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View Full Version : Windy City, Smoky Mountains ~ Day 9 - Biltmore & Tom Jones (or not)


wickesy
08-11-2009, 12:44 PM
On the agenda today was a visit to Biltmore followed by the Tom Jones concert at 8:00pm. We were up and out by 8:45 and the sat-nav took us a rather ‘interesting’ route through some back lanes in ‘Hill-billy’ country, and had to re-route us at one point when I refused to go down what looked like a gravel track.

We got to Biltmore at around 10:30 and when we presented our tickets at the gate we were greeted with “Y’all have been made aware the concert is cancelled?”. Of course we hadn’t (although at the time of typing this I’m expecting to find an e-mail when I get home) but it was no great problem as we had intended visiting Biltmore anyway and we were told that Guest Services would be able to confirm what was happening about a refund. We carried on up the drive, parked up and made our way up to the house.

Biltmore House is a 250 room mansion built for George Vanderbilt and opened by him on Christmas Eve 1895. It stands amongst 125,000 acres of forest, a 250 acre wooded park and five pleasure gardens and over the years he invited many friends and family to stay with him there, often for weeks at a time. In 1960 the house was opened to the public and today is a major tourist attraction.

We began with a self-guided tour of the house and, whilst impressive, it has to be said that it is very similar, at least to us, as many stately homes in England.

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This is the view from the balcony outside the Tapestry Gallery where guests relaxed after their meals.

Once we finished our tour we went into the bakery where Dad had a Muffaletta sandwich (ham, proscuttio and other stuff) while I had a ham and Swiss cheese stuffed croissant and we had a coke each. After lunch we went into the gift shop where we bought a fridge magnet, DVD, polo shirt, Christmas ornament and colour guide book. From there we stopped off at Guest Services who confirmed that everybody had been automatically refunded for the cost of the concert and, as far as possible, they had tried to notify everybody of the cancellation, which was apparently because of a problem with Tom Jones’ vocal cords.

We then went to have a look at the photo of us that had been taken as we entered the house and although we don’t normally buy this sort of thing I liked the look of the background and the frame so we bought it at a cost of $26.95. SusanEllen the invoice for this, together with the $141.57 we spent in the gift shop is on it’s way to you by FedEx. ;) :hug:

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t120/wickesy/Chicago%20and%20Smokies%202009/DSCF0701.jpg
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t120/wickesy/Chicago%20and%20Smokies%202009/DSCF0702.jpg

I then took a couple of photos of where the concert would have been taking place - how’s this for a venue?

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We then moved on to walk through some of the gardens

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And down to the bass pond

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This was a bit further out than we realised so we walked back as far as the shuttle bus stop and got the shuttle back to the main house so I could get a picture

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t120/wickesy/Chicago%20and%20Smokies%202009/SANY0096.jpg

Before walking back to the car. We moved off at 2:00 and it was around 2:25 before we reached the main gate! The main reason for this is that you have to drive round most of the estate to get out because a lot of it is one-way traffic.

Continued

wickesy
08-11-2009, 12:45 PM
As we were in no rush to get anywhere I reverted to Plan A, which was to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway to get back to Gatlinburg. This is supposedly one of the most scenic drives in America and although it more than doubled the journey time it was worth it because to quote a line from one of my favourite films: “You don’t see nothing’ on Interstate but Interstate”. I resisted the temptation to stop off at all of the overlooks on the way back, but we did stop off at a few.

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Continued

wickesy
08-11-2009, 12:46 PM
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Sorry for all the photos but I couldn’t decide which ones to cut :blush:

At the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway we joined Newfound Gap Road, which we had travelled a few days previously when we went to Cherokee and shortly before reaching Gatlinburg we reached 1,000 miles added to the car’s mileage since we picked it up.

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Back in Gatlinburg we parked up at the top end of town as we wanted to take in ‘Tunes & Tales’ which is a street event sponsored by the city of Gatlinburg and involves various entertainers along the main street performing and telling tales. As we walked down we stopped off to watch a couple of young dancers and when they finished we went down to McDonalds to get something to eat. As we went to sit down we noticed that the dancers had come in behind us, obviously a popular spot to have a break.

We then carried on walking down one side of the street looking for a shop that sold wooden carvings that we had spotted the other day but we obviously missed it so we crossed over and walked back up the other side. As we walked up we heard a couple of musicians playing Dulcimers (a mountain instrument kind of like a guitar but played flat) so we stopped to listen to them and then made our way back to the car.

We were back in the cabin for 8:00 where spent a couple of hours relaxing before going to bed at the usual time with no firm plans for tomorrow.

P.S. When we got home I did have both an e-mail and a letter telling us the concert had been cancelled because Tom Jones had problems with his vocal chords brought on by bronchitis. We got a full refund of not only the cost of concert but also admission to the estate meaning we saved $94 on the day as we were going to visit before I even knew about the concert.

Day 10 (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2255767)

irongirlof12
08-11-2009, 01:04 PM
DO NOT apologise for the number of photo's , it is really great to see so much scenery (and yet - still would not compare to being there:thumbsup2)

shame that TJ was cancelled :upsidedow

btab
08-11-2009, 01:59 PM
Having been on a similar road trip in the Smoky mountains just a few weeks ago, I am following your report with interest. I have to agree the scenery is fantastic - you just have to stop at all the viewing areas on the parkways !!

Barrie

wickesy
08-11-2009, 02:14 PM
Welcome along Barrie, thanks for reading. On the Blue Ridge Parkway I really could have stopped at every overlook but as we got higher it got quite misty and a bit rainy so we wouldn't have seen a lot from some of them anyway.

tennisfan
08-11-2009, 02:43 PM
Love the photos, you can never have too many:thumbsup2 Shame the concert was cancelled but they were really quick with the refund:goodvibes

Pinky166
08-12-2009, 02:57 AM
Shame about TJ being cancelled & a result that they refunded you the entry fee's too.

Great pics.

Goofyish
08-12-2009, 07:43 AM
Tom Jones having throat problems - rare but it's not unusual!

wickesy
08-12-2009, 11:11 AM
Tom Jones having throat problems - rare but it's not unusual!

Ba-doom-tish! :rotfl2:

Pegasus928
08-12-2009, 01:00 PM
Loads of pics there - just the way I like it so no apologies necessary in my opinion.
The scenery looks stunning so I can see why you took so many in the first place.

suzycute
08-12-2009, 03:48 PM
Sounds like you enjoyed your day despite the concert being cancelled!
I think you missed a Disney reference on this day! I spied half a hidden Mickey ear on the ground where the concert would have been held (does half a hidden Mickey count??) :)

wickesy
08-12-2009, 03:57 PM
I think you missed a Disney reference on this day! I spied half a hidden Mickey ear on the ground where the concert would have been held (does half a hidden Mickey count??) :)

I'll take whatever I can get. :thumbsup2 If I can count a random sign that says 'Saratoga' and link it to Saratoga Springs I can count half a hidden Mickey. :lmao:

Snowy-girls
08-12-2009, 04:22 PM
Oh no i can't believe Tom Jones was cancelled.I was looking forward to seeing some pics of him in his tight leather trousers-gyrating his hips :laughing:.
Please don't apologise over the pics-i love looking at them(although i know how you feel as i think i put too many in mine).I really like the frame of you+Dad :thumbsup2.x.

wickesy
08-12-2009, 04:31 PM
Oh no i can't believe Tom Jones was cancelled.I was looking forward to seeing some pics of him in his tight leather trousers-gyrating his hips :laughing:.
Please don't apologise over the pics-i love looking at them(although i know how you feel as i think i put too many in mine).I really like the frame of you+Dad :thumbsup2.x.

Easy tiger! :eek: Personally I think he heard Kenny Rogers was coming down and he got scared. ;)

Thanks, I thought it was a nice frame as well and better than the folder they normally come in.

Chilly
08-13-2009, 07:20 AM
That is a shame about the concert but good of them to refund the entry.

Snowy-girls
08-13-2009, 08:42 AM
Easy tiger! :eek: Personally I think he heard Kenny Rogers was coming down and he got scared. ;)

:lmao: :rotfl2:.x.

SusanEllen
08-15-2009, 05:45 PM
We then went to have a look at the photo of us that had been taken as we entered the house and although we don’t normally buy this sort of thing I liked the look of the background and the frame so we bought it at a cost of $26.95. SusanEllen the invoice for this, together with the $141.57 we spent in the gift shop is on it’s way to you by FedEx. ;) :hug:

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t120/wickesy/Chicago%20and%20Smokies%202009/DSCF0701.jpg
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t120/wickesy/Chicago%20and%20Smokies%202009/DSCF0702.jpg



Well, now I'm curious--how about some details of what my $141.57 bought for you. I hope that's a nice book I see in the picture. Of course you had to buy that lovely portrait of you and your Dad. Study that background then get a copy of the Peter Seller's movie Being There (the one where he was Chauncy Gardener) and you'll recognize the background in your portrait and several other places you saw at Biltmore as it was used as Shirley MacLaine's house in the movie.

Sorry to hear that Tom Jones was not feeling well and you missed seeing him, but on the other hand, since you got a refund of the Biltmore admission as well as the concert tickets, I'm off the hook for that $94.

wickesy
08-16-2009, 02:47 AM
Well, now I'm curious--how about some details of what my $141.57 bought for you. I hope that's a nice book I see in the picture.

Sorry to hear that Tom Jones was not feeling well and you missed seeing him, but on the other hand, since you got a refund of the Biltmore admission as well as the concert tickets, I'm off the hook for that $94.

There's everything you see in the picture, plus a Biltmore golf shirt, DVD postcard and a DVD about the history of Biltmore, the people who stayed there and it's staff. You are off the hook for the $94, and I tell you what, as we had such a good day out I'll stamp the invoice "Paid in full". :goodvibes

Seriously, thanks for the recommendation. We did see leaflets for Biltmore but if it hadn't been for your suggestion we probably wouldn't have made the effort to go out there.

Lizzybear
08-20-2009, 11:29 AM
Shame about Tom Jones, the venue looked incredible :) I've always been apprehensive of visiting stately homes/castles in the US as there are soo many here but I think the scenic drive would make this one worth it, love ALL the photos of the different elevations/views :goodvibes Also, looks like your fridge magnet collection got a nice boost on this trip!

arieljasmine
08-21-2009, 03:26 PM
Shame about the concert, but the house looks fantastic - I love the picture you took of the front. The pic of you and your dad is great, I'm not surprised you couldn't resist buying it.

Laur's xx