Posted by: thewoobdog | January 23, 2009


By which I mean, of course, “Catch Up” – yes, pointless and terrible pun, but “Catch Up” as a blog title sounded almost as bad as “Update.”

So, anyway, where did we leave off?  Oh, right, Christmas and the flood.  So, Christmas was awesome – the normal craziness of trying to be with two sets of parents at different times in the same day, rushing around and trying to do too much and see too many people, while also keeping firmly in the forefront of one’s mind the real reason for the celebration…  But it was a fun and crazy time and we enjoyed catching up with lots of people we don’t get to see very often (my parents do an open house in the afternoon/evening so all our family and friends can get together in one place and visit and enjoy the day).

My big surprise present to TBear was a three-day, two-night romantic Candlelight Christmas visit to Biltmore Estate, which is this a-freaking-mazing massive 250-room mansion built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895 and still privately owned by his descendants (to quote the website – “this French Renaissance chateau remains America’s largest privately-owned home…The house covers 4 acres, totaling 175,000 square feet. It consists of 250 rooms that include 35 guest and family rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, and three kitchens”) .  It sits on 80,000 acres and has a winery, farm, formal gardens, conservatory, and restaurants.  We stayed at the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate, which is actually located on the estate and is absolutely luxurious (and far nicer than anywhere we’d ever stayed before!).


We arrived at the estate with just enough time to check in to our room, then we headed over to the house itself to eat at the Stable Cafe – actually a nice restaurant (upscale steak kind of place, contrary to the name) that is in the converted stables attached to the mansion (and holy cow, these horses must have had it good!).  Then we got to do a self-guided tour of the (four-story-plus-basement) house itself, all decorated for Christmas and lit by the soft (electric-assisted) glow of candlelight.  There were also a ballet performance of sections of the Nutcracker Suite, a full choir singing carols, and story-telling and marionettes as part of the tour in the house.  Yeah.  AMAZING.

So, we spent January 1 – January 3 there, blissfully alone together in this incredibly romantic setting, and just took time to relax, rewind, and recharge while enjoying the house and grounds.  It was especially nice to have the time to ourselves after all the furor of the holidays. We did a daytime tour of the house, toured the winery, and went to a couple of the other fabulous restaurants.  We also took a special rooftop tour of the house that let us into areas not normally open to the public, including the roof.  Here’s a pic of one view:


That big building with the spires and gables there to the right of the big roof?  That’s the stables and courtyard.  Yeah.

So that was major fun and we actually ended up getting season passes so we could go back when all the gardens and grounds are in bloom – the estate is about 3 hours from where we live, so it’s a good weekend trip.

Ok.  That’s enough for now.  Since then I’ve been sick for three weeks, started a new semester of grad school, and suffered heinous deadline pressure at work (hence the lack of blogging).  Someday I’ll get around to posting all the amusing blogs about our other interim experiences that I composed in my head but never actually wrote down…



  1. How’d I miss this one?

    That place does look amazing. Sounds like a great time.

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