Sunday May 20, 2007 (yes, still)
Please excuse any little peccadilloes in today’s installment. I’m still a bit squishy from the margarita at the Mexico Pavilion and the lovely orange Grand Manier (sp?) slushy in France. I love Epcot.
Okay, the last time I posted we were once again standing in the huge entrance hall of the enormous Biltmore House. We’d seen the Winter Garden, the Banquet Hall and a whole lot of bedrooms. Maybe too many bedrooms, at least for Scott, at least not without a pain pill. Right before we left Baton Rouge Scott bit the bullet and finally asked the doctor for pain medication, the big wuss. I don’t know if it was the marble floors, the stairs or all those bedrooms but Scott was in serious need of medication. We were also in serious need of some lunch and a nice sit down. We decided to eat at the Stable Café. It’s called the Stable Café because it’s located in the old stable area of the estate. Scott loves stables; he’d love to have some back at Green Acres, our place. We have horses but no stables, just a rickety old barn full of vermin and horse poop.
The stables at the Biltmore House aren’t the in least rickety. They’re nicer than our house. They’re so nice that the Estate decided to turn them into a restaurant. If you’re a party of four or more you can dine in a booth set into one of the stalls. Scott thought this was very neato, but we had to sit at a regular table, poop.
We ordered a burger and a house salad. I had the salad and a bite or two of Scott’s burger. It was okay, not anything I’d stand in line for or anything, but it served its purpose. I had a beer, a Duck and Rabbit (or something like that) so that Scott could have the bottle for his collection. Dessert was the best part. We shared a strawberry shortcake. It had a filling of strawberries and white chocolate mousse and was very yummy.
Nicely fed, watered and medicated we were now ready to visit the rest of the house, mostly the basement. This was my favorite part. First came something called the Halloween Room. It was full of exhibits detailing the construction of the house. I read some of them, but really, who wants to learn all that junk on vacation? More interesting was the Bowling Alley. I thought this was pretty cool, kind of. I’m not much of a bowler. I got a strike once. I didn’t do so well, however, once they took the bumpers out of the gutters ;-).
Then we came to the indoor swimming pool. That’s more my style. On the way to the pool you pass the changing rooms. These are super cool, all brass and dark wood and bells for calling the servants. Can’t you just imagine it? Don’t like your outfit? Just ring Jeeves and tell him “Jeeves, my butt looks too big in this red swimsuit. Could you please just trot up those 245 steps and bring me down my blue one? The one with the little skirt. Because I have this enormous backside. Because I never trot up and down all those stairs. Because I have you to do it for me, dear Jeeves.”
After the swimming pool we moved on to the kitchens, my favorite part of the tour. I love all of the gadgets. It took nine, (yes, I said nine) rooms to prepare din-din for old GWV. It took three to wash his undies. I don’t know about you, but I find this a tad excessive. In spite of an enormous degree of domestic incompetence I somehow manage to cook dinner and wash Scott’s unmentionables in a mere two rooms.
Enough of that. We decide to bid adieu to the house and check out the grounds. First we drove over to the Farm Village. For some reason GWV wanted the Biltmore Estate to be a functioning farm. It didn’t work out somehow, I don’t remember why. Maybe Jeeves was too busy fetching swimsuits to help out on the back forty. Here we had a look at the Historic Horse Barn. As I mentioned before, Scott loves horse stables, horse barns, well, horse anything. He actually stopped to read the little signs here. I gave them a miss. I hate horses. In the Horse Barn Scott got to talk to some guy demonstrating an old hay machine. Except they weren’t using hay. They were using bales of straw, a fact which Scott was more than happy to point out to the hay guy. I have a sneaking suspicion that Scott knew far, far more about hay than the hay guy. Scott knows more about hay than is really normal for a twenty-first century human being. I know one thing about hay, it’s heavy. That’s partly why Scott walks the way he does, too much hay. Anywho, the hay guy was suitably impressed and let Scott play with one of the machines there.
After the Horse Barn we moved off to the farmyard. Here the Biltmore Estate had something really cool going on. A guy was out there wit his border collies doing a herding demonstration. These dogs were very good and fun to watch. I don’t think the sheep appreciated it much though. We have a border collie ourselves. Her name is Annie and she’s very, very smart. Scott and I could probably send her off to LSU and have her do much better than either of us ever did. Not that that would be all that impressive. Unless you count Ladies’ Night at the Bengal, I think we might have the upper hand there. When Annie was young she would herd the children. Now that she’s nine she mostly just lies around. Lies around and sheds. I’m surprised that dog has any hair left. Scott hates it when I send her to the groomer for a summer buzz cut. He thinks it's beneath Annie's dignity. Scott never, never vacuums.
We decided to finish off our Biltmore experience with a return trip to the Winery. Well, what do you expect when they’re giving away FREE WINE? We sat through the film and the bleu, bleu, bleu again but skipped all of the stainless steel vats and the little signs. This time we tried the “Zinfandel Blanc de Noir”. That’s French for “mmm, yummy wine.” We bought a bottle.
After the wine we paid a visit to the gardens. I’m afraid neither Scott nor I are the garden type. Mostly we just mow the weeds once a week. The most interesting thing I saw (heard) was this guy walking past the garden shop. He looked like he’d already had enough of the Biltmore. As we walked past I heard him say to his wife, “Please please don’t buy anything that I’m going to have to dig a big hole for.” I don’t know if it was the winery visit or what, but I found this extremely funny. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life asked Scott to dig a big hole. Some guys don’t appreciate what a good thing they’ve got.
We finished up with the Biltmore Estate at the gardens. It was time to go home, except I needed to stop off at the grocery store. For some reason I envisioned Gatlinburg completely devoid of groceries. We drove through downtown Asheville on the way. It’s a very nice place.
Back at the Homewood Suites we had another hour or so in the empty (except for us) pool and hot tub before dinner, a bit of the tube and bed. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. Tomorrow we’re finally going to hit Gburg!
A few pics:
(Some of these are from the morning post. I've gotten lazy on vacation!)