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Biltmore Estate click on picture This is where we spent our first full day in Asheville. Pictured here is the front lawn and the main section of the home. The estate started in 1885 with 250,000 acres. It is now 8,000 acres. We toured the inside of the house, pictures are not allowed.
Biltmore Gardens This is the third level of the gardens. It is the entrance to the greenhouse.
Biltmore Greenhouse This green house was built in 1886 and has been use every since the day it was opened. In the 1800 hundreds a way to show your wealth was to have plants from all over the world grow in your green house to show your visitors.
Biltmore Greenhouse Orchids There are hundreds of different types of plants in the greenhouse. This is a picture of four of the dozens of different orchids in this wing of the greenhouse. Each section of the greenhouse has plants from around the world.
Walking trails There are hundreds of different types of trees, shrubs and flowers all over the estate. This path goes towards one of the lakes on the estate.
Bass Lake A mile and half walk from the estate, is this beautiful wooded lake. The walking trail and woods that you go thru to get to this lake are beautiful.
Spillway Water Fall Bass Lake is not a natural lake, the spillway was put in 1887.
Back to the house The gardens are three levels below the house. They were built this way so the greenhouse can not be seen from the house. Here we are going back to the house to eat lunch.
Courtyard next to the house This courtyard leads to where the carriage house and stables of the estate were located. Now it is a food court and gift shops.
The Stables Restaurant We highly recommend this restaurant, it use to be the stables. You can still see the horse stalls along the walls.
click on picture Our second full day was spent in the NC Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is located in Bryson City, North Carolina an hour drive from Asheville.
Train pulls out at 10:30 a.m.
Nantahala River Excursion This is a 4 ½ hour 44 mile round trip excursion. It winds through the scenic western North Carolina Mountains There is a 1 hour layover at the Nantahala River depot for lunch, sightseeing, shopping and relaxing. Guests can view the whitewater rafting activities on the Nantahala River on this trip! The train goes along the river through the Nantahala Gorge giving guests a great view of the high cliffs and rugged terrain that the Cherokee called "The Land of The Noonday Sun".
Open passenger viewing cars The seats are turned to face outward. This made for great viewing of the countryside. The temperatures were in the low seventies. Back in Texas the temps were in the hundreds.
Lunch on the River There is a one hour layover at the Nantahala River depot for lunch, sightseeing, shopping and relaxing. We ate our lunch on the picnic table Betty is sitting on. Then we watched whitewater rafting, before boarding the train.
Time for a Nap After lunch Betty took a little nap from sight seeing and reading.
click on picture After finishing the train ride we drove back to Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The parkway is 469 miles long we drove 57 miles of the parkway. All the views are spectacular of the Appalachian Mountains.
From the top of Devil's Courthouse, we could see into South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee in a 360-degree panorama. The summit can be viewed from a parking overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway and can be reached by a strenuous half-mile trail. Rock climbing is also popular on Devil's Courthouse.
After we came back from the the Devil's Courthouse, Betty points out exactly where we were. Tough climb, really good view.
click on picture On our third full day in Asheville we went to Chimney Rock State Park, it is only a forty minute drive from Asheville.
Here we are on top of Chimney Rock, we climbed all 400 steps to get to it. The park has an elevator but it was out of service for repairs. You can see Lake Lure in the background; we had lunch on the lake.
Betty holding up the mountain. Ha Ha
Some of the 400 stair steps we had to climb to get to Chimney Rock.
Hickory Nut Falls This water fall is also inside Chimney Rock State Park, a half mile walk from the parking lot. The falls are 404 feet tall.
Grove Park Inn Our last day in Asheville, we visited the famous resort. It was built in 1912. The golf course was developed in 1899. We went to the Asheville airport from here. It was a wonderful vacation.
North Carolina: June 14th to 18th, 2011
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