A Place To Dream

march-22-2009-asheville-031-2The weekend was sunny and warmer than predicted.march-22-2009-asheville-029-2The time had come to use the season passes that were part of the gifting to celebrate thirty five years of wedded bliss.march-22-2009-asheville-048-2But we were a little early. The spring flower festival was not for another two weeks. The roses were pruned in the formal gardens, but there were no blossoms. The wisteria covered pergola was leafless and bloomless. The thousands of tulips were budded but not open.march-22-2009-asheville-053-2The gift shop that also sold plants would not be open for two more weeks. The camera is thrust between the gate railings to snap a photo of the metal legs of a chair and bench that would look perfect back home in the garden. Will they even be for sale when the Gardener’s Place opens?march-22-2009-asheville-024-2But the conservatory is open.march-22-2009-asheville-017-2Every plant was immaculate, leaves shining, flowers at peak, lushness everywhere.march-22-2009-asheville-013-2Design was apparent in the displays.march-22-2009-asheville-047-2Let’s walk up to the house past Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick with hanging panicles.march-22-2009-asheville-030-2Past the walls of espaliered fruit trees ready to burst into bloom.march-22-2009-asheville-036-2Past the wisteria laden pergola on the terrace.march-22-2009-asheville-040-2The details are incredible.march-22-2009-asheville-043-2 The craftmanship and creative expression can be admired where ever the eye rests.march-22-2009-asheville-011This is not a dream, but is a place full of inspiration for dreams. This is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Click here to find out about the genius of the place. And yes, we will be back, many times. That is the beauty of season passes.


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46 Responses to A Place To Dream

  1. tina says:

    AS soon as I saw the espaliered fruit trees I just knew! What a nice gift for you two. Can’t wait to see the rest of your posts. I would love so much to see this! We are going to try to stop by there in May on our way to NC. Hopefully the azaleas will be in bloom.

    Hi Tina, thanks. Do stop in there, but allow yourself enough time to get the full experience. You cannot see the whole thing in one day. We have been there dozens of times and have still not seen it all. The one day pass is quite expensive, but if you plan on going even twice, the season pass saves you money.

  2. Blossom says:

    Lovely pictures. A place to dream, indeed!

    Hi Blossom, thanks. It is a magical fantasy, to imagine living there and living that lifestyle is beyond comprehension. But it is the gardens that draw me there.

  3. Daphne Gould says:

    That looks like such a beautiful place. I can’t wait to see your photos when all the flowers are in bloom.

    Hi Daphne, thanks. We will be returning next month when the Festival of Flowers is in progress. Having the passes means we can just buzz in without having to spend the whole day there to justify the expense.

  4. Gail says:

    Good morning! The only time we’ve been to the Biltmore was a week after all the azaleas bloomed! But the place was amazing…we took my mom and she loved the house tour! It’s going to be knock your socks off beautiful in full bloom…it’s not half bad out of bloom! What a lifestyle~~only slightly imaginable! Looking at the espaliered fruit trees made me wonder what clever medieval gardener (it had to be a monk) figured out that space saving trick! Thank you for the tour…your photos are excellent! Oh, that blue sky! We need to stop there again. gail

    Good morning to you Gail. Really, in bloom or out, it is fantastic. We enjoy the gardens, even if we just drive through. I like to eat at the restaurant by the winery, The Bistro. We have taken the house tour many many times, but might do it again this year if we have the time. My priority is the plant shop, the reason for the season passes, LOL. The fruit trees look like they were recently pruned, as did the roses. I would love to ask advice from the workers there. I know many are unpaid volunteers. If we lived in Asheville, I would love to volunteer there too.

  5. Dave says:

    Season passes to the Biltmore sound alike a wonderful present for your anniversary! I’ve been there once but that was many years ago and I know I didn’t appreciate it enough then. Thanks for the tour, I hope to see more use of your season passes!

    Hi Dave, it was a great present. We had them a few years ago when we were going there weekly to watch Brokenbeat’s soccer games at the University. After he graduated we quit going so often. Now with The Hop ownership, we are going more again, so the passes will be used often. There will be photos from follow up visits, rest assured! πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve never had the chance to see Biltmore, even though I’ve been to the area a few times. I’ll need to make a special effort now that I’ve seen your photos!

    Hi Susan, if you are ever going to Asheville, be sure and allow a day at least for the Biltmore. The house is a marvel, but the gardens boggle the mind. Every tree was planted as part of a grand design. They are huge and it is a forest, man made and designed. Simply amazing.

  7. joey says:

    How delightful, Frances. I’ve always wanted to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville and so appreciate you taking me with you (especially on your second honeymoon πŸ™‚ Perhaps we’ll will be lucky enough to sneak in with you on your next visit!

    Hi Joey, thanks so much. Funny how any honeymoon has to center around gardens anymore! πŸ™‚ It seems a good bet that there will be photos of future visits too.

  8. wiseacre says:

    Happy 35! and thanks for the tour.

    I no longer wonder hw couples stay together so long. Stop by my place on April 1st when we celebrate our 31st anniversary πŸ™‚

    Hi Wiseacre, thanks. If you already know how couples stay together for a long time, then I won’t mention the word compromise. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t really love each other in the first place. I will make a note to visit on that special day. πŸ™‚

  9. Lona says:

    I was at the Biltmore a few years back and it was beautiful. It was in June and all of the roses and so many flowers were in bloom. Just a gorgeous landscape. The house was awesome but most of the furnishings of that period were dark so it was a little dark for my tastes. It is worth a visit to see it all.

    Hi Lona, thanks and welcome. I agree about the furnishings, but the architecture is out of this world! Let us not forget the gardens too. They really know how to make an impact in the rose gardens. I love seeing the mature specimens of Japanese maples too, one of my favorite trees.

  10. Catherine says:

    It’s gorgeous. I’ve heard of the Biltmore, but have never seen many pictures of it. It looks like a place worth taking a trip for. I hope you had a great time, and congrats on 35 years of marriage!

    Hi Catherine, thanks for that. The Biltmore is incredible. To imagine living that life is to be transported. The details on the house alone are worth the admission, then there are the gardens. If you ever get a chance, do go. πŸ™‚

  11. Sue Ellen says:

    I have been to Biltmore twice, once in the spring and once in the summer. How delightful to live close enough to visit often. I remember the plant shop but we were traveling by motorcycle both times so I was not able to shop. I will enjoy your pictures as they will bring back my own memories of my visits there

    Hi Sue Ellen, thanks. It sounds like you went at great times to visit. The fall is nice too, with the leaf color of the trees. Maybe someday you can go back and have a vehicle that will hold plants! πŸ™‚

  12. Darla says:

    I just imagine it is breathtaking in full lushness!! Those are great chairs by the way.

    Hi Darla, thanks for stopping by. Everything about the place is over the top. Aren’t those chairs great? The metal parts wouldn’t rot and the wood slats could be replaced. They probably aren’t for sale, or are way too expensive, but they were sure cool.

  13. Thanks for the mini-tour of Biltmore. Now I want even more to visit there.

    Hi MMD, thanks, it was my pleasure to show it off. The photos were just a sliver of what is there. I would love to accompany you if you ever go. πŸ™‚

  14. Beautiful place, beautiful pics. I don’t mean to be predictable but the main building looks very chateau-esque.

    A stunning tour,


    Hi Rob, thanks. You are spot on about it being a chateau, that was the idea when it was built. It is a stunning example of what creative craftsmen could produce when money was no object.

  15. Sunita says:

    Congratulations, Frances! What a great occasion to celebrate. And that is a dreamy place… sigh!
    I love those benches. I can just picture you relaxing in one of them !

    Hi Sunita, thanks for the good wishes, and the encouragement about the benches. They are probably not even comfortable, but could be considered art! πŸ™‚

  16. ourfriendben says:

    Felicitations Frances!!! 35 is just wonderful. My parents took us to Biltmore when we were children—I have a wonderful photo of myself, age 5, looking in one of the formal ponds at the goldfish, unaware that the camera had captured my reflection in the water. In my early 20s, I went back and asked my travelling companions to take a photo of me kneeling at that same water garden looking at the fish. Two of my most cherished photos! But I confess, I love the basement level of the Biltmore best. So many fascinating rooms…

    Hi OFB, that is too cool! The formal ponds that used to be in the front of the house are no longer there. They were the first time we visited though, twenty years ago with the family. You are right about the basement too. My kids loved the bowling alleys. For me, the favorite room was the big dining hall with those huge fireplaces with the carvings. But really, now it is the grounds I enjoy the most.

  17. Brenda Kula says:

    Oh, the Conservatory… Bliss…

    Hi Brenda, that conservatory was something else. I took many photos since that is where the plants were green and blooming. A fun place when spring has not quite reached those mountains yet.

  18. annetanne says:

    Your last sentence is so true: Beauty can be found in every season!

    Hi Anne, thanks. I truly believe that well designed gardens offer something wondrous every single day of the year. This one is amazing with mature trees and shrubs grown to perfection and well maintained. It is a joy to stroll the paths and marvel at everything.

  19. Karen Creel says:

    I found your site on blotanical, and was interested when I saw you are in Athens. I am in Chickamauga, Ga, just outside of Chattanooga. I keep saying I am going to go to The Biltmore Estate, but …..Now I definately know I am going, but will wait until that garden shop is open! visit me on my blog http://www.gardenchick.com/garden-blog. I am hosting several giveaways by my herbal group, and hope you will join us. Your pictures are beautiful.

    Hi Karen, thanks for visiting and welcome. I have visited your blog but could not leave a comment since you have the settings only to allow blogger account holders. I use wordpress and like to sign in with name and url on non wordpress blogs. Do go to the Biltmore when the garden shop is open. I have found many great plants there at good prices too.

  20. Frances,
    I knew from the first photo! I just wrote a three-day itinerary for http://www.visitnc.com (Mountains of Flowers) that got published yesterday! Of course, Biltmore is among the gardens that I suggest visiting. We love visiting Biltmore and Asheville. The festival of flowers is coming up beginning April 4th.


    Hi Cameron, I thought of you as I was writing the piece. I am not much of a traveler, or travelogue writer either, but have a strong attraction to the Biltmore. Season passes makes the price quite reasonable if you plan to go often. We will definitely go again next month. I will check out your article for some more good gardens to visit! Thanks.

  21. Monica says:

    A fellow gardening fanatic friend of mine visited Biltmore a few years ago and she’s still talking about it! Looks like you had a good time. And congrats on 35 years of not having killed one another! πŸ˜‰

    Hi Monica, thanks. Of course there have been some battles, but long ago. We figured out it was easier to just go along with whatever came out way. The Biltmore is that good to still be a topic for conversation after many years. Hope you can visit one day!

  22. Hi,
    I just discovered your blog on Decorno’s!
    Lovely photos with a lot of magic. I never get enough to “spy” on neighbour’s gardens and what is growing and blooming there. Especially in times when the weather is so ugly and spring doesn’t seem to want to arrive really I am consoled by the images of better times…
    Greetings from Munich,
    http://vyala.blogspot.com – my “Blooms and Blossoms” blog

    Hi Petra, thanks and welcome. I am glad you enjoyed your visit and spying on the warmer climes here in the southeastern US. πŸ™‚

  23. Frances & Financier, Congrats on your years of being blissfully wedded. The Biltmore is a gorgeous place. A very good place to celebrate such an occasion.

    Hi Lisa, thanks so much. We both love going to visit the gardens there, and were even talking about going in the house again to see if any new rooms have been opened to the public.

  24. VW says:

    What a treasure. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures, and congrats on 35 years of happiness!

    Hi VW, thanks for that. The Biltmore is amazing.

  25. What an amazing place, Frances! Maybe one day I’ll get to visit there, but in the meantime, seeing it through your blog-eyes is a wonderful way to explore new places.

    Hi Jodi, thanks. I do hope you will sometime be able to visit. And since it is relatively close to me (three plus hours), maybe drop by my garden as well. πŸ™‚

  26. Diana says:

    Frances — Oh my. I have always wanted to go to the Biltmore and now I have. Even without all the plants in bloom, it’s amazing. Loved the conservatory pictures, too. Maybe I can get there someday.

    Hi Diana, thanks for visiting along with me. If at all possible, a trip to Asheville and the Biltmore is a must.

  27. Robin says:

    So beautiful! I’ve always wanted to go there! I can’t wait for you to return; I want to see more!

    Hi Robin, thanks. The photos don’t really even scratch the surface of all that is there. We will be back! πŸ™‚

  28. Pam/Digging says:

    Ah, Biltmore. I’ve been several times, but that was well before I became a gardener. I know I would enjoy it even more now.

    Did you climb Chimney Rock while you were in Asheville? It’s one of my favorite places.

    Hi Pam, you would enjoy it more now with a gardener’s perspective. We have been to Chimney Rock but did not climb it. We did however climb Grandfather Mountain a few years ago with the family. I have a fear of heights that affected my enjoyment of that endeavor however. πŸ™‚

  29. Phillip says:

    I love the Biltmore. I’ve been twice, both times in spring when the roses were blooming. I think it is time for another trip. Great photos.

    Hi Phillip, that is a wonderful time to go. They really know how to showcase roses with those large displays of arches. They were just ready to begin the season while we were there. You could tell everything was recently pruned and what a good job they had done.

  30. Kathleen says:

    Oh Frances, it’s on my life list (just like the Chelsea Garden Show) but I feel it moving up in priority. Even tho you were early, it’s so grand & stately, you can’t help but be awed. We are so lucky to have places in our country like the Biltmore and what a perfect anniversary gift. I think I’ll head to bed now and dream of going…

    Hi Kathleen, that is a good spot to put on your list. The Chelsea show is on my list too. πŸ™‚ The scale of the grounds and house are wondrous. It was a sight for sore eyes, even not quite in bloom yet. We will be back. Having family there and it being a little over a three hour drive make the trip a little long but always fun.

  31. Les says:

    What a nice anniversary present. The Biltmore happened to be our honeymoon destination, but it was a totally different landscape in the late fall.

    Hi Les, thanks. Fall is one of my favorite times to go there too. They have festivals then that capture the beauty of that season perfectly. Asheville and surrounding areas are a mecca for leaf color changing.

  32. Randy says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to my summer home. LOL Yea righ, I wish! I love Biltmore, we will most likely go there in May.

    Hi Randy, if that is your summer home, I’d like to see your winter home! May will be a fabulous time to visit, well planned!

  33. mothernaturesgarden says:

    I’ve been there in the summer when it is glorious. There is never enough time in spring to go to all the wonderful places. Have to pick and choose. Happy Anniversary!

    Hi Donna, thanks. Summer is a great time to visit there. We go to Asheville often, even more so since we bought the ice cream shop there. Having the passes will allow for quick run throughs or leisurely perusal, whatever we have time for.

  34. TC says:

    Our Master Gardener group toured there last summer. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the trip. Thanks for letting me know what I missed and making me feel dejected. ;~P

    Oh bummer TC! That was a trip worth taking. Maybe you can go another time. Missing the Biltmore is dejection to the max! πŸ™‚

  35. commonweeder says:

    What a beautiful estate, and beautiful photos. Up here in the Massachusetts Berkshires we have summer ‘cottages’ of business magnates of more than a century ago. They are big, and lovely, but the scale is definitley more domestic. My favorite is Edith’s Wharton’s house and garden, The Mount, in the town of Lenox. She was no magnate, of course, but many of her neighbors were.

    Hi Pat, thanks. Those cottages sound pretty cool. I am sure Edith Wharton’s would be wonderful. I may have seen a magazine article about it, it does ring a bell.

  36. Rose says:

    Oh, Frances, this is a place I’ve wanted to visit for years! I’ve read about it several times, and always thought this was as close to a castle as you would find in the US. Thank you for taking us on this tour and showing us around…maybe one of these days, soon I hope, I’ll be able to see it in person.

    Hi Rose, my pleasure. I do hope you can get there sometime, you would love everything about it. It is very European looking, they say chateau more than castle, incredibly beautiful.

  37. Congratulations on 35 years and the wonders it has produced for the both of you, Frances. I must say I was happy to see the Biltmore still looking bare. My siblings and I bought the folks a stay at the Biltmore for my father’s 80th birthday. We booked it for the last two days of March, me thinking their bulbs would be a little earlier than on the mountaintop. Those dates messed with their routine and was rescheduled to April 13th I think. There should be plenty of blooms for them by then. I applied for a job in that conservatory.

    Hi Christopher, thanks so much. It sounds like the new date for your parents visit will be much better to see flowers and trees in bloom. And wowee to that job at the conservatory! That would be like working in heaven. What a place. We have gone other times and it looked a little run down. This time everything was perfect. They have really spiffed it up. Hope you get the position, we’ll stop in for a visit whenever we go there. πŸ™‚

  38. gittan says:

    What a lovely place to celebrate your anniversary. Thanks for charing.

    Hi Gittan, thanks. Our anniversary was in January, I know I didn’t make that clear. The passes are good for a year so we will celebrate many times by visiting the Biltmore. πŸ™‚

  39. RobinL says:

    Now you’ve done it. I need to visit Biltmore House and it’s gardens someday. We went there many years ago, but I don’t remember anything about the gardens. It was so pricey to tour the home, is the garden tour just as much?

    Hi Robin, thanks. Unfortunately the good people at Biltmore do not have a lesser pass to just see the gardens. You have to pay the full price of the house to just see the grounds, or even eat at a restaurant. The only way around that is to stay at the Biltmore Inn, on the grounds, and that is not cheap either. That is why the season passes make sense if one plans on going at least two times, you are already saving money. The house can take a whole day to go through, and the gardens, well, we still have not seen the whole thing after many trips.

  40. Frances, Lovely photos and I did enjoy seeing the “bones” of the garden. Glad to hear The Hop is doing well. If you are back there in June consider visiting Montreat when the wild rhods are in bloom and filling that small valley.

    Hi Daffodil, thanks. I would not say the Hop is doing well, but things are getting better with the onset of warmer weather. Still much to be done there, but the ice cream is delicious! I would love to see the wild rhodies in June. The close mountains to our home, less than an hour’s drive in Tellico Plains are full of those beauties also. I wish they would grow in my garden. We just don’t have enough shade or the right soil apparently Offspring in Asheville could probably grow them though, that soil is incredible.

  41. Michelle says:

    I was looking at the house thinking that it looked so familiar. The Biltmore! I was going to go last spring for the bloom fest but it rained us out. Im going to try again this year. Great photos!!!

    Hi Michelle, thanks. Too bad about last year, maybe you can make a trip there this year. It looks much better maintained this year than it has other times too. I can’t wait to get to that garden shop! πŸ™‚

  42. linda says:

    What an awesome place Frances! I can close my eyes and just imagine it in full bloom. The conservatory is breathtaking. My mom visited there several years ago and came back awestruck and amazed.

    What a wonderful and romantic spot to commemorate a major milestone. Happy Anniversary to you and the Financier!

    Hi Linda, thanks. I can’t imagine anyone visiting and not being amazed at the whole thing. We do plan many stop ins there, to view the flowering and maybe pick up some choice plants at good prices! πŸ™‚

  43. Benjamin says:

    This place certainly reminds me of my travels in Europe–which I’m sure is the point. We’re trying to find some place to get away to in mid June, and maybe somewhere around here would be good. Gotta keep the trip in-country though! And look at all your bulbs flwoering. Hmph. My tulips JUST started peeking out of the ground and then it gets down to 22 at night.

    Hi Benjamin, thanks for visiting. June would be lovely in the Asheville area or the mountains of Western North Carolina. There is white water rafting for the more energetic, tons of fun and funky restaurants, artsy shops and unbelievable views. I remember you expressing some hymph type comments last year about this time too. Something about my Queen of the Night tulips blooming before yours. It might happen again, prepare yourself. πŸ™‚

  44. nancybond says:

    What an incredible spot! And what a lovely anniversary gift! The stuff dreams are made of, indeed.

    Hi Nancy, thanks. This is a gift that will keep on giving every time we visit too, the best kind. It even involves gardens and plant shopping, my favorite things. πŸ™‚

  45. kerri says:

    Seaonal passes, Frances…what a wonderful gift! Biltmore looks incredible…a place to dream indeed, and so much to see. Someone knows the way to your heart πŸ™‚

    Hi Kerri, thanks. You would think after 35 years together he would know the way to my heart. πŸ™‚ As for seeing all at the Biltmore, we have more times than I can count, and we still have not seen it all.

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