Since we're in their neck of the woods (they now live in Johnson City and Mountain City, TN), we decided to meet at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.
On our drive to Asheville, we saw wild turkeys in Gatlinburg, and lions at a rest area off I-40 in Tennessee. Yes, you read that right, lions. As I was driving down the freeway, I glanced across at the rest area on the other side. A semi-truck had the sides of the truck open revealing large cages containing lions. I saw one lion and about four lionesses. I'm wondering if they were going to a Barnum & Bailey Circus performance I heard advertised on the radio. Pretty darn cool to see lions, and totally unexpected!
When we got to our meeting place at the Starbucks outside the Biltmore Estate, I finally got to see my cousins again. Luckily, they are on Facebook. I had a chance to see their pics and get to know them a little before we met after so many years. After hugging and greeting, we got in our cars and continued to the Biltmore Estate.
|Cousins - Laurie, Susan, Cindy at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC|
The day was gorgeous, 69 degrees with a moderate wind blowing. We went on a self-guided tour of the estate house. Cindy had been there a number of times before, but the rest of us had never been. Such an impressive dwelling. We were ready to move in.
The Vanderbilt's hired the best architects and landscape architects and built a home for entertainment. The home has an indoor swimming pool, dressing rooms, bowling alley, gymnasium, breakfast room (where they served lunch), banquet hall with organ loft, salon, music room, tapestry gallery for tea and to display 16th century Flemish tapestries, library, family rooms, guest retreats, bachelor's wing with smoking room and gun room and servant's domain. I think the house has 250 rooms!
For lunch, we went to The Bistro on the 8,000 acre grounds, a lovely restaurant next to the Winery. Bob, my cousins and I got along famously, laughed, caught up on each other's families and lives. We plan to have a big family reunion in Las Vegas, NV.
|Cindy, Laurie, Susan, Bob - mmmm, wine tasting!|
|Shopping for wine.|