Push Away the Screen: Biltmore Bonding Day 2

This is part 2 of a 3 part series. You can read part 1 HERE

After our fun first day at the Biltmore, I couldn't wait to get up and explore the property!! But after too much wine the night before, James was moving S.L.O.W. so I took the kids off property and out to breakfast and brought him something back. By the time we got back, he was up showered, and ready for the day!

We decided that we would go and tour the amazing Vanderbilt home: The Biltmore Estate. I should have realized we were in for a crowd when we had to park FAR away and take a pretty long shuttle ride up to the house. Not only that, but we had to wait in line for the shuttle and didn't make it on the first one. Oops. Already James and Ronin were grumbling under their breath about the amount of people there. I told them to suck it up, and off we went.

The girls thought the outside of the house was so cool, but just couldn't understand why one family needed something so large. They were especially impressed by the lion statues around the house.

Our tickets also came with a self-guided audio tour, so we picked up our headsets, we grabbed a kids scavenger hunt sheet and off we went to tour the house. And then we stopped. Lines. LONG LINES! We felt like we were at Disney. It was THAT crowded. My autistic son and his daddy don't do lines very well. Ronin doesn't have the patience, and James has a bad back and can't stand without moving, and folks we weren't going anywhere!! We made it through 2 rooms when we just hit a wall of people. I looked at James, the kids, and I said, "that's it, we're cutting our loses now, let's get out of here." And just like that an executive decision was made, and we politely said "excuse me, excuse me, excuse me" to the hundreds of people in front of us, dropped off our headsets, and high-tailed it out of the house. Tongue Out

As soon as we hit the fresh air, I heard a collective sigh of relief. Our family are such outdoor nature buffs, and that is where we really enjoy spending most of our time. It was 11am, I had packed my backpack full of water and snacks (a mom of Irish Triplets is ALWAYS prepared) and we had the entire day to explore! James and I decided we'd let Ronin be our navigator so he took the map and off we went!!

He had his compass set to find the Bass Pond and nothing would stop him. Except tadpoles.

My kids L.O.V.E. exploring and this trip gave them plenty of opportunities. Just days earlier we went to a series of beautiful waterfalls in DuPont State Forest and my kids found tadpoles in the water puddles.

Eh, whatever. Kids will be kids and they had a blast!

But again, we are on a mission to find the Bass Pond!! Through the beautiful gardens we went!

 

And we stopped to look at a lot of really cool things. Like this Cypress tree. I had never seen so many knees with only one tree!!

Ronin was ahead of us and kept saying "come on guys, let's get to the Bass Pond, LET'S HUSTLE." Hehe...he gets LET'S HUSTLE from me. Wink

But Haley had other ideas.

She found this cute little waterfall that she said must be a fairy waterfall. So sweet.

Finally we made it to the Bass Pond!! And they had a nice bench there, so James sat to reflect.

But Ronin wouldn't let us sit still for long because there was a WATERFALL up ahead at the other end of the Bass Pond and he had to find it NOW!!

But again, the girls had other ideas. Not sure why this one picture is so small, but this was the biggest stump we'd ever seen. The girls tried to count the rings, but Ronin was can you guess? Yes, he was in a hurry!!

 We found it and it was a pretty steep drop down!

By this time we were starting to get hungry for some real food and we still had to hike back to the house. Decision time. Do we go back the way we came, or do we take the challenge and go through some wooded trails. What do you think we did? Of course, we went for the challenge. Up and down mountains we went, but not a complaint was heard. It was beautiful. It was quiet. And best of all? THERE WERE NO PEOPLE on the trail!!

All together we spent about 4 1/2 hours exploring the grounds and along the way we saw trails marked for bikes. We decided that our next adventure would be to go to the bike barn and rent bikes. But first, we needed food!! We took the shuttle back to the car, went to Moe's for lunch, headed back to our room to refill our water and we were back out to explore!

Part 3 of this series will detail our adventures on the Biltmore bike paths!! Good times!

Does your family enjoy exploring nature?

Push Away the Screen: Biltmore Bonding Day 1

Our family took the opportunity to Push Away the Screen and spent a few days bonding at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. We stayed right on the Biltmore property at the Inn at Biltmore Estate. We did so much while we were there that I am going to post this in multiple segments so I don't leave anything out!

We did our research before arriving at the Estate, but we were still unprepared for the grandeur and VIP treatment that awaited us!

When we arrived there was a long line of cars turning in to the visitors center to buy tickets, and then line of cars waiting their turn to get on the property. This line went quickly, and at the guard gate we gave the guard our name and he presented us with this:

We felt so special with our monogrammed parking pass and Vanderbilt sticker! We drove up to the Inn twisting and turning through the steep (well to a Floridian they are steep) mountain hills and this is what suddenly appeared in our sight! It was even more beautiful than I imagined and it took my breath away! We parked and went to see if our room was ready since we had arrived a few hours early. Our room was not ready, but we still had all access to all the Inn facilities so we headed off to the pool! Every where that we went Biltmore employees said "hello, good afternoon" and opened doors for us. It was so nice.

The pool was beautiful and we were the ONLY ones there!! It was a beautiful afternoon so I think all the other guests were probably out enjoying the gardens, the winery, or touring the estate!

Ella and Ronin were jumping in and out of the pool looking at all the cool insects that were buzzing about!

Our room was scheduled to be ready by 4pm, but the front desk called me just a few minutes before 2pm to let me know that it was ready. Upon check-in I asked if an upgrade was possible, but I was told that we were in the best possible room for our party of 5; A large end unit with lots of privacy.

And it was large! We had 2 queen beds, and a full size twin for Ronin. Plus THREE sitting areas and more than enough chairs. The only thing the room was lacking was a fridge. But we travel with a cooler, and our room was right next to the ice machine room, so really it wasn't that big of a deal.

And our view...oh our view was amazing!! At night we could totally see Downtown Asheville all light up in lights! Beautiful!

Ronin was just fascinated by the windows. They actually opened and had screens! It was so nice! We didn't even need the AC because the weather was so perfect while we were there! We just opened up the windows and had Nature's AC!

We had a quick bite to eat from our cooler, and then decided we would go and check out Antler Hill Village.Because I believe in walking when you can, I refused to allow our family to take the Biltmore shuttle down to Antler Hill Village, so we followed the very nice paved walking path from the Inn to the Village.

 About half way down the path, I turned back and this was my view! It was breathtaking!

Ronin led the way and we eventually made it to the Winery. He misread some signs, but that's part of the adventure, right? No worries, we had plenty of time and leading the family made him feel important. I knew we were going the wrong way, but it's all part of the learning process.

Who knew that part of a wine cask was called a bung hole?? I chuckled out loud at that one!

And they had a wine library!! You can take the girl out of the library, but never the library out of the girl!

We were able to sample every wine that Biltmore offers! I am a white/rose wine drinker, while James prefers reds. And they had grape juice for the kids! The girls sipped their juice, while Ronin chugged his and kept asking for "more, please. More, please." At least he had good manners, and then I kid you not...he passed out. I think all the late nights, and excitement from being on vacation caught up with him.

It was actually really nice for James and I. Because Ronin was sleeping, the girls entertained themselves by drawing and taking photos and James and I were able to enjoy the wine tasting. And Ella enjoyed photo bombing every picture Haley took of us. Tongue Out

After we finished the tasting we each decided on a flavor (is that what you call it???) that we wanted to buy to bring home. James went off to buy them, and this is what I got to do. That's right. I got to carry 65 pounds of dead weight through the Antler Hill Village. Thank goodness for CrossFit.

After 30 minutes or so of this, I just couldn't carry him anymore, so I had to wake him up and we found the kids playground!! It was beautiful and the trio got to play in sand, water, and rocks, while James and I enjoyed some more adult beverages.

Can you guess which one is mine?

We had a few beers, the kids played, ate some french fries at Cedric's Tavern, and then we decided to head back up to our room! This time we did take the Biltmore shuttle back up to the Inn but only because James was carrying many bottles of wine. Tongue Out

We got back to the room, dropped the wine off and then returned to the Village to explore the Farm!! They had the most adorable baby goats!!

This goat loved to nibble on the kids!

And farm equipment that you could climb on!

And it was so nice to see my trio getting along!

After the farm went out to dinner to a local burger joint where I had a bottle of ketchup explode all over me and ruin my 2013 Gasparilla 1/2 Marathon shirt. Yell

Then we came back to the room, went swimming, dried off, and then went down to the game room where we ended the night with a family night of Wii and Xbox playing! We played Just Dance and drank wine and juice and it was lovely. We closed the game room down at 11:10pm, headed back to the room and had a very nice nights sleep.

The End of Day 1.

Music Monday: Carolina In My Mind

As our family prepares to take our summer vacation there is only one song I can think of: Carolina in my Mind by James Taylor.

We're heading to the mountains of Hendersonville and Asheville, North Carolina. We'll be staying with my aunt for a few days where we will explore Sliding Rock, go gem mining, and hike.  Then we were invited to a VIP treatment at the Biltmore Inn. We are super excited! Over 22 miles of trails on the Biltmore property! They will provide us with bikes to explore the property as well as access to all the gardens, a Winerty tour and wine tasting!! They also have horseback riding and kayaking! It's a perfect vacation for an active family like ours! We'll have lots of opportunities to PUSH AWAY THE SCREEN!! We'll also be making a pit-stop to meet up with my peeps at Feetures!

After we leave the mountains we are driving south to South Carolina for 2 days. My husband lived in SC for 12 years and has some family there, so we are arranging a meet-up at a state park. I am really looking forward to this vacation! I'm even looking forward to the DRIVE! I love to drive, so I've agreed to drive the ENTIRE trip, as long as it's light outside, I'll be behind the wheel. I don't drive well in the dark.

 



Have you ever been to Asheville? Ever stayed at the Biltmore Inn?? Any activities we MUST do??
Do you like road trips??