Ya'll we had the BEST time this past weekend!! So glad we're back, because it's always nice to get back home. SO our weekend started out by eating dinner at Zaxby's on the way to Asheville. We love some zaxby's and the only one in this area is on the interstate towards atlanta/ asheville, so we get it any time we're on our way to places. we drove all night it seemed like be we got there at like 10:30. checked into the holiday inn, and it was SO nice!! we had a suite, with a separate sitting/kitchen area and bathroom, and in the bedroom it had a big whirlpool tub with jets! So we basically slept off the car ride that night.
Saturday we got up to go to breakfast before going to the Biltmore. We went to IHOP and there was the most annoying waiter ever there. He was just so chatty!! it was driving me insane because he was in the section right next to us, but thankfully he wasn't our waiter! We then drove over to the Biltmore estate and arrived around 9:30 only to be told that the gates don't open up until 10. So we pulled around into the gift shop parking lot with the other early birds. We had tickets reserved for an 11 time slot to go in the house, so we had plenty of time. So we looked around the gift shop and got a book about the biltmore (it turned out to be the official guide book that they sell you with your tickets if you want, but it was cheaper at the gift shop! -insider tip, arrive early, get the book from the gift shop!) Then we had our tickets reserved but did not print them out, so we had to stop by the ticket building (insider tip, print the tickets before you get there) and then had to be in the car line to get in the actual estate. but then we still had like 30 minutes until our tickets were set for so we just went on our way to the parking lot and took the shuttle up to the main house, so Gorgeous!! it was magnificent!! Then we walked around a bit, we had thought that we would look at the gardens and stuff until our ticket time, but it was really cold and nothing was really blooming, so we stayed up close to the house, and then took a pit stop in the gift shopping/ restaurant area before going in the house at 11. When you get in there you can get an audio tour for another 10 bucks, or do the regular tour, you can also get premium tours (like the behind the scenes tour or the roof tour) for like 17, but we decided to just stick with the regular tour at first, we figured if we needed more info we could always go back for more. the tour was wonderfully laid out, we basically followed a book that had the rooms numbered and then it would give you a little blurb of historical stuff. The audio tour people had these mp3 player things that they pressed numbers to hear extra factoids and stories i guess. they were slower than the rest of the people. we walked all through the house, through four floors and the basement, and it was all stairs, so not wheelchair or stroller friendly, though they told you that up front. comfy shoes are a MUST!! it was really neat for sure, so cool to see the 'new technology' like the fire alarms and indoor plumbing! the tour all total took about an hour and a half, so it was time for lunch. There is a restaurant right there in the old stables so we had lunch there. We thought that having lunch would be cheaper than coming back for dinner, and while it was expensive (30-40 bucks for the two of us) it was really yummy and was all local organic produce and fresh bread that is baked right there and stuff. So then we went back to our parking lot and drove up to the winery and farms. there was parking at both of those places and the winery tour was included in the tickets, including a tasting. Audie had grape juice with the rest of the kids and pregnant ladies (he's allergic to alcohol so he wasn't included in the tastings) but it was fun, though i'm not a wine drinker, it was cool. I wish there had been more information about how you make wine, etc. but there wasn't. Actually i think we could have skipped this part and been fine. Then we went right up the road to the farm. it had both a petting zoo and a look around the old farming equipment. i liked seeing the animals!! By then it was around 3 or so. We drove through the rest of the estate and just kind of looked around. We stopped by the stables, and watched the horses. ( you can ride a trail ride or carriage for extra, but i don't actually like horses, except for looking at them so we passed) So then we went on back to hotel and napped and i read through the guide book. it was right up my alley, a slow weekend tour, a full day, but not the whole day activity. That night we went to Olive Garden and just relaxed and enjoyed not having school/work stuff going on.
This morning we slept in and then had breakfast at cracker barrel. We then drove down to a really cool part of Asheville and did a paint your own pottery place. it was so fun. I have this plan for our kids to each have a 'birthday plate' that they paint themselves when they are approaching their 1st birthday. Then they can eat off it every birthday and special occasion. I have had this idea for a while, but didn't know when Audie and i would get to make our plates, so this was a good opportunity. Audie and i each did a dinner plate, i'll post photos when we get them in the mail! Audie showed off and made his really cute, while mine was kind of plain. i tried to do a cute design by doing the paint in different ammounts of layers. so i did an all over layer of the paint and then did multiple layers to do a swirl or stripes. Audie drew a lizard on his, and the lady at the paint the pottery thing actually gasped when she saw it! I mean really, what a show off. Just kidding, he's just putting his art degree to work, but i was a little jealous of his ability!
so then we made our way back to durham, and i'm supposed to be doing homework right now, but i'm blogging instead, probably not good, but i'm just not ready to get back in the groove of things! Ok i'm going to get going, but catch you guys later, and if you are heading to the Biltmore any time soon i can give you some other good tips of places to stay, etc. We had a great weekend and we have promised to do this for ourselves every year that we can!
Alright folks, gotta get going, it's almost bedtime!
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