Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!!!

This year for my 29th birthday (Yes, Amy....we are forever 29!) Eric surprised me and took me to Asheville, NC for a long weekend. It was all supposed to be a big surprise...and it was until Eric opened his mouth on the drive up.

The view on the way to NC. This pic doesn't do it justice.
We are at this point on the trip and the following conversation happens:

Me: We have to get some Christmas shopping done this weekend. What should we get Nicki?
E: Just get here something there.
Me: Where?
E: At the gift shop. I'm sure they have tons of stuff at the gift shop they are willing to sell you.
Me: What gift shop?
E: At the Biltmore.
Me: Why in the world would I buy her something at the Biltmore?
E: "Deer in headlights look", accompanied by, "I know I did not just say that!" look.
Me: Is that where we are going??????? "Big grin! Big grin! Big grin!"
E: I cannot believe I just said that!! I've been keeping it a secret for months!!!

So....following are pictures from our amazing weekend. Start to finish. Enjoy!!

South Carolina Mountains

Eric enjoying the last of our Tuna Martini.
Yummy sushi on Friday night in Asheville!

The Entrance to The Biltmore Estate

Me freezing outside the Winery

Eric saying "take the freaking picture already, honey!!!"
Clearly outside the Winery and Bistro.

Me waiting inside to tour the Winery.....

Headed into the Winery. The whole area is built like this. Even Biltmore Village outside the 8,000 acres of the actual home is built like this. More of those pics down below!

This is the actual room where they squeeze the grapes.
It's more modern b/c they still produce wine.
The barrels where they age. You had to take pics through the glass,
that's the reason for the green glare.

This is where they bottle the wine. It wasn't a production day....but still neat!!

The Cellars (duh!)
This is downstairs in the Winery. Just before you get to walk through
all the old hallways and see where they keep all the barrels. I love this place!!!
So romantic!!

This is one of my favorite pics. These are the halls in the cellar.
I love how old and original it is.
One of the cellars you actually got to see. Look at the layer of dust on those bottles!
Those bottles must be so old! And taste so good!!!

I saw this sign and died!! I told Eric to just plan on that sign
eventually having our name on it!! How cool!!!

Ok, now here comes the good stuff!! As you see the next set of pics,
remember a few things about this home.

It was built in the late 1800's and took 7 years to build
It was never a hotel, or a resort, or a place to "rent"....this was a family's home.
When the home was built, it was designed so that you could not see the home
until you arrived in front of it. How stinkin' impressive is that???

Ok, here are our pics:

This is the only peek you get of the house as you are about 5 feet
from the entry gates.....

And there she is!!!
Is that not the most amazing thing you've ever seen???

And people lived there!!!!

Close ups.....such detail!!

More up close.....

This is the view looking away from the house. You can't see the
veranda behind the tree at the top of that hill....but apparently
lots of people get married there. How special.

Us in front of the house.....and the creepy guy behind me
that would not get out of our pics!!!

This is the greenhouse that lead to the gardens. It was HUGE!

That's me up next to the door. I look so little compared to
the building.

Us outside the Greenhouse

Eric in the greenhouse. The flowers were amazing.

Cool plants in the Desert Room...reminded me of home!

More neat plants....

The same one up close....

Eric's Favorite Plant
Bird of Paradise

Really cool door handles to the Shop at the Garden
I thought Mom and Kathy would like this...

This is the wall you see when you look away from the house. The fountains
embedded in it we so neat.

And now....the Creme de' la Creme'

Eric took this picture right before we went into the house....
I could not believe how well he captured what we saw...

This was taken from the wall in front of the house.
Just breathtaking.

We then got to enter the home, but no pictures are allowed inside.
(How else will they ever sell that $400 picture book?)

We entered and when you first walk in, the winding staircase is to your left,
and to your right is the main dining room.
They had ballerinas dancing to the Nutcracker,
and then they had a choir singing.
It bellowed through the home as you walked it.
Truthfully one of the most amazing weekend's I've ever had.

Thanks Baby, I love you so much!!!