Vacation Finale

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.

Biltmore swimming pool

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.

Kate and David in the Biltmore walled garden

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.

David’s face in the engine

My favorite photo there was of Kate and David with two trains running behind them.

Outdoor trains with Kate and David

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.

Muddy mountain stream

Across the road was a small waterfall where David waded and Kate climbed on the rocks.

Kate 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.

Goodbye to Dad

33 thoughts on “Vacation Finale

  1. What a great post. Biltmore is really a beautiful venue. It reminds me of the final scene of “Being There” with Peter Sellers. I have always enjoyed taking the Gravel Road in the Mountains. You never know what you will encounter. Love reading your post as memories have arisen for reflections. Thank you.

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    1. David and I talked to Kate the last hour she was on the road. We knew the instant she reached her driveway and said goodbye. I texted John to let him know she was home safely. The drive took her a little over 14 hours.

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  2. At least Kate had a very memorable last day in your company. She got to see somewhere she hadn’t been before and was with her nearest and dearest. What more could anyone want, except maybe not to have a 14 hour drive home.
    Huge Hugs

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    1. It’s a shame Kate lives so far away. That really means it’s too bad we moved 800 miles away. We used to see her when we went north to get her sons, but they are both near us now.

      xxx Visiting Hugs xxx

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  3. What a nice time. I don’t remember the trains from my visit about 10 or more years ago though, but then you did say it was a special exhibit. Very Cool of them to change it up. That pool was pretty cool and the kitchen and all those prep stations and to think all that had to hauled upstairs for the guests.

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  4. The Biltmore looks very picturesque, inside and out, and seeing you spotlight it, reminds me that I never went back to the Ford Estate formerly owned by Eleanor and Henry Ford. I saw it on the Mutt Strut and forgot all about it. They are renovating it and not sure when they were scheduled to finish it – I’d rather go without scaffolding, etc. in the way. All the photos you took were very nice, especially of Kate and David and Kate and John.

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  5. Hi Anne, I also like that last photograph of John and Kate. The swimming pool looks so familiar. I think I have seen it in movies…could that be I wonder? I don’t know where else I would have seen it because I have never been there.

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  6. I love your shirts too! Congratulations on 55 years together. It looks like you had a wonderful trip to Biltmore. We once visited the grounds but did not tour the house (our young sons were not interested at the time). I would love to come back and take the tour.

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  7. Amazing busy wonderful time Anne! Love reading about your family. My husbands family from MO was here for a baby shower this weekend. My sister in law and I had a great time discussing the visit Lar and I had with you and John at our place. She also reads your blog!!

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