Friday, May 4, 2018

Our Third Anni-RVersary: The Beauty of Biltmore's Blossoms

This is "Anniversary Week" for us. We are celebrating our third Anni-RVersary of selling our house and moving into the close living quarters of our beloved Wildebeest. And the fact that we are also celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary means that we haven't driven each other totally crazy ... yet!

Although I am not sure what would happen
if Doug convinces me that "hiking the Appalachian Trail"
would be a great version 4.0 for the RVentures program!

Traveling together means lots of time spent with each other. Our common interests of hiking, biking and nature have allowed us to discover so many beautiful sights ... and enjoy the little things together.

After three years of living more "closely" together, we have learned more about ourselves and each other. We've learned that I love exploring the "social" history around us ... exploring historic parks, towns, homes, and gardens. Doug prefers more of the "natural" history around us ... exploring the forests, beaches, deserts and mountains around us. 

A hike to the top of Mount Pisgah along the Blue Ridge Parkway
looking over the 8000 acres of land that was once a part of
George Vanderbilt's massive estate.
It is now a national forest with great hiking opportunities.

We also have learned that while we love spending time together, we each still need our "alone" time. For Doug this is easy ... he can readily get "lost" planning his next chess move or reading a book. I do better when I get out for a walk in our ever-changing "back yard".

When we were in Asheville, I had the perfect opportunity to take in a little history while enjoying a walk in a garden ... with a visit to the
Biltmore Mansion.

Heralded as the largest privately owned home in America, I was told that a tour of the Biltmore was a must when visiting Asheville. The 250 room home was built by George Vanderbilt in 1895. Refurbished to its former glory in recent years, a tour of the home and gardens sounded to me like a perfect way to spend a day. To Doug ... not so much. And as we have learned through the years, sometimes the best gift is allowing each other to spend a day the way that they want to spend it. 

Let what brings you joy lead your day!

So, I saved the cost of a second ticket, and I think that we both thoroughly enjoyed my day at the Biltmore.

I arrived when the mansion opened at 9 am and began my tour of the house. In addition to the admission ticket, I also purchased the self-guided audio tour of the house for $11. It was nice to get a more in-depth history of the Vanderbilts and their lifestyle as I walked through room after room after amazing room.

From the formal dining room,

... to the kitchens where the feasts were prepared,

... to one of the 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms
for family, friends and servants,

... the house still warmly welcomed visitors
with its vibrant decor and delightful artwork.

It welcomed us for a game of bowling,

... or a round of billiards,

... or a dip in the indoor pool,

... or a stroll in the gardens.

The Biltmore gardens were ablaze with forests of azaleas

and fields of tulips.

Flowers every color of the rainbow danced in the sunlight.

A stroll through the Conservatory continued to make this heart sing a warm song of the tropics.

It was approaching closing time ... I had spent the whole day absorbed in the beautiful surroundings around me.

When I got home, I sort of felt bad that I had spent the whole day at the Biltmore while Doug was stuck at home. But as he thanked me for giving him the time to check the RV's battery system, plan his next chess moves, and just relax a bit, I realized how our relationship continues to blossom.

It blossoms when we spend time together, but also when we encourage and support each other's individual interests.

Until next time ...

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;
They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom"
Marcel Proust

Here's to another RVenturous year together!
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