Forgive me if I re-wind the calendar almost one month, to April 8. I have had so much other content for the blog recently that there was no room for our trip to the Biltmore. In 1895, George W. Vanderbilt opened Biltmore as an escape from everyday life for family and friends. Since 1930, it has been open to the public, and what a boon for tourism and employment in the area! It currently employs over 2,000 people to tend the house, gardens and Antler Village and Winery.
While we enjoyed the house, the gardens were the true highlight. First, the outdoor beds with spectacular tulips. The gardener on-site that day told us they plant 100,000 tulip bulbs every fall. And then they PULL THEM UP AND THROW THEM AWAY after their prime. Apparently, they are so hybridized that they only flower well once. From the showy colors that we witnessed, it is as though the tulips know they only have this one chance! Note the picture in the upper-left-hand corner of this collage – this is how natural tulips look.
Second, the greenhouse took our breath away. This collage shows only a sampling of the orchids and other unique plants we found there.
In one arm of the greenhouse, a cellist played, and the mellow strains of her music wafted outside theopen doors to the patio beyond, where we ate our home-packed snacks.
When we could tear ourselves away from the greenhouse, we visited Antler Village and simply had to sample the beverages. Although it was a little breezy, we suffered through with cheese, crackers and olives on the patio outside the tasting room. A little later, we occupied a couple of Adirondack chairs in the bright sun while listening to a folk band. I am pretty sure Spousal Unit caught 40 winks. Must have been the beer ….