Day 2 started bright and early, ok early, before the sun had not risen. The night passed uneventfully at a truck stop in Charlottesville, TN. Breakfast was eggs and bacon at the restaurant in the truck stop. At 5 am we were on our way towards Asheville, NC because we were looking forward to getting to the Biltmore Mansion, but wanted to give ourselves enough time to make detours if we found one.
The picture on right by Barry Wise | Picture on left by Evelyn Mason
We found not just one but two! We saw a sign that stated Douglas Dam was the next exit, so yep, here we went! We found ourselves on a two-lane winding road, that eventually lead us to the dam. The Douglas Dam was built in 1942 by the TVA and provides power to thousands. As we were taking pictures of the dam area, fog began to roll in from the mountains, it was an eerie but beautiful sight, to see the clear sky one minute and watch the fog creep along the water, to come up the hill we were on. Did you know that fog is wet? Well, this fog was so thick it made us damp.
As we were leaving, at a much slower speed because of the fog, we saw a historical marker that had a man's name, Samuel McSpadden, so we looked him up. This gentleman fought in the Revolutionary War and not only that but he was buried in Dandridge, TN. Dandridge was just up the road so of course, we went.
Dandridge is the second oldest town in the state of Tennessee. And in this town is a Revolutionary War Cemetery. It was a first for me, for I have been to several Civil War Cemetery's, but never one from the beginning of our Country. It was a cute town, with some wonderful stores and an Inn by the cemetery. We stopped in at the city hall and introduced ourselves. The administrator was very kind and helpful. He gave us a brief history of their town.
After visiting, we headed to Asheville, NC where I was going to get to see a place I have dreamed of for years. I saw a program once on public television about the "American Mansion" and the Vanderbilt Family. It brought this amazing home to my attention and the desire to see it one day. We parked in one of the many parking areas opting to ride the shuttle bus to the mansion so we would not have to worry about parking. As I got on the shuttle bus my heart was beating so hard, because this was a dream come true for me. I was worried that I would cry for the joy and beauty of the sight. When we turned the corner at the entrance gate, I did let tears fall, for it was breathtaking. the massive size of it unbelievable, even though I was looking at it.
We started our tour, room after room was extravagant, furnished beautifully. We went up the grand staircase where we visited the bedrooms of the family, guests, and servants. We saw in the grand banquet hall, so many wonderful statues and flags, including a replica of the flag from Columbus's ship and the 12 Countries that backed the voyage that brought the settlers to the coast of North America, that would eventually become the United States of America. We saw the inground pool and the kitchen area where the servants worked in this great house.
The pictures attached are just a couple of the rooms we saw. Some of the rooms were larger than most people's homes. Most of the servant's bedrooms are larger than my own bedroom! The rooms were decorated already for Christmas because in just a few short weeks the holiday season starts.
Photos by Barry Wise
The end of the tour was in the gardens at the Biltmore, which is a massive place, arrayed with fall colors. Inside the greenhouses, were so many exotic plants including orchids of many different colors. I didn't know the names of many of the plants there but that did not stop me from enjoying them.
As we drove away, I leaned back in the seat, closed my eyes and thank God for the opportunity to see this "home", to know that people in the area were supported by working at the home and all the tourist businesses in the area. It was definitely a photo-taking day. A dream come true to start the tour.
We started our day at 5 am. As I write this it is 930pm and we are in Hendersonville NC. We will start here tomorrow, we do not have a set agenda now. The Biltmore was our starting point. We are looking forward to discovering even more of God's beauty in nature. We will be searching out waterfalls, mountain tops, music and fall foliage!
We hope you have a good day dear readers! More to come, check back here on Hill Country Network for Day 3!