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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Biltmore House At Christmas

George Washington Vanderbilt III (November 14, 1862 – March 6, 1914) was the youngest child of William "Billy" Henry Vanderbilt (5/8/1821–12/8/1885) and Maria Louisa Kissam. He had two uncles with the same name, one of which died at only 4 yrs old. So he is the third of that name.

As the youngest of William's children, George was said to be his father's favorite and his constant companion. Relatives described him as slender, dark-haired, and pale-complexioned. Shy and introverted, his interests ran to philosophy, books, and the collection of paintings in his father's large art gallery.

William "Billy" Henry Vanderbilt was an American businessman and philanthropist. He was the eldest son of "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt (5/27/1794-1/4/1877), Commodore was a nickname). Cornelius Vanderbilt was the son of Cornelius van Derbilt and Phebe Hand.

Cornelius Vanderbilt's great-great-grandfather, Jan Aertson or Aertszoon ("Aert's son"), was a Dutch farmer from the village of De Bilt in Utrecht, Netherlands, who emigrated to New Amsterdam (later New York) as an indentured servant in 1650. The Dutch van der ("of the") was eventually added to Aertson's village name to create "van der Bilt" ("of the Bilt"). This was eventually condensed to Vanderbilt.

Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in Staten Island, New York. He began working on his father's ferry in New York Harbor as a boy, quitting school at the age of 11. At the age of 16, Vanderbilt decided to start his own ferry service. He began his business by ferrying freight and passengers on a ferry between Staten Island and Manhattan. Such was his energy and eagerness in his trade that other captains nearby took to calling him The Commodore in jest – a nickname that stuck with him all his life. On December 19, 1813, at age 19 Vanderbilt married his first cousin, Sophia Johnson, daughter of Nathaniel Johnson and Elizabeth Hand. They moved into a boarding house on Broad Street in Manhattan. They had 13 children. In addition to running his ferry, Vanderbilt bought his brother-in-law John De Forest's schooner and traded in food and merchandise in partnership with his father and others. But on November 24, 1817, a ferry entrepreneur named Thomas Gibbons asked Vanderbilt to captain his steamboat between New Jersey and New York. Although Vanderbilt kept his own businesses running, he became Gibbons's business manager. Working for Gibbons, Vanderbilt learned to operate a large and complicated business. He moved with his family to New Brunswick, New Jersey, a stop on Gibbons' line between New York and Philadelphia. There his wife Sophia operated a very profitable inn, using the proceeds to feed, clothe and educate their children. Vanderbilt also proved a quick study in legal matters working with Gibbon's lawyers against a ferry monopoly. After Thomas Gibbons died in 1826, Vanderbilt worked for Gibbons' son William until 1829. Though he had always run his own businesses on the side, he now worked entirely for himself. Step by step, he started lines between New York and the surrounding region. First he took over Gibbons' ferry to New Jersey, then switched to western Long Island Sound. In 1831, he took over his brother Jacob's line to Peekskill, New York, on the lower Hudson River. That year he faced opposition by a steamboat operated by Daniel Drew, who forced Vanderbilt to buy him out. Impressed, Vanderbilt became a secret partner with Drew for the next thirty years, so that the two men would have an incentive to avoid competing with each other. During the 1830s, textile mills were built in large numbers in New England as the United States developed its manufacturing base. They processed cotton from the Deep South, so were directly tied to the slave societies. Some of the first railroads in the United States were built from Boston to Long Island Sound, to connect with steamboats that ran to New York. By the end of the decade, Vanderbilt dominated the steamboat business on the Sound, and began to take over management of the connecting railroads. When the California gold rush began in 1849, Vanderbilt switched from regional steamboat lines to ocean-going steamships. Many of the migrants to California, and almost all of the gold returning to the East Coast, went by steamship to Panama, where mule trains and canoes provided transportation across the isthmus. (The Panama Railroad was soon built to provide a faster crossing.) He then turned to transatlantic steamship lines. He took an interest in several railroads during the 1850s. Vanderbilt brought his eldest son, Billy, in as vice-president of the Harlem. Billy had had a nervous breakdown early in life, and his father had sent him to a farm on Staten Island. But he proved himself a good businessman, and eventually became the head of the Staten Island Railway. Though the Commodore had once scorned Billy, he was impressed by his son's success. Eventually he promoted him to operational manager of all his railroad lines. In 1864, the Commodore sold his last ships, in order to concentrate on the railroads. Following his wife Sophia's death in 1868, Vanderbilt went to Canada. On August 21, 1869, in London, Ontario, he married a cousin from Mobile, Alabama with the unusual of Frank Armstrong Crawford. Under her influence he began making large donations, especially to start Vanderbilt University and favored churches. The immediate cause of his death at 82 was exhaustion, brought on by long suffering from a complication of chronic disorders. Vanderbilt had a fortune estimated at $100 million. In his will, he left 95% of his $100 million estate to his son William (Billy) and to William's four sons ($5 million to Cornelius, and $2 million apiece to William, Frederick, and George). He gave his wife $500,000 and some stock, his daughters received $250,000@-$500,000@ and his youngest son, whom he considered a "wastrel", the income from a $200,000 trust fund. The Commodore said that he believed William was the only heir capable of maintaining the business empire. The Commodore had lived in relative modesty considering his nearly unlimited means, splurging only on race horses. His descendants were the ones who built the Vanderbilt houses that characterize America's Gilded Age. Three of his daughters and son, Cornelius Jeremiah Vanderbilt, contested the will on the grounds that their father was of unsound mind and under the influence of his son Billy and of spiritualists whom he consulted on a regular basis. The court battle lasted more than a year and was ultimately won outright by Billy, who increased the bequests to his siblings and paid their legal fees. A living descendant is his great-great-granddaughter Gloria Vanderbilt, a renowned fashion designer. Her youngest son is Anderson Cooper, a television news anchor. Through Billy's daughter Emily Thorn Vanderbilt, another descendant is actor Timothy Olyphant.

William Henry "Billy" Vanderbilt was the richest American after he took over his father's fortune in 1877 until his own death in 1885, passing on a substantial part of the fortune to his wife and children, particularly to his sons Cornelius II and William. He inherited nearly $100 million from his father. The fortune had doubled when he died less than nine years later. Billy was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on May 8, 1821. Cornelius frequently berated and criticized his eldest son calling him a "blockhead" and a "blatherskite". Billy longed to show his father that he was capable but never dared stand up to the Commodore. A major turning point in their relationship occurred on the family trip to Europe on the steamship Vanderbilt in 1860, after which, the two became very close and Billy was given a greater role in business matters. His father carefully oversaw his business training, starting him out at age 19 as a clerk in a New York banking house. After joining as an executive of the Staten Island Railway, he was made its president in 1862. He continued to rise and take on more responsibility from his father until Cornelius' death in 1877. Billy owned elegant mansions in New York City and Newport and an 800-acre country estate on Long Island.

In 1884 the firm Grant and Ward, Grant being Ulysses S. Grant, went bankrupt and ruined the investments of many including Vanderbilt, whom Grant had convinced to invest $150,000. Ferdinand Ward, known as the Napoleon of Wall Street, had operated the company as a Ponzi scheme that resulted in financial ruin for many. Ward was later prosecuted. To pay Vanderbilt back, Grant mortgaged his Civil War memorabilia, including his sword. Although this did not fully cover the $150,000 debt, Vanderbilt accepted the memorabilia as payment in full. Vanderbilt later recouped Grant's other mortgaged war memorabilia, including the memorabilia given by Grant, and returned them to Grant's wife, Julia Grant, after Grant's death in 1885.

In 1841, Billy married Maria Louisa Kissam (1821–1896), daughter of the Reverend Samuel Kissam and Margaret Hamilton Adams. They had eight children. In 1883, he resigned all his company presidencies and had his sons appointed as important chairmen but left the day-to-day running of the businesses to experienced men appointed president. He died on December 8, 1885 in Manhattan, New York City of a stroke, he left a fortune of approximately $200 million. His estate was divided amongst his 8 children and his wife, the bulk of the estate going to his eldest two sons, Cornelius and William. He was an active philanthropist and an avid art enthusiast; his collection included some of the most valuable works of the Old Masters, and over his lifetime Vanderbilt acquired more than 200 paintings.

George Washington Vanderbilt III inherited $2 million from his grandfather and received another million on his 21st birthday from his father. Upon his father's death, he inherited $5 million more, as well as the income from a $5 million trust fund. The Vanderbilt family business was operated by his older brothers. He ran the family farm at New Dorp and Woodland Beach, now the neighborhood of Midland Beach on Staten Island, New York. He acquired a private library of more than twenty thousand volumes. In addition to frequent visits to Paris, France, where several Vanderbilts kept a home, George Vanderbilt traveled extensively, becoming fluent in several foreign languages.

Living in one or another of his family residences well into adulthood, Vanderbilt decided to construct his own country mansion and estate in 1888. For this purpose he acquired 125,000 acres of woodland in North Carolina, employing the architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a limestone house modeled on the Chateau de Blois, Chenonceau and Chambord in France and Waddesdon Manor in England. With up to four acres of floor space this is believed to be the largest domestic dwelling ever constructed in the United States. On June 1, 1898, Vanderbilt married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1/17/1873 – 12/21/1958) at the American Cathedral in Paris, France. They had one daughter, Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (8/22/1900 - 2/7/1976).

Vanderbilt led the life of a country gentleman. Having a great interest in horticulture and agriscience, he oversaw experiments in scientific farming, animal bloodline breeding, and silviculture (forestry). His goal was to run Biltmore as a self-sustaining estate. In 1892, Olmsted suggested that Vanderbilt hire Gifford Pinchot to manage the forests on the estate. According to Pinchot, who went on to be the first Chief of the United States Forest Service, Biltmore was the first professionally managed forest in the U.S; it was also the site of the Biltmore School of Forestry, the first such school in North America, established in 1898 by Dr. Carl A. Schenck.

He died on March 6, 1914 due to complications following an appendectomy in Washington, D.C. After his death, Vanderbilt's widow sold approximately 86,000 acres of the Biltmore property to the United States Forest Service at $5 an acre, fulfilling her husband's wishes to create the core of Pisgah National Forest. She sold additional land as finances demanded. Edith Dresser Vanderbilt later married Peter Goelet Gerry (1879–1957), a United States Senator from Rhode Island. Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (George and Edith Vanderbilt's only child) married British aristocrat, John Francis Amherst Cecil in 1924. Her sons, George Henry Vanderbilt Cecil (2/27/1925-?) and William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil (8/17/1928-10/31/2017), eventually inherited the property. George Cecil, the older of the two sons, chose to inherit the majority of the estate's land and the Biltmore Farms Company, which was more profitable than the house at the time. He ran the dairy and built the profitable winery on the grounds. William Cecil was thus left with Biltmore House, and is credited with preserving the chateau and making it the tourist attraction. It is still privately owned but opened to the public. George Cecil married Nancy Owen and they had six children. William Cecil married Mary Lee Ryan and they had two children.

In the 1880's, George began making trips with his mother to Asheville, NC. He loved the scenery and climate and decided to build his summer retreat there. The name Biltmore was derived from "Bildt", Vanderbilt's ancestors' place of origin in Holland, and "More", Anglo-Saxon for open, rolling land. The Biltmore House was built between 1889 and 1896. In order to facilitate such a large project, a woodworking factory and brick kiln, which produced 32,000 bricks a day, were built onsite, and a three-mile railroad spur was constructed to bring materials to the building site. Construction on the main house required the labor of well over 1,000 workers and 60 stonemasons. Vanderbilt went on extensive buying trips overseas as construction on the house was in progress. He returned to North Carolina with thousands of furnishings for his newly built home including tapestries, hundreds of carpets, prints, linens, and decorative objects, all dating between the 15th century and the late 19th century. George Vanderbilt opened his opulent estate on Christmas Eve 1895 to invited family and friends from across the country, who were encouraged to enjoy leisure and country pursuits. Their only child, Cornelia, was born at Biltmore in the Louis XV room in 1900, and grew up at the estate. Driven by the impact of the newly imposed income taxes, and the fact that the estate was getting harder to manage economically, Vanderbilt initiated the sale of 87,000 acres to the federal government. His widow completed the sale. In an attempt to bolster the estate's financial situation during the Great Depression, Cornelia and her husband opened Biltmore to the public in March 1930 at the request of the City of Asheville, which hoped the attraction would revitalize the area with tourism. Biltmore closed during World War II and in 1942, 62 paintings and 17 sculptures were moved to the estate by train from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. to protect them in the event of an attack on the United States. After the divorce of the Cecils in 1934, Cornelia left the estate never to return; however, John Cecil maintained his residence in the Bachelors' Wing until his death in 1954. Their eldest son, George Henry Vanderbilt Cecil, occupied rooms in the wing until 1956. The estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963. It is built of Indiana limestone with carved decorations include trefoils, flowing tracery, rosettes, gargoyles, and at prominent lookouts, grotesques. On the north end of the house, Hunt placed the attached stables, carriage house and its courtyard to protect the house and gardens from the wind. The 12,000-square-foot complex housed Vanderbilt's prized driving horses and the carriage house opposite the stables stored his 20 carriages in addition to any of his guest's carriages. Biltmore House had electricity from the time it was built. With electricity less safe and fire more of a danger at the time, the house had six separate sections divided by brick fire walls. It has a total of 250 rooms in the house including 35 bedrooms for family and guests, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens and 19th-century novelties such as electric elevators, forced-air heating, centrally controlled clocks, fire alarms, and a call-bell system. It cost about $6 million when it was built but in 2018 dollars that would be closer to $1.6 billion. The two-story Library contains over 10,000 volumes in eight languages, reflecting George Vanderbilt's broad interests in classic literature as well as works on art, history, architecture, and gardening. The second-floor balcony is accessed by an ornate walnut spiral staircase. The baroque detailing of the room is enhanced by the rich walnut paneling and the ceiling painting, The Chariot of Aurora, brought to Biltmore by Vanderbilt from the Palazzo Pisani Moretta in Venice, Italy. The painting by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini is the most important work by the artist still in existence. The third floor has a number of guest rooms with names that describe the furnishing or artist that they were decorated with. The fourth floor has 21 bedrooms that were inhabited by housemaids, laundresses, and other female servants. Also included on the fourth floor is an Observatory with a circular staircase that leads to a wrought iron balcony with doorways to the rooftop where Vanderbilt could view his estate. Male servants were not housed here, however, but instead resided in rooms above the stable and complex. In the Bachelor's Wing is the Billiard Room which is decorated with an ornamental plaster ceiling and rich oak paneling and was equipped with both a custom-made pool table and a carom table (table without pockets). The room was mainly frequented by men, but ladies were welcome to enter as well. Secret door panels on either side of the fireplace led to the private quarters of the Bachelors' Wing where female guests and staff members were not allowed. The wing includes the Smoking Room, which was fashionable for country houses, and the Gun Room, which held mounted trophies and displayed George Vanderbilt's gun collection. Guests of the estate could enjoy other activities that were found on the basement level, including an indoor 70,000-gallon heated swimming pool with underwater lighting, one of the nation's first bowling alleys installed in a private residence, and a gymnasium with once state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The service hub of the house is also found in the largest basement in the US, as the location for the main kitchen, pastry kitchen, rotisserie kitchen, walk-in refrigerators that provided an early form of mechanical refrigeration, the servants' dining hall, laundry rooms and additional bedrooms for staff. Olmsted made sure to incorporate 75 acres of formal gardens requested by Vanderbilt for the grounds directly surrounding the house. He constructed an Italian formal garden, a walled garden, a shrub and rose garden, fountains, and a conservatory with individual rooms for palms and orchids. There was also a bowling green, an outdoor tea room, and a terrace to incorporate the European statuary that Vanderbilt had brought back from his travels. At the opposite end of the Esplanade is the Rampe Douce, a graduated stairway zigzagging along a rough-cut limestone wall that leads to the grassy slope known as the Vista, topped with a statue of Diana, the goddess of the hunt. Water features were an important aspect of Victorian landscaping and Olmsted incorporated two for the estate: the Bass Pond created from an old creek-fed millpond and the Lagoon. Each was used for guest recreation like fishing and rowing. To supply water for the estate, Olmsted engineered two reservoirs. One was a spring-fed man-made lake on nearby Busbee Mountain. The other was a man-made, brick-lined reservoir, located behind the statue of Diana in the Vista, at an elevation of approximately 266 feet above the Esplanade. The estate today covers approximately 8,000 acres and is split in half by the French Broad River, overseen by The Biltmore Company, a trust set up by the family. The company is a large enterprise that is one of the largest employers in the Asheville area. Source: Wikipedia

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Restaurants were opened in 1979 and 1987 as well as four gifts shops in 1993. The former dairy barn was converted into the popular Biltmore Winery in 1985. We used to go to the onsite dairy bar for ice cream before they closed it. The AAA four-diamond 210-room Inn on Biltmore Estate opened in 2001, and in 2010, the estate debuted Antler Hill Village, as well as a remodeled winery, and connected farmyard.

We first visited Biltmore after we moved to Spartanburg, SC in 1967. So it would have been in the late 1960's. My husband and I got to go about once a year until the ticket prices got so expensive. We've enjoyed it every time except for once when we went to the Candlelight Christmas Tour and it was wall-to-wall people. I don't enjoy crowds like that.

This year, our niece and her family are finally living close enough for us to plan another trip. Her husband is career Air Force and they got transferred to Columbia, SC just this Fall. We are so happy and thankful to have them close to home. They have 4 children, two boys and two girls. The baby girl is not a year old yet. But this Christmas will be their oldest child's last chance to tour for free and the older 3 are old enough to remember so it was on our Christmas bucket list this year.

Let me give you some hints based on our experience. Biltmore website.

The tickets are expensive. As of 2018, normal ticket prices are $75/adult, $37.50 per child (age 10-16), children younger than 10 are free. The Christmas Tours are more expensive and the Candlelight Tours at night are the highest and they get taken pretty quickly so it's good to plan a Christmas visit in advance and order your tickets online. The evening Candlelight Christmas Tours are reservation only. You can get $10 off per adult with seven-day advance purchase, and free admission for kids 16 and under! Seniors and US Military can also get a $10 discount. If you want to do a 2 day visit, it's $25@ for second day. The hours are 9-5 normally. They are open later for Christmas Candlelight Tours and Summer schedule. Check their website. Summer at Biltmore offers outdoor activities. Enjoy the gardens, bring a picnic, and relax in a quiet spot. There is an Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Village. They offer: BIKING, CARRIAGE RIDES, FLY-FISHING, HIKING, HORSEBACK RIDING, LAND ROVER, RIVER FLOAT TRIPS, SEGWAY TOURS, SPORTING CLAYS, OUTRIDER USA ADVENTURE, FALCONRY.

Once you have your tickets (there is a ticket office, but you can order online and I pd a little extra to have hardcopy tickets mailed to us), you can go to the parking lots nearer the mansion and walk or you can park in the parking lots further away but take a bus or trolly that run continuously from the parking lot to the mansion. Saves you a lot of walking and you might need your energy for the house and garden tours. The buses had wheelchair lifts but that was a lot of trouble for just a stroller so we ended up having to lift the stroller up the 3 steep steps into the bus. If you are like most people, strollers have baby and are stuffed with diaper bag, purse, jackets, paraphernalia. So taking all that out of the stroller to fold it up was a pain so we just tried to lift it up the steps. The path between the seats was about too narrow for a single stroller. Also there are parts of the house where the stroller won't go and you have to leave it and hold baby anyway. So the whole stroller thing is not a good idea and carrying baby all over isn't either. We had no choice so we struggled with the stroller. But if it's possible, it's best not to take a stroller baby, or a child who is too young to walk a lot, at all.

I'm not wheelchair bound but I'm disabled so I was noticing how difficult it was to walk and get up and down stairs, etc. They have the house roped in a tour so people can easily follow their way in the right directions. But the path included steps on the upper floors. There is an elevator near the front door but it only goes to the upper floors. It does NOT go to the basement which has the indoor pool, servant's quarters, kitchen and work areas. Back to the upper floor tour, I'm not sure what they do for wheel chair people when it came to those stairs? They have attendants posted and they took the stroller and we had to carry the baby and then pick up the stroller on the other end. So I don't know if they have to push a wheel chair person in a different direction, and they miss part of the upper floor tours, or what? It was cold (not really bad cold, but cold enough for jackets) outside since it's December and I get stiff and achy in the cold. So doing the steps on the bus and in the house was hard. I managed to do it but if you have physical disabilities, keep that in mind. Halfway through, the kids, who are all healthy and skinny, were getting tired! So that's another gauge to be aware of. Can your group handle all the walking and staircases? And that's not counting the immediate gardens, any shopping, etc?

I gave out after the main floor and upper floor tours so I stayed with the stroller and let her take the children down to do the basement tour. I met them out front when they were finished. They allow bottled water inside the house but not any other food or drink. So you can't take a coffee or hot chocolate inside. I'm severely hypoglycemic and with the extra exercise I was concerned my sugar would drop and what would I do. It happens very quickly for me and walking expends more energy and makes it drop faster. I made sure to eat a lot of protein grams before we got on the grounds but that doesn't always work. This time it did, thank God! But if I'd been on the upper floor and had to get down and to the Stables and in line and pay before I could get a drink or food, I wouldn't have made it. Let's hope they allow for that. Either by letting someone carry a protein drink in their purse or all attendants carry candy and a protein for emergencies. When your sugar begins to drop, sucking on hard candy is better than nothing but not always safe. I've passed out with a piece of candy in my mouth and I could have choked.

They also don't allow food or drink on the bus or trolly. So the kids had to finish their ice cream before we could get on the trolly headed back to the car. That might not be a problem in the summer but sitting in the cold, eating ice cream (their choice!) made them pretty chilly. But they really needed something for a pickup after all the walking.

Now, is it worth it? I would say YES! If you can afford to go and you meet the physical demands, it's a beautiful place to visit! They have kept it in beautiful shape. Sometimes I've been to historical places and you are a little disappointed. I mean, it's old; it's open to the public and it gets dusty, faded, dilapidated, furnishings and decorations get wilted and it's sort of sad. But I have to say the Biltmore Estate was not that way. It wasn't dusty or faded. It looks like it's kept clean and repaired. The furnishings and accessories seemed to be up to standard. The Christmas decorations were beautiful and well worth seeing. The fresh floral arrangements and orchids everywhere were not wilting. We did not do the gardens around the house as it was getting dark when we finished the house and we weren't physically able to keep going. But I've been in the past and always been impressed. The views are gorgeous. The estate grounds are well kept. The shops are expensive but held beautiful items which I enjoyed looking at. We have not mustered up the money to eat at any of the restaurants so I can't make a judgment on them.

Our Christmas Tour, taken in an afternoon with low crowds (thank God!) took about 2 1/2 hours.

Outside food and beverage is not permitted in estate dining locations, Antler Hill Village or Biltmore House areas, including the Front Lawn area of Biltmore House, Stable Courtyard, and South Terrace and Walled Garden. But with lots to explore, there are options for picnics. While there is not an official "picnic" area, you can spread a blanket along one of the hiking trails, along the river, or in gardens (except the Walled Garden). For a more secluded picnic, take the Deer Park Trail that begins by the South Terrace. Other great spots include the Lagoon, the Diana statue atop the hill facing the house, and the gazebo on Bass Lake. Tailgating, grilling, large coolers and outside alcoholic beverages are not allowed. They don't make picnicking easy in order to force you to eat at their restaurants. But it's not terribly hard if you plan and know these things in advance. I would like to suggest to Biltmore to have a picnic pavilion near the car parks. A shed roof, picnic tables, benches would help a lot.

I would suggest something easy like sandwiches or cold fried chicken, bottled drinks, fruit, nuts, fresh veggies. Sort of like heavy finger foods. Keep them in a cooler in your car. Decide on a place to picnic and take it then. Put it back in your car and do what you want next. Just don't expect to find picnic tables and you can't take it to the house.

Their website has estate maps so check them out.

For security, they now have tents in front with an xray machine to walk through and they can check your bags. Weapons are not allowed even with concealed carry permits. All of the staff we encountered were courteous. Pets are allowed on leash on the grounds but not in any of the buildings unless they are service dogs.

Still photography is allowed but turn off your flash inside the home. Without the flash, the pictures are a little grainy and not as clear.

Now for the photos I took.

We just cleared security and are headed inside.


This is the indoor Winter Garden or conservatory just in the front doors and center of the home.



 

























Mrs. Vanderbilt's oval bedroom




The ornate sitting room between Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's bedrooms







Mr. Vanderbilt's bedroom





The upstairs family living room (Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's bedrooms are just off this large room).









The large main stairway is fascinating to me.







The grand salon that leads to the two story library. It is very ornate from floor to ceiling. Large tapestries line the walls.





Ryan trying to look pensive and sophisticated. I think he would love to live here!





Here is one of my favorite rooms, the two story library.




There is a walkthru (sort of like a tunnel) over the fireplace.

You will see a circular addition in the corner. That is the circular stairway to the upper walk of the library.



 The upper walkway goes around 3 sides of this room.

 The Music Room




















Note the embossed leather wall covering.



 The banqueting hall



In the banqueting hall there is an organ in the organ loft.





The Stableyard Shops













Eating ice cream from the stable courtyard.





This one is definitely looking tired.

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