Book Journeys – St. Louis

Named after the famed king of France, Louis IX, St. Louis is a glittering city on the Missouri River. Most notable for The Gateway Arch, it’s baseball team (Cardinals, in case you don’t know), and, in my opinion, its pizza!! Yum!

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Book Journeys – The Biltmore – Gardens

Biltmore Gardens

On this day, 119 years ago, George and Edith Vanderbilt married in a service in France. After their four-month long honeymoon, George brought his bride (called by many of the Appalachian natives ‘a princess’) back home to his estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

The story behind Edith Vanderbilt's arrival to Biltmore Estate in #Asheville, NC, and her grand legacy amongst the workers and families of #Biltmore.
Edith Vanderbilt – PinterestPinterestPinterest

I can’t even imagine what Edith’s first thoughts were as she rounded the corner of the gated entry and saw the grand chateau with similar hues as the surrounding mountains. Both George and Edith were not only readers, but also the outdoorsy sort. Their personal photos, many taken by Edith, show them in various places around the estate and in the gardens. Continue reading “Book Journeys – The Biltmore – Gardens”

Book Journeys – The Biltmore Series – Downstairs

Biltmore - DownstairsOur last Book Journey gave an introduction to The Biltmore as a whole, so today, we’re going to take a little tour downstairs. I’ll stop before we get to the library because that’s going to be its own post 😉 But…let’s begin…with our approach.


The house sits in a most lovely area. The three mile driveway from the Gatehouse to the sprawling Biltmore is called the Approach Road. Landscape Architect, Frederick Olmsted, carefully created a beautiful build-up to the grand unveiling of the estate house. The woods open to a long, green lawn leading up to the house with a rock wall on either side.

The house stands as a centerpiece and welcomes visitors to the beautiful front doors. The Entrance Hall opens to a great view of the Grand Winding Staircase to the left and the lush Winter Garden to the right. The Winter Garden consistently showcases flora of various types, lit by the wood-framed and elegantly carved ceiling of glass.

IMG956576Just beyond the Winter Garden is the largest room in the house, The Banquet Hall. The tapestry-wrapped room houses a dining table which could seat up to 64 people. The high ceilings and massive fireplace add such beauty to this great room.

The Breakfast Room, a more intimate space for family morning meals, is a room with elaborate decor and family portraits, increasing its intimacy.

Interestingly, The Music Room was not finished until 1976, but is an important part of history because in this room some of America’s most precious artwork was moved from the nation’s capital during WWII to keep it safe. Later, a fireplace and some décor was discovered in storage which fit the specifications of the room, so the room was finally finished and opened to the public.

The Tapestry Gallery, a 90-foot long room which leads to the library, is lined with 16th century tapestries and floor-to-ceiling doors which lead out onto the loggia. This was the place of gathering, of afternoon tea, and of…parties.

In my current WIP, this room is used a lot because, not only does it connect to the library, but during the warmer weather, the loggia doors would be opened to allow for more room to dance.

So, what do you know of the Biltmore? Have you ever been? Did you learn anything new today?

Book Journeys – Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield Title

There are some places that just Need to be in a book!

This gothic revival manor house is one that has found its way into many books as a model for its fictional counterpart. One of the authors whose book I’ve read most recently that used this beautiful estate as a muse is Carrie Turansky. In her novel, A Refuge at Highland Hall, Tyntesfield IS Highland Hall. (It is also featured in the previous two books, The Daughter of Highland Hall and the Governess of Highland Hall).

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