Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

America's Downton Abby

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and a mere 2 hours from us, is America's Downton Abby.
The Biltmore Estate
Construction of the house was completed in 1895 
It was the vision of  George Vanderbuilt ( grandson of the famous industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt) who fell in love with the beautiful landscape of the North Carolina Mountains and woods.

He envisioned a great Mansion, inspired by the great castles and manor homes in Europe and spared no expense to create this incredible "Chalet style" home..
He, his wife and one child lived in this luxurious home....
with 200 servants. 

We visited the estate with my 91 year old mother, it was quite wonderful.
From an artists point of view, this place is a masterpiece of sculpture, design, opulence and elegance.

Everywhere you look, there is something spectacular to view.

 Little gargoyles, angels, lions and medieval characters make appearances from every nook and cranny. The take you by surprise!


 This "American Castle" is HUGE.

 It requires  many hours to take it all in.. Each enormous room is so full of architectural details, as to boggle the mind.
 Those are actually organ pipes up above the carved relief.
The ceiling in this banquet room are 70 ft high.

Mr.Vanderbilt collected art from all over the world, and he used his house to showcase
the work of painters, sculptors and designers.

 All the ceilings are simply breathtaking!
 Even the ceiling beams are inlaid with geometric designs

 There are  numerous 16th century tapestries in the home,
and 65 fireplaces.
This stone fireplace was my favorite

Just look at this Solarium, wouldn't you love to breakfast here?


 This is the top  of the solarium roof looking out of a 3rd floor window.

The Library contains over 10 thousand books

I don't remember the square footage of the house, but it is said that Downton Abby would fit comfortably  inside the Biltmore 1 and 1/2 times.

 One thing that really stood out to me, was the width and ceiling height of the hallways, even in the basement, where the kitchen and servants quarters were.
The halls were enormous and the servants rooms were really quite nice, though simple...
it was kind of a relief after experiencing all the opulence Upstairs.
 Gosh, see that kitchen table? I have one just like that in my studio!

As someone of simple tastes, I always seem to prefer the Downstairs Quarters in great homes, and can see the absolute beauty of the pots, pans and the
 Killer stove!

One of my favorite rooms in the basement was this one... It was actually 3 rooms;
 all of them, for the sole purpose,

of creating FLORAL arrangements for the house
Look at the wonderful glass cloches on the top shelf!
They didn't have to look far to get the flowers and plants for the arrangements....

 because located on the 1000 acre property is a fabulous Conservatory

 and several Greenhouses


 You can just see the tops of at least 4 greenhouse in the distance.

Walk through these gates....

and enter into a FABulous group of garden rooms !
  The borders just go on and on and on...

 Even at the end of August, the plants are still stunners.

 I could post dozens more pictures, but I've already gone on too long.

 We must go back in the Spring when thousands of Spring Bulbs will be providing a magnificent show!

My dear mother enjoyed it as much as I did.
I've only given you a taste of the BILTMORE.
It's quite enjoyable to see how the other half lived at the turn of the century.
  I urge you to visit the Biltmore website and plan a trip to America's Downton Abby!
PS. I want to thank you for your prayers for little Bryce and feel it only fair to tell you a bit about the situation. My son and his wife had taken in the little boy for over a year with the intention of  adopting him, when abruptly, the birth mother took him back. Under normal circumstances, one hopes for a child to be with the natural mother....but these are not normal circumstances and your continued prayers for his well-being are much appreciated.


  1. I will pray for Bryce always as well as your son and his wife.
    Your Mom has a nice smile.

    1. Thank you for that, he needs your prayers. My mom always had a beautiful smile with perfect teeth, but I see she's not showing them in this photo.

  2. Biltmore is beautiful, but I really envy you still having your mom. My mother passed away back in 1985 and I would give anything to have her here today.

    1. I really didn't expect to see mom anytime soon, as she lives in Colorado, but my sister bought her a ticket and out she flew, at 91!My goodness, you've been without you mom for a long time; I am so grateful mine has lived a long life.

  3. Good morning dearest Jeri Landers! It's been so long since I've seen you and coming to your blog always gives me great feelings from blogland of the past. I always say Penny here, and we ooohed and awwwwed over your creations, and we still do!

    I've never had the opportunity to visit this grand place, but I have seen many a mansion on the East Coast as well as here in Minneapolis. These are fine inspirations as I too love architecture and like you, LOVE the servants' quarters and kitchens! And who wouldn't want a FLORIST'S room as such!!!!!!

    I pray that God's goodness and mercy will follow little Bryce all the days of his life. Your son's and daughter-in-law's care for him will not be forgotten. God bless you all!

    1. You would love it, My photos did not do justice to the grounds, which I think are most spectacular. 1000 acres of woods, rivers, bridges, mountains and much formal landscaping as well.
      Bryce will always have my heart, my prayers and God's love.

  4. Poppy and I have visited Biltmore once. The beauty of it all was absolutely overwhelming! I was amazed at the size and beauty. We live in an 1100 sq. ft. log cabin. :) Like you, I would prefer the basement or where the servants lived. That part was beautiful! Thank you for saying a word about little Bryce. I read your last post but did not know who little Bryce was. That is very sad. You have a wonderful son and daughter-in-law.

    1. You really can't take it all in in a day. I had to rush through the basement because my mom couldn't come down the stairs. I do appreciate my home even more, after seeing the luxury of the Biltmore, I prefer the simple life.
      Yes, my son and D_I_L are very special, it has been a painful experience.

  5. Thank you for taking us on the tour as well! Can't imagine what it was like to actually live there during it's "heyday". I'm sorry to hear about little Bryce. I know of another situation where a birth mother wanted to reclaim her son, but in the end the foster parents adopted him, much for the better. I hope things work out well. -Jenn

    1. I'm praying that Bryce will get a permanent and safe home, even if it's not with my son.

  6. Oh Jeri, my heart sank at your last missive. I've seen it so often. May all prayers be answered. I think I am most awed that they had 200 servants. I've heard it is stunning at Christmas too. What a trip for you and your mother.

    1. I know, the occurrence is far too common; it really touches you when it is so close to home and you know the little person involved...terribly painful.
      I thought it pretty cool that the Vanderbilts employed so many people,I am sure they had constant guests and parties.
      James and I may go back at Christmas, they have concerts and a wonderful Holiday Display.

  7. Jeri, I am sorry about your son and his wife losing little Bryce. I will be praying for the best outcome for Bryce and hope all parties concerned will experience whatever kind of healing they may need.

    I'm with you in preferring the downstairs kind of life, though I wouldn't mind breakfast in that conservatory or a reading a good book before that fire in the library! And personally, I prefer YOUR garden!

    1. thank you for the prayers Cathy, it means so much.
      I like my garden and simple home much more than the huge mansion...but, my gosh, that Solarium, though enormous, was really cozy looking. Having a cuppa tea inside would've been nice.

  8. Thanks for sharing the Biltmore, what a beautiful place.

    I'm sorry for your son and wife losing little Bryce. Praying it will all work out for good in the end and that healing of hurts will happen.


    1. We are praying for what is best for Bryce, no matter where that leads. Thanks Lorraine.

  9. Thank you for the summer tour of Biltmore, Jeri. We visited years ago in the spring. I must say it is maginificent as you have shown. I do enjoy seeing the downstairs as well. Those folks worked so hard to maintain such a large home! I love the way Fredrick Law Olmstead designed the grounds around this glorious home/castle.
    I have been wondering about Bryce. I do pray that all goes well with him for the future. It must be heartbreaking for your son and his wife. I will keep them in my prayers. ♥

    1. I sorta knew you would have been there Martha! It is right up your alley. I think the garden was actually my favorite, but autumn is not the best time to see the plants.

      It has been totally heartbreaking for all of us, but more than that, we know the situation of the parent and it is not good.

  10. Biltmore is certainly an experience. Not exactly homey but with 200 servants to do the work and keep things going it surely must have been pretty easy to live in and a wonderful space for entertaining.

    You do need to go at Christmastime and take lots of pictures to show us. I imagine that it will be worth the trip.

    Sorry to hear about Bryce-----how sad. Hopefully things will work out for the best in the end for all those involved.

    1. It isn't the kind of home I would want, by any means, but it would be fun to work there as a guide (for a younger person), I kept thinking.

  11. Dear Jeri - what a lovely trip through this gorgeous place. Hubby and I toured it many years ago. Much of it I had forgotten so it was great fun to see your pics. I especially remember the gardens though and also at the time we had lunch in what was the Stable. Such a treat for your mom. I will continue to pray for Bryce as well as your family. It must be very hard to let someone you love go. Take care and thanks again for sharing. Hugs!

    1. We were going to have lunch in the stable but there was a mile long line.
      Thank you for your prayers

  12. I love that you notice the quirky little details. That's what I do too:-) I would do things like count the gargoyles or something silly like that. What a beautiful place. Will continue to pray for little Bryce.

    1. Thank you Lady for the prayers.
      There is just something about that persnickity detail that gets me excited!

  13. Oh Jeri, this is an amazing sight! The sculptures and relief work is just breathtaking. Thank you for taking me along. And the gardens, they are gorgeous.
    Such a lovely photo of your mom. She looks great! How wonderful to have her with you there. I am keeping all of you in my prayers daily, especially little Bryce.
    Love and blessings

    1. Penny, I knew you would appreciate the relief work, if you could see it in person, you'd be inspired beyond belief.
      Mom was here for 10 days,she kept me busy!

  14. You do need to go at Christmastime and take lots of pictures to show us. I imagine that it will be worth the trip.


  15. we fostered a little girl from 8 weeks old until almost 4 years and they sent her back to her mother who had repotibly sold her for a hundred dollars...I don't understand these things.
    Mama Bear


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