What's Biltmore? Located in Asheville, North Carolina among an unbelievable mountainous landscape sits a breathtaking mansion, estate, castle...all of the above? This is where I spent last Sunday. For those of you who know me, you know that I'm rarely at a loss for words especially when books are the topic. This past Sunday, I truly understood the meaning of the word speechless. Our first stop that morning was to enjoy brunch at the restaurant located on the estate. Restaurant? Seems a poor description of the place where we dined. The sun was barely peeking through that morning and there was a fantastic breeze in the air. We walk in through towering double doors across a dark cobblestone-like floor, to our right was an enormous ballroom. We were escorted through the diningroom and there wasn't a bad table in the place. From the wide windows lining the room, there was a view of a beautiful courtyard from every seat. Spaced among the windows, were tall doors opened to admit the most refreshing breeze. Speechless- I tell you my mouth was open in amazement the entire time. Such beauty-don't think I can ever recall being in the midst of such scenery. The brunch buffet was to die for and boasted everything from homemade oat bread with apple butter, chicken and waffles to Cajun rice croquettes, chilled shrimp and salmon. I could go on for hours about the food!
The place itself? Biltmore. Whatever you've heard, can't possible do justice to the actual sight of it. The place has over 200 rooms, I believe we saw 40 of them and we were there for well over 2 hours. Seemed shorter than that to me, it was such an incredible treat. Don't get me started on the library folks- first editions of every genre it seemed tucked in every nook and cranny of an expansive room with plush chairs, throw pillows and tapestries. As exquisite as the decor was, I think I was most in awe of what could not be made by man-the view. It's said that the estate's owner George Vanderbilt was so inspired by the mountain oasis that he decided to build his home there. The view is just that gorgeous and for me words can't aptly describe it. I know that I plan to make a return trip. I'd say that every author should visit at least once- you are bound to be filled with sooo many story ideas that you should probably carry a notebook to jot them down. You can visit just to enjoy the hiking trails or just find a place to sit and take in the scenery. Me? I plan to return with pen and pad in hand, claim a spot on the pristine grounds and create the day away.