Bilmore Estates and the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.
With Jason and Amy Howard
Sometimes it's not easy being a world travelling duck. All those sites. All those celebrities. Sometimes, you just have to get away from it all.
And if you can do it with friends, even better. So when Jason and Amy were off for a trip to Asheville, NOT roused himself enough to join along. After all, there's a little house he wanted to check out while he was there. Something called Biltmore.
The same way that the mansions of Newport are
just "summer cottages," Biltmore Estate proves the the turn of the
gilded age rich and powerful liked things big.
Built by George Washing Vanderbilt in the 1880's the house stands as the largest privately owned house in the United States.
Did NOT say it's big?
It's big, and the view isn't bad either, up in the mountains of North Carolina.
Now you would think that a house of this size (250 rooms, 175,000 square feet) there would be room for everyone, right? Nope, you have to wait in line for your timed admission, with all the other common people. Somehow NOT doubts that Anderson Cooper has to wait in line if he visits.
The friendly tour guide made sure to show NOT all the behind-the-scenes sights in the historic house.
The house is old, but the wine is not. The first vineyards were planted in 1971, and the first wine was produced in 1985. So at least visiting in 2008, the wine was finally over the legal drinking age.
Of course they would not sell any wine before it's time.
Nor would they let NOT take a cask home. He tried.
So he had to settle for a glass or three at the bistro.
Now with a good belly of food and *hic* wine, it was time to be pampered, as a duck should be. So it's time for four-diamond AAA service at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.
NOT immediately got friendly with the parking attendant, to make sure that his Geo didn't get dinged in the parking lot.
The view was just as good as at Biltmore (except for the danged window. NOT bruised his head several times trying to fly outside.)
NOT was late for his spa treatment though, because along the way he passed a beautiful waterfall at the resort. And it made him have to go back and use the bathroom.
Now NOT's not that big to start with. But the famous fourteen foot fireplaces at the Inn made him feel even smaller.
They even have an elevator in the back of one of the fireplaces. NOT will never bitch about carrying his bags to the second floor in the Red Roof Inn again, Not after imagining having to jump the flaming logs to get to your room.
The inn's walls are a myriad of different stones, including some embedded amethyst. NOT tried to get it out as a souvenir but it wouldn't budge. So all he could bring home with him was his photos. And smooth felt skin from the spa treatment.
That, and his trip to McDonalds.
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Photos courtesy of The Howards
Last Updated September 2008