Yesterday, my pal Wedding Alex and I headed … north? West? We headed in some direction to the mountains, as the Vanderbilts, personal friends of ours, bilt a mansion in the 1800s, and do you see what I did there?

I gotta stop hanging around young women. Thelma Ritter and Louise, here.

Wedding Alex was the driver, as she is the grownup. Hey, I’m the one who had the free tickets, thanks to being a world-famous blogger.

We got on the open road with the first light of day (9:30-ish), and off we went. Free! Unencumbered! We had the world by the tail! We…we…

had to pee. We stopped off at a room of rest.

Rebel, rebel, you tore your dress.

It turns out this restroom was even better than the one I go to to have gay man trysts. It had THE BEST vending machines, and I realize one doesn’t necessarily HAVE to go to the vending machines at a rest stop, but if you don’t you aren’t my type and our homosexual tryst is off.

First of all, it took ATM cards, the vending machine did, and my info is probably being stolen across the land. This land is your land, this card is your card.

Also, when you selected your item, this mechanical arm reached across and got your item, let’s say a Mrs. Freshley’s cupcake just to throw a random scenario out there, then it gently placed the item in the outbox or whatever it’s called, and then it mechanically gave you a reacharound.

“This is going to be my favorite part of this trip,” I announced, because mechanical arm!

Anyway, we finally got to Asheville, like the Edie Brickell/Steve Martin song.

If you’re ever headed to the Biltmore, and you arrive in Asheville, you needn’t worry that you won’t be able to find, you know, the Biltmore. Once I was in the cemetery where they buried Jim Morrison, in Paris. All these other famous people were similarly buried there, but all sorts of tombstones had spraypainted on them “Jim” with an arrow leading you to Jim. Asheville was much the same, leading you to the mansion, except on fancier, less-dead signs.

Once you get to the property, it’s



from the front to the actual house. Then, after you’ve driven



it’s an 8-minute walk to the actual house.

Two miles. That’s longer than from my house here to work.

I took a video of us exclaiming over how ridiculous it was to have to drive two miles just to get down your driveway, and we said all sorts of pithy unforgettable things about it, and then you know what? I turned on the video feature of my phone once we were done. See, normally what you’d want to do is turn it on, you know, first.

Anyway, we eventually got there, and felt quite butch making that 8-minute trek through the woods, although W Alex became convinced we’d be kidnapped. You hear of a lot of kidnappings at the entry to the Biltmore, so I get it.

Also too, every time we saw a guard or a traffic guy or a janitor, we’d say, “That guy wanted us.”

It’d be funny if it weren’t so true.

Upon having made it through the grueling 8-minute walk w/out being kidnapped, and also, driving all the guard men crazy.

You’re going to be stunned to hear that the Biltmore has a lotta rooms, and a lotta fireplaces, and I can’t begin to imagine what they spend on those Duraflame logs each month.

But what I liked best, beyond the billiard room and the bowling alley and the pool and the gym

was the everyday stuff. Because you know how I am about the everyday. I’m obsessed with it. So, for me, the bathrooms were riveting. The kitchens (they had, like, 10 of them). The maids’ rooms. That’s the stuff I could identify with. Okay, I can’t identify with kitchens. You know what I mean, though. I mean, I can’t say, How does this drawing room differ from mine. But a bathroom? I can identify.

I’d be perfectly happy in here. It’s like my dorm room, minus the teams of men my roommate traipsed in on the reg.
She was so hoping a dumb waiter would show up.

Afterward, we had lunch in the stables, as you do. Even the leftovers be fance.

Now we’re just saying “razz” like it’s short for raspberry. Says the woman who just said “fance.”

Then, because we hadn’t spent enough money there, (we’d spent none) (well, lunch. Okay. LUNCH.) (I had bison pot roast. The waiter really buffaloed me into ordering it.) we popped into all the shops, where I am sorry to tell you I bought dark chocolate lavender truffles. I wanted to buy some dark chocolate-covered cashews, but the moment I would have brought them into the car, W Alex would have fallen over dead with her nut allergy and then I’d have had to navigate home and I’m really not good with directions.

June’s twisted humor. Everyone’s ajar over it.

In all, ’twas an excellent day looking at rich people’s houses, although I guess technically I looked at rich people’s HOUSE, and it’s hard to believe that was one house.

Now I gotta go the 17 steps from my house to my car, and then drive…well, zero miles to get out of my driveway, seeing as I don’t have one. I DO have a personal alley out back, and can the Vanderbilts say that? Hmmm? Can they?


24 thoughts on “Bilt

  1. Excellent post, old Coot Lover June!!

    I went to Biltmore once with my sister. We were in High Point buying a house-full of furniture for her, not me. And took a day off from walking around those HUGE showrooms to go walk around a HUGE mansion. We decided that it would be worth it to go see Biltmore in every season and see the changes to the landscaping.


  2. Haven’t been there in 20 years and it hasn’t changed a bit. Me, too, I’m always fascinated by the maids’ quarters cuz that’s where I’d a been.


  3. Yes! That fireplace! So nice. Would be really nice here today in northern Arizona where already we have about 5 inches of snow and are home bound! (I need to move to a warm climate! )


  4. Nice trip. Love the video down the driveway and all the laughter. Last trip we made to the Biltmore photos weren’t allowed. I was really surprised to see you can take them inside. They probably gave up trying to control all the snapping and all with cell phone cameras all over the place.


  5. In that first picture you look like Wedding Alex’s sister. Loved the giggly veeedeeeo. I’m glad they let you take pictures inside the house. We visited in the 90s and they wanted to sell you books and screensavers for your computer after the tour, so forbade photos. I imagine that would be impossible to police nowadays.


  6. Now *I* want to go to the Biltmore.

    Years ago when my son was in high school and dating a tramp, but they were friends with a nice girl, there was a party at the nice girl’s house. Well, at her parents’ house. We drove to the town and then my son said, call me when you get to the driveway and I’ll talk you in. Oh, please, I thought. What IDIOT can’t follow a driveway…. Yeah. Possibly distant relatives of the Biltmores. And what I also remember is yes, their house was huge and gorgeous, but the interior paint job SUCKED. All streaky. My son has other memories, such as nice girl’s mom catching him twice in the car. Once with the tramp and once with …. a different tramp. (HEY. He’s grown up since then. And I can’t believe I shared all of that. Let’s see, he’s thirty now, so that was ….. thirteen years ago? Ish?)

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  7. Cashews – they’re not nuts. I mean, W Alex can still be allergic if she chooses, but then that’s a drupe allergy.

    With all their money, are those the best mannequins those people can find?

    Still snickering over your personal alley out back… that one’ll get me through m’day.

    Thanks lovely June for the perfectly lovely tour!


    1. She’s allergic to pistachios and cashews but is getting over almonds. And you can eat peanuts around her till the cows come home.


      1. Daughter is allergic to peanuts but they are technically legumes. But, she can eat all the peas and beans, so what gives? Find a cure soon research people!!!


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