July 25, 2015–Day 20 Ashville, NC

August 2, 2015 in 2015 Southeastern US by April

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Our mission today: The Biltmore Estate.  After some morning snuggle and wrestling we headed out.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside the home, so we have some of the exterior.  This is a tour that would have been a disaster with the kids without the audio tour.  The Biltmore is the largest home in America with 250 rooms, 47 bathrooms, a two lane bowling alley, indoor swimming pool and 75 fireplaces. It was built between 1889 and 1895. George Vanderbilt borrowed one hundred dollars to make a ferry in New York and turned it into one hundred million dollars.

The kids loved the secret doors hidden in the Billiard Room and the Breakfast Room.  In the Billiard Room the secret doors led to the bachelor bedrooms.  In the Breakfast Room the hidden doors led to the butler’s pantry. There was leather on the walls in the breakfast room.  The dining hall was seven stories tall.

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The library was Mr. Vanderbilt’s favorite room.  He found the painting that inspired the room on the ceiling in a ballroom in Venice. He asked to buy the canvas painting from the ceiling.  He then built his library based on the dimensions of the painting. A railroad line was built just to bring building materials to the home.  There was a master clock system that ensured all servants would be prompt.  The tour of the home and gardens took us two hours.

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After our tour we headed to the McDonalds for some ice cream to celebrate our most awesome hike of 5.4 miles to Rainbow Falls.

How many McDonalds have you been to with player pianos?

While eating ice cream we also discussed where we were going to go next.  We had originally discussed going to the North Carolina coast.  While in Oak Ridge I had questioned Scott about how long the drive to the coast would be.  He wasn’t concerned at the time, but today at McDonalds he questioned it.  I had been messaging a friend about the sharks on the coast and so Cody was pretending to be a shark.

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It was moments after I took this picture of Shark Cody that Scott decided we should leave the coast for another adventure.  We headed towards Grandfather Mountain State Park instead.  We stopped at the store for some groceries on the way.  A gentleman in the grocery store parking lot stared at our van and our packing our groceries into the van and after he picked his jaw back up said, “You guys are living life.”

We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather Mountain.

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We arrived a little after the sun began to set so we had to eat and set up the tent rather quickly.  There were quite a few large stones under our tent pad though.  So Scott got out the mini shovels and showed the kids how they could help.  Digging?  They thought he would never ask.  My favorite part was when Scott was doing the dishes and looked up at the kids and said, “Let’s not make this a major project Kids.” I added, “Says the guy who took out the shovels.” We started dinner at 8:15 and were all tucked into the tent by 9:30.

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