We’d heard Asheville was cool and the rumors were true. We made our way from Savannah, through South Carolina, and on to Asheville. On the way we made a quick stop at Conagree National Park. Located just outside of Columbia, this relatively small park features the largest contiguous expanse of old growth hardwood forest left in the United States. A lot of cool stuff grows here!
We did a quick walk on the raised boardwalk to get a feel for the landscape but the rain cut our time a bit short. Luckily, though, the bugs weren’t as bad as they could have been. We got another stamp in the NPS Passport book!
On to Asheville we traveled with two purposes: the Asheville Marathon and the Biltmore Estate. In between we checked out the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs right through Asheville. Considered “America’s Favorite Drive,” the road runs 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We did about 20 miles and enjoyed the views. Maybe we’ll do the entire thing on a future trip.
Saturday brought the big event: Steve’s 34th marathon in his 24th state. We enjoyed the warm Asheville hospitality and the finish line festivities at one of Asheville’s many breweries.
Steve finished the race in just over four hours and finished second in his age group.
Sunday took us to the famed Biltmore Estate, built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. Over the course of the day we explored the grounds, the house, the winery, and the farm. Even the dogs enjoyed the property.
The 250-room chateau is considered America’s largest home with 16th century tapestries, 10,000 volume library, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and an indoor bowling alley.
The 8,000-acre property was home to the Biltmore Dairy and now the Biltmore Winery. We enjoyed the complimentary wine tasting and then Bob joined us for a glass at the wine bar afterwards.
We only scratched the surface of this incredible place and it was certainly a nice day exploring one of the most incredible estates in the US.
We’re now on to new adventures as we close out our six month road trip. Stay tuned for at least one more blog before we’re home!