Biltmore House a 175,00 Square Foot Home

Imagine living in a house with 65 fireplaces.

One of the largest mansions in California, Hearst Castle at 70,000 square feet, is a pittance of the size of the Biltmore House in Ashville, NC.

Biltmore frontVince and I are grateful to our fun Diamond Resorts hostess, Chastity, for the opportunity to see this magnificent home which is still owned by the descendants of George Vanderbilt.

Neither of us had seen snow for a while, so getting up in Gatlinburg, TN to heavy flurries excited us until the cold wind hit.

Gatlinburg

It didn’t bother any of the stylishly dressed mannequins inside the Biltmore Estate. Scattered among the antiques which are original to the home, each room on the main floors is “hosted” by models wearing clothing from the movie, “Titanic.”

Biltmore

As part of our special Diamond Resorts Events package, we also got to go behind the scenes at the Estate. All of us on the tour opted to stay off the roof, which was the tour our hosts had planned for us. Our guide, Ruth Ann, gave us a choice and showed us behind the scenes in the guest bedrooms, storage rooms and staff quarters instead.

BiltmoreIf you are wondering, the cylindrical item on the table is a vacuum cleaner.

In the George Vanderbilt’s era, the women’s guest rooms did not have access to a sink in the bathroom. Would you like to know why?

Of course, you would.

Women didn’t turn on their own water. It was work, so female guests had attendants do it for them. Mr. Vanderbilt wanted his female guests to be pampered and have the water brought to their rooms. Male guests had sinks in their bathrooms.

The guest bathrooms did have toilets and large tubs. Some women of that era did not think it was good manners to have a toilet inside the house. Those guests received a chamber pot instead.  We saw where all they stored all the old pots. 🙂

Since the family still owns this home, all the furniture has stayed with the house, and believe it or not, there’s not enough room to display it all. So some of it is kept in the fourth-floor bedrooms. One of the rooms was also used to film  the movie “Private Eyes” starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway.

BiltmoreWe spent time at the grand staircase talking about the chandelier, which is 50 feet tall and weighs 1,700 pounds. One bolt keeps it from tumbling down on your head.  If you zoom in on this picture you can see that the bolt is not on exactly straight on center.

Biltmore

The reason for that is because the Biltmore is on a fault line. In case of an earthquake or another disaster, the chandelier is able to move around on that attachment.

BiltmoreEventually, it will scrape off all the paint up there, so if it looks like you have dandruff when you walk underneath the chandelier, it is probably just flecks of paint. By the way, all the lights are still replaced the same way they did them in 1895. Brave workers use a whatchamacallit to drop the lights in place. They don’t screw into a socket.

Biltmore

Check out the library on the main floor, with 23,000 volumes all handpicked by Mr. Vanderbilt. Private eye, Don Knotts, discovered a few of the books missing when he got to tour the home. Sure enough, the family found those missing books at auctions and repurchased them.

Biltmore

This is Marsha Ingrao reporting as accurately as my brain remembers the fascinating trivia I learned at the Biltmore Estate. I hope that you enjoyed your brief tour.

For more walks check out:

 

8 BENEFITS TO BECOMING A TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER

Dennis Scott Carruthers contacted me by email asking to do a guest post on Always Write. I checked out his website, http://www.carruthersphoto.com/. Even though I’m a bit envious, I loved his work. See if you feel the same way.

travel photography

8 BENEFITS TO BECOMING A TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE AN AMATEUR

by D. Scott Carruthers

DO YOU LOVE TAKING PICTURES?

Becoming a travel photographer is one of the most exciting career paths any budding photographer can take. As commercial flights get cheaper and traveling is more emphasized as a hobby rather than a luxury, more photographers find themselves wanting to pursue their passion for images and explore unknown parts of the world.

In this post, we will be discovering the eight benefits of becoming a travel photographer. Read more at https://marshajustwrites.com/travel-photography/

What’s Oddball in Las Vegas?

Nothing

That’s the real answer. Everything here is normal no matter how weird it might seem anywhere else in the world. Umbrellas on the ceiling?

oddballs in Las Vegas
Why Not? Rain expected in Las Vegas?

It’s EDC, Electric Daisy Carnival, weekend. Vince thought it would make it even weirder than normal, but I think not.

These attractive giants posed with others in various outfits all along the strip. They all featured the headdress and feathers, but the rest of the costumes varied. The first ones we saw just had on daisies and little panties. Vince would have preferred them.

These girls were more demure.What was odd is that one of my friends asked if I was really that blond! Sorry, I forgot my feathers!

oddballs in Las Vegas

Too hot for you? It was 110+ while we were out there.

Heady here looks a little more modest but I remember when red and maroon did not go together. Why would you buy this blouse if you live in Vegas? It looks like crushed velvet. Oh… It’s a dress? Whew! What has happened to fashion sense? What’s up with that neckline? Yikes.

The next fashionista wears the same high neckline. We did not see anyone on the streets wearing tops with a high neckline. Again, the heat must have gone to her head and she sports a bright red bag to clash with her textured top.oddballs in Las VegasThe next young man has his own fashion problems.

oddballs in Las Vegas

I knew smalls meant underwear in Australian, so I texted this pic to Carol. She informed me that his smalls had ripped. Poor guy.

That’s all that was odd in Las Vegas – that I could photograph anyway.

oddballs in Las VegasFor more Oddballs visit Cee Neuner’s Oddball Challenge

 

Best Advice for Living a Full LIfe

Cee’s Oddball Photo Challenge

Best Advice
“Your world is a living expression of how you
are using—and have used—your mind. ” Earl Nightingale

“Earl Nightingale was an American radio personality, writer, speaker, and author, dealing mostly with the subjects of human character development, motivation, excellence and meaningful existence; so named as the “Dean of Personal Development.” Wikipedia

The statue stands guard on the steps of the Canopy Cathedral at Longwood Gardens.

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How to Enjoy the Ballarat Botanical Gardens

If you go to Victoria, you HAVE to take the hour and a half train from Melbourne and visit the City of Ballarat Botanical Gardens across the street from Lake Wendouree.

Rated 2 Out of 73 Places to Visit in Ballarat

Australia trip #17 Jo’s Monday Walks, Cee’s Which Way Challenge

If you go to Victoria, you HAVE to take the hour and a half train from Melbourne and visit Ballarat.  Ballarat Botanical Gardens

The hurried bustle of Melbourne changed in minutes once we left the station.

Ballarat Botanical GardensSoon the brown landscape reminded me of the Central Valley of California, where I live. Not much changed during the hour trip, and it sped by so quickly you would not have enjoyed the picture.

Ballarat or Bust

Yes, the 1850 Australian Gold Rush happened in Ballarat. We approached the golden gates at lunch time so our hostesses, Carol’s sister-in-law and niece, took us to lunch at Pipers by the Lake.

Ballarat Botanical GardensManny, my traveling bear, always says, “I’m never hungry, but I can always eat.”

Notice he liked pasta. I chose pumpkin soup. Australian pumpkin anything is fabulous, and Pipers did not disappoint. In retrospect, I probably should not have opted for the hot soup. The afternoon temperatures soared into the late nineties.

After lunch, I was ready for a nap, but these energetic, climate-time-adjusted women got Manny and me up and on our feet. Weather of almost any kind melts me, but the beauty surrounding the restaurant spurred me on.

Ballarat Botanical GardensAfter some quick photo ops on the Lily Bridge decorating Lake Wendouree, donned in my Stabilisation Shoes (spelled the Australia way, pronounced stable-I-ZA-shun), I was primed for a long walk.

I longed for air conditioning. Instead, we walked down the block a bit and along Lake Wendouree. There really are black swans, so, in spite of the heat, I began to catch their enthusiasm.

Ballarat Botanical GardensSoon we crossed the western side of the street to the City of Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Rated #2 of 73 things to do by Trip Advisor, my guides Mandy, Katie, and Carol could not have made a better choice of introduction to Ballarat for me.

It’s only a few minutes’ drive from the Central Business District of Ballarat, abbreviated as CBD, to find Pipers and the Gardens. BTW, when you visit Australia, realize that you also have to know all the acronyms and nicknames for common words.

The Gardens are divided into three zones. We spent most of our time in the central Botanical Gardens, which you will see when you scroll down. One Australian website referred to the central area as a Victorian pleasure garden.

Ballarat Botanical GardensOn either side of the park entrance, there are open parkland buffers known as the North and South Gardens. On this summer day, families and lovers lounged on the cool grass under the shade trees.

The pair of marble lions situated just inside the gates began guarding the entrance to the garden in 1893.

The Gardens celebrated its sesquicentenary (150 years old) in 2007.

The South Gardens

Practically every Australian park I toured honored their soldiers in some way. The Ballarat Gardens feature Australia’s Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial, designed by local artist Peter Blizzard. Opened in 2004, the 130-meter long granite wall has the names of 35,000 Australian Prisoners of War etched into it, 8,600 of whom died and are buried on foreign soil.

Ballarat Botanical GardensTeacher, Carol determined that I would LEARN everything about Australia during this trip. She took it easy on me right after lunch as we strolled along the moving POW memorial. I guess she hadn’t learned about all 35,000 names either.

However, when we marched down Prime Minister Lane, it was a different story. Carol told me about the first, the best, and the worst Prime Ministers.

Here are some Wiki-facts to test your memory for the quiz at the end of this post.  Prime Ministers Avenue is set within Horse Chestnut Avenue. Alfred Deakin founded the Federation of Australia Deakin and served as the first Federal Member for Ballarat and the second Prime Minister.

I tried as hard as I could to memorize all the names, faces and fun facts as she enthusiastically told me about each one. TC History Gal should be good at this, right?

Ballarat Botanical GardensThe flat pathway through the shade of beautiful trees on a quiet afternoon caused me to zone out.  I enjoyed the experience of being in a new place with hospitable people. Conversations buzzed around me like busy mosquitoes. Speaking of mosquitoes, the tiny insects may have had their way with this Prime Minister.

Ouch!

Ballarat Botanical GardensMaybe it was because their names were etched in gold, too light to read. It certainly was not the hot pumpkin soup. Needless to say, Carol may have struck out on this teaching venture. The good news is that if you want to know the Australian Prime Ministers, they are listed here.

The Center Zone

Opened in 1995, Bob Clark donated two million dollars to build the Conservatory to honor his Grandfather Robert Clark – co-founder of The Courier newspaper.

To the north of the roundabout stood the heritage statuary pavilion. This historic-looking building housed the Stoddart Statue collection. The group of statues consists of 12 white marble figures from Italy donated by Thomas Stoddart in 1884.
Vandals exist even in Australia, and they damaged the statues. So after nearly 120 years of roaming free in the 99-acre park, the figures crowded into to this pavilion home in 2002.
Ballarat Botanical GardensRebekah flirted with us while trying to keep fresh in her hot summer garb. I sympathized. It felt warm enough to me to wear different clothes. Maybe not that open, though!
Ballarat Botanical Gardens Modesty stood serenely behind her glazed window. She allowed us to glimpse her beauty beneath her sheer drapes. Judging by her straight, slim toes, she was pretty foxy in her day. But she did not look like she had much of a sense of humor.

The Conservatory

North Gardens

I read that the remains of a zoo dot the North Gardens. Either we did not visit that, or I fell asleep under a tree, and a lion ate me.

Link to This Post!

If you have been to Ballarat and have written a post about it, feel free to link an article in the comment section. I don’t know about other readers, but I’ll check it out!

Ballarat Botanical Gardens
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Quiz

Who was Australia’s second Prime Minister?

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