Daily Archives: March 21, 2015

tuesday morning in the garden: biltmore edition


We’ve just returned from our spring break trip to the mountains, and it was one of our best family vacations yet. I’ll do a few posts on our trip, but first I thought I’d celebrate the return of spring with our trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

Last week was still considered off-season at the Biltmore, and so we knew the weather might be a little iffy. We got very lucky and enjoyed days of warm sunshine and temperatures in the high sixties until the rains moved in on the morning we left town. Prices around town all go up this weekend, so it was extra nice to visit when things were still at a bit of a discount, including our visit to the Biltmore. Because we’ve been reading The Secret Garden in our house, the little one was pretty keen to explore the grounds for the day. She even thought she found the hidden entrance to the secret garden along the way.

Secret Garden1

The house was incredible, but even more fun to visit during the current exhibit “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times“. No photographs were allowed inside the house, but here are a few from the Biltmore’s website:

bh_downton_exhibit_3__large bh_downton_exhibit_2__large

The costumes are the actual ones from the show, and dozens and dozens were arranged throughout the house – both upstairs and downstairs. Each was accompanied by a still from the show showing the actor wearing the clothes, as well as historical information about the evolution of fashion as it related to social change, interesting details about the construction of each piece, and some behind the scenes information about the characters on the show, and how they paralleled the inhabitants of the Biltmore in so many ways.

Dressing Downton 1

I was surprised at how we could enter a new room and see the outfits from afar and know exactly who wore what – so much of the actors’ personalities are portrayed through their fashion choices in the show.

The little one did fairly well on the inside part – she had a few moment of extreme restlessness, but for the most part she humored the rest of us while we traipsed through the multiple floors and staircases. She was more than ready for the gardens, and ready to spot the children and animals from the story. She shushed us along the way, and pointed out signs of spring to us as we meandered for a few hours.

Secret Garden2

Biltmore Garden1 Biltmore Garden2 Biltmore Garden4 Biltmore Garden5 Biltmore Garden6 Biltmore Garden3 Biltmore Garden9 Biltmore Garden7 Biltmore Garden8 Biltmore Garden10 Biltmore Garden13 Biltmore Garden12 Biltmore Garden11 Biltmore Garden15 Biltmore Garden14
We returned to the house by early afternoon, and walked around to explore some of the details.

Biltmore5 Biltmore3 Biltmore2 Biltmore6 Biltmore7

We swapped the camera to take the obligatory souvenir family photos, and headed over to the village on the grounds to rest our legs where we enjoyed a very late lunch next to a sunny window.

What a lovely way to usher in spring.