We didn’t intend for daughter Kate’s last day to be crammed with activities, but we had to take advantage of David’s day off. One of our favorite places to go is the Vanderbilt estate, Biltmore. Kate had never been there, and the special exhibit of the season featured trains, the garden railway size. [Note: the estate is now requiring visitors to have reservations.] After reading our shirts, a visitor offered to take our photo near the entrance.
We have always been fascinated with the swimming pool, amazed that George Vanderbilt included one in his house that was finished in 1895. The pool had underwater lighting, as well!! One of the docents remarked that they filled the pool for only a few days at a time, since it would begin to get a bit rank with no chemicals added. How cold the water must have been, since it was filled with mountain water! Correction: John said there was a steam hose that warmed the water, and that was why it became unfit for swimming in a matter of days.
My favorite shot in the walled garden was of Kate and David. Former neighbor Amy and I saw the garden filled with tulips one year. I was happy to see the space filled with summery plants this time.
I saved eight photos taken in the conservatory. All featured David and Kate with the trains amid exotic plants. I liked one with a model of the village church, where a train was running between the church and the backs of David and Kate.
A second favorite shows a train on a high trestle, going from one glass house to another. I didn’t look at how it was done, but David said windows had been taken out to give the trains access at that level.
The entrance to the outdoor garden railway had a cute engine at the entrance. David climbed in it at Kate’s request.
My favorite photo there was of Kate and David with two trains running behind them.
Despite some lightning in the distance and rain on the windshield, we drove to Hot Springs for lunch at the Iron Horse. The weather began to clear as we drove on a graveled road to Tennessee, where there was a stream to swim in. Unfortunately, heavy rain had swollen and muddied the stream, making it too dangerous to swim in.
Across the road was a small waterfall where David waded and Kate climbed on the rocks.
Both climbed up to a pool above the falls and posed for me.
Our scenic drive home across three mountain ridges was lovely. We had been gone for 12 fun-packed hours, leaving enough time in the day for ice cream before going to bed.
The next morning, while the mist was still hanging in our mountains, Kate hugged her dad goodbye. She expected her drive to New Jersey to take 14 hours.