Push Away the Screen: Biltmore Bonding Day 1 30 June 2013 jennifer Jenny 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. 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. 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. 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.