Land of the Sky

Written by Mary Rappazzo

Last summer, Lisa and I took a four-day trip to Asheville, North Carolina. It is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina. It’s a scenic town with eclectic shops and inviting restaurants, and within walking distance from main hotels. The city has a large population of artists and musicians. There’s an art colony along the route of the French Broad River.

AshvilleThe highlight of this trip is visiting the Biltmore Estate, a French Renaissance chateau and a country home built between 1889 and 1895 by George Vanderbilt II for his family.  Just a few minutes outside the city, with over 250 rooms, it is the largest single family home in the U.S. and the largest privately-owned house in the world. The estate opened up to the public in 1930, to increase tourism for the City of Asheville. The estate provides sign language interpreter service for specialty tours only, which is free, but one must pay for admission. It is advisable that a request for a sign language interpreter be made few weeks in advance prior to visiting the Biltmore Estate. For specialty tours with ASL interpreter, call this number at (800) 411-3812 voice.  Self-guided tour is included in admission. There are several guided specialty tours.  Lisa and I took the House Tour.  The house is full of wonderful European decor bathed in luxury and charm. Displays of vintage clothing, accessories, art, furniture, and more illustrate stories and lives of the Vanderbilt family, guests and employees.  Seeing the Biltmore Estate should be on any visitor’s itinerary.

Biltmore We stayed at Hotel Indigo, one of several hotels in the area. It is surprisingly well-appointed. It has an artsy-funky retro decor with a very good restaurant in the lobby. The service staff was competent and very friendly. This hotel is within walking distance to downtown Asheville and right off the main highway. I would recommend visiting Asheville. We do want to go back to the “Land of the Sky” that is Asheville, North Carolina. Happy Travels!