My husband and I traveled to the east coast recently. We made it to Charleston, SC. and a little further south along the outer banks. We crossed the Smoky Mountains, drove through tree-lined avenues that seemed to go on forever and gazed at the magnificent Atlantic ocean and the ever-changing tide waters. My imagination was on overdrive!
Our first stop was to the Biltmore Castle, near Asheville, NC. It is modeled after a French chateau and is considered the biggest home in the United States. It was owned by the Vanderbilts. Thousands of acres surround this palace and it was the 'go-to' place for the rich and famous in the last century. The Vanderbilts built their own village, hiked the surrounding mountains, built retreats along the routes, and enjoyed the quiet serenity of the country.
As I toured this house, my writer radar kept going off. Maybe it's the Downton Abbey series that I thought of, but I would enjoy a story about the rich who visited, yes, but my interest was in the employees who lived there. What did they see? What did they experience?
If you know any history regarding the Vanderbilts, you know there is no good ending for this family. They faced many crises, suicide, and bankruptcy.
This is one corner of one of the gardens! This is a three-tiered garden with walkways down to the greenhouse. The greenhouse is bigger than most of our homes. I could have spent the whole day in the gardens.
Generally when I see large lion statues, I think of a museum. This beast is at the front door of the Biltmore home. The home is now a museum, but this lion was here long before it became one. There is also a garden full of statues, arbors and shaded walkways.
We enjoyed our stay in Asheville. If you are in need of some ideas for a story, this may be the place for you to visit. Even now, in present time, the number of people working to keep this place going is numerous. They hold concerts here and other big name functions. I would love to be a part of the background - the workers who keep this museum going.
I'll share more of our trip another day.
Til then ~