Monday, June 21, 2010

Biltmore Estate: Antler Hill Village

I thought it might be a good idea to put a picture of the map of the Biltmore Estate so you could get a better idea of where we meandered while we were visiting.
After the gardens, we drove up to Antler Hill Village.
Originally it was the area where the help lived and "commuted" the two plus miles to the main house when needed.
George Vanderbilt envisioned a self sustaining estate. To that purpose, he created a farm that would provide all the foods needed to feed everyone on the estate, both residents, workers, and guests.
Then he went a step farther, and established a dairy!
The Antler Hill Village, which is now basically a tourist venue, has an ice cream parlor with an entire wall covered with a photo of the Vanderbilt Dairy trucks and drivers.
His dairy provide quite a lot of employment to the area!
The quote above the ice cream parlor door was amusing.
One of the richest men of the time...and he decided he wanted to dairy farm!

George built his dairy between 1900 and 1902. It was one of the first "modern" dairy in the area and eventually the largest dairy in the South East United States.

By the 1970's....a different direction was chosen: Instead of dairy farming, they would become a winery.

Gotta wonder what took 'em so long to figure that one out!

I really need to find out if they need a wine librarian to manage their wine library....
Each visitor to Antler Hill Village is invited to free wine tasting.
A group of six is gathered around, and an employee is there to pour a sample of as many kinds of wines as you would like to try.
We worked our way through the list....

I decided the Century White with an aroma of roses and fresh mint was my favorite.

The wine bottle even comes etched with a drawing of the Biltmore mansion!

After the tasting, we peeked around a fly fishing shop, a foods shop, and a few other places.
The child's sized tea set was adorable.
In the fly fishing shop was hung many pictures of the Vanderbilts. Edith is the tall one in the fabulous veiled hat. Don't the ladies look like a fun and friendly group?
You can tell people had fun while visiting, even if it meant wearing corsets while you went riding.

Edith was apparently quite the fisherwoman. With each picture I saw I could see that she had a happy disposition. She and George had one daughter, Cornelia, who was a darling girl as well. George died suddenly following complications of an appendix operation. The couple had only been married 16 years. As she wrote in one letter, she couldn't believe he was gone; she kept expecting that he would be home any moment....

Edith later married a fellow of British Royal lineage. Together they produced two sons. I thought it was interesting that she and George only had one child, yet when she remarried in her forties she produced more children.

In a way she had a sad life: orphaned at age 10, then sent to be cared for by her grandparents who both died while she was in her teens. She and her sisters were then sent to France where they were under the care of their french nanny. It must have been shocking to lose a husband after having suffered so many losses early in her life.

She made the decision to sell most of their property to the National Forest Service, yet continued to live on the estate. She was known for her efforts to promote literacy and helping women to learn crafts by which they could support themselves if needed.

We only spent six hours on the estate.
As you can see, it would be quite possible to spend several days on holiday participating in a broad assortment of activities.
Or just sitting around the Antler Hill Village Green, when a live band played pleasant music and children frolicking about the lawn made for a perfect place to relax.
(Especially after sipping all that wine!) dinner at the little town of Travel's Rest.
(Wouldn't it be fun to live in a place called Travel's Rest?)
To be continued....


ellen b. said...

It would be fun to live in a town with such a idyllic name. I really like Antler Hill Village, too. What a great place to visit...

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

It's a very good idea to have a lot of money when one starts farming. I have a friend whose favorite quote is, "We farmed until it was all gone!"

Most interesting story behind Antler Hill Village.

Just a little something from Judy said...

Now I understand why my good friend and her husband visit the Biltmore Estate as many times as they do. She never shared her pictures with me, but after spending time reading through your last two posts, and seeing your wonderful photography, I now know why. What a beautiful, historic estate. You added so many interesting details. Thank you for sharing your visit. I found it most fascinating, especially the rhubarb story:) You look so nice in that photo with the pink blouse.

Sara said...

I'm drooling over that child-sized tea set!

This is quite an Estate. Someday I must see it.

Vicki said...

This is why I want to stay at the Inn at Biltmore when we go again. We ran out of time on our two previous trips. :)