Monday, August 27, 2007

Goodbye Biltmore, Hello Biltmore Village

It was time to say goodbye to Hendersonville and head towards home. Supernurse had wanted to see the Biltmore Estate just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, and very close to the Blue Ridge Parkway.....which we had planned to drive for most of the trip homeward. This trip had a main agenda, which was the reunion, and that part had been accomplished. The remainder of the journey was to be what I call "winging it". No particular plan.......just drive along with no pressure and stop wherever.

We entered the grounds for the Biltmore Estate and it was stunningly beautiful........and that was just the entrance and some of the grounds. We followed the signs to the ticket center, parked the car, and inside the building....sat and watched a teaser film about the place in the theater. The wife immediately noticed that there were quite a few really senior citizens that particular moment, several screaming kids whose parents did nothing to silence. This was a bad sign. Combine that with the $50 per person fee to view this complex....and...well.......Supernurse suggested that we get out of there and go over to the Biltmore Village instead.

Supernurse pretty much always makes a lot of sense, and needless to say....I agreed with her....hehehe. While driving out of the complex, we decided that we could always come back on some future date and perhaps spend a night might make for an interesting visit........but not this time.

Biltmore Village is like a small town area of assorted shops located just outside of the grounds of the Biltmore. It is an interesting place....the layout....the atmosphere......nothing like anything at home. What gets me is that the majority of these shops are way too upscale. You know what I mean.......for folks like me they come across as run by the snooty blue bloods that you might find in Roland Park, Towson, or Hunt Valley in Maryland. Where are the Mom & Pop shops? Oh well......there we were.

The major centerpiece of which it seems that everything was built around, was this church. The All Souls Episcopal Church, sanctified in 1896. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the style is said to be "Romanesque Revival". A somewhat haunting structure, ........Hammer Horror film? we decided to take a look inside.

Approaching the entrance, you can see modern touches mixed well with an "older" look.

I always look upward. Here are the church bells. I have never seen anything like it before. As you can see for yourself, there is something about this if it was plucked from the set of that old British tv show "The Prisoner"...........some sort of foreign daunting presence.'s the stained glass that catches your eyes. Very beautiful.

And a chandelier hanging right over the entrance. Somewhat rustic isn't it? Even with the chandelier and all of the stained seems rather dark inside here. Outside and inside, I got the sense of "darkness foreboding".....something odd. It was almost like being in a different world. Anyway, a church isn't supposed to be like it?

There was one woman inside the church and we asked if it would be okay for us to take some pictures inside. She said "Sure, go ahead" and needless to say, from that point forward she spoke to us about the assorted details of this of those details were the knee cushions that are placed below all of the seating. Each one is different and each one was hand-made. In a strange twist to the visit.......the woman just so happened to have relatives in the Baltimore area and she stated that she had just returned from a visit there. Even stranger was the fact that those relatives live in the Roland Park area of Baltimore............did I or did I not just write something about snooty blue-bloods? Well.....this lady was very nice and helpful......but what could be the odds that Roland Park would come up in our chit-chat?

You gotta love stained matter where it is.

There was a small room to the right of the entrance..........a study room perhaps.....unlit except for the outside light coming through the glass window. It had an Amish feel.

See what I mean?......very Amish looking.........and spooky. Just as spooky as those twilight zone, Amish horse buggies traveling down the country roads in southern Pennsylvania right before dark.
I am glad we went into that church. Somehow, we are all...each of us.....if Christian......the church. The buildings are there as sanctuaries. If any one of them restricts your entrance......."beware!"

Right down the street, amongst assorted banking establishments, day spas, Thomas Kinkade art galleries, and high-end upscale clothing shops, is this place. Wherever you are, if there is a Christmas shop.......go inside. Inside these places, it is always Christmas......and the spirit of Christmas.....a little taste of that special time of icing on your vacation cake.

Ho - Ho - Ho!......guess who I saw?........hehehe
I would have bought this Father Christmas statue, but it was a bit huge and my surname is not Vanderbilt.
We did end up buying a few things in this shop.....who could resist?
The hired help in this shop were extremely friendly and they should be.
All in all, we had a good time visiting the Biltmore Village......but it was time for us to move on.

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