in the winter time.

 The home's beautiful architecture...

We toured the Vanderbilt home and then the kids chose to do the Butler's Tour. The Butler's tour is a specialty tour where the guide takes you behind the scene of how the home was run back in the days. This picture was taken from the balcony of Mrs. King's room - Biltmore's housekeeper. This tour actually prompted Mr. VJ and I to watch the PBS show - Downton Abbey (here).

"The fictional drama unfolding between Lord and Lady Grantham, their daughters and their staff overlaps the time when George and Edith Vanderbilt lived in the 250-room Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C., opened by Vanderbilt in 1895. Biltmore House bears a striking resemblance to the Crawley’s beloved home, and those similarities are particularly evident during two specialty tours of the House: the Biltmore House Butler’s Tour and the Vanderbilt Family & Friends Tour." (source:

My step son was very much interested and was very attentive to everything the tour guide says that he was right in front of the line the entire time. Funny thing was, the tour guide asked if anyone had a question. My step son raised his hand and asked: 
step son:    "Is it true that Mr. Vanderbilt owned all the land up to those mountains?"
guide:         "Good question! Yes it is true and he even owned past those mountains which is now the Pisgah National Forest."

Mr. VJ and I looked at each other laughing, we just got fact checked!

My family having fun despite the very cold low 30s weather - hey we're Floridians!

walking through one of the many gardens in the property

Yes, we are a family of posers. That's my stepdaughter with me, isn't she adorable? I love the faux fur jacket we got for her, so fab!

on me: 
North Face jacket (coat I brought did not hold up to the freezing weather),
BCBG sweater, 7 for All Mankind jeans, 
Via Spiga boots, Louis Vuitton purse
on her: 
  Gap kids faux fur jacket, H&M sweater, 
Hollister jeans, Claire boots, Juicy Couture purse

Mr. VJ being goofy...
 The drive around the property was so relaxing...

I love this candid picture of hubby and my stepson.

The Antler Hill Village (here) is also one of our favorite place to spend the day.

We had lunch at Cedric's Tavern (here).

 Of course, we still had ice cream and floats at the Creamery (here) despite the freezing temperature.

Kids maze and driving course...

We also toured the Winery (here)...

The Vanderbilt crest could very well fit as the VJ crest, no?   =))

While Mr. VJ and I did wine tasting, the kids were grape juice tasting. Surprisingly, the kids loved the regular grape juice vice the sparkling grape so we ended up buying a bottle for them.

We had dinner at the Deerpark Restaurant (here). They had a sumptous Candle Light buffet spread. My step daughter who said she was not hungry, ended up having four servings of the Prime Rib! Can't  blame her, everything was delicious!

Well, I hope you enjoyed a mini pictorial tour of the Biltmore Estate with us. And when you do watch Downton Abbey, remember how the Biltmore was the real life American version of that show.

I hope you are all having a great week!

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