Monday, August 17, 2009

Sweet 16 Mother-Daughter Weekend

This has been the summer of Sweet 16's. Amanda turned 16 in July and five other friends all turn 16 within a month or two of each other. Last weekend Ellie pulled a twist and threw a surprise birthday party for herself, surprising her friends! Yes, she invited 3 friends to her house for a sleepover, but instead kidnapped them and their moms ( the moms were warned ahead of time ) and took us to Asheville for the weekend!

We had the best time! We stayed at Country Inn & Suites in Asheville - with the 4 moms in one room and the 4 girls in the next room - I think the moms were up talking later than the girls both nights! Friday night we had dinner at a wonderful Thai restaurant called Noi's Thai Kitchen, owned by friends of the Mestases. Lenny helped us order a variety of dishes which the eight of us shared family style - spring rolls; fresh rolls w/ peanut sauce; chicken & shrimp Pad Thai (rice noodle stir fry ); Panang Curry; Horapa stir fry w/ beef; pineapple fried rice. I had never had Thai food before, and it was totally delicious!!!

Then... THEN.... on Saturday and Sunday we went to the Biltmore Estate, an enormous mansion and estate built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1888 and 1895, which is the largest privately owned home in the United State, at 175,000 sq. ft. and 250 rooms!!! As the shuttle bus driver told us on the way up from the parking lot - 43 bathrooms and you can't use any of them! Okay, they DID have public restrooms, but outside of the main house in the gift shop and cafe area.

I had heard of Biltmore Estate, but had never been there - if you ever have the chance, it was SO worth it! The house is gorgeous, and you can either walk through on a self-guided tour, rent a headset for an audio tour, or pay for a guided tour. We went through by ourselves, stopping to ask questions of the workers standing throughout the house, who were more than happy to fill us in with various fun facts about the estate and the family who once lived there! It took us about 3 hours just to walk through the house. Then there are acres and acres of beautiful gardens and ponds and walkways, plus the carriage house and stable which now are gifts shops and a cafe, where we ate a delicious lunch.

the "Flower Carpet"

the Stables are now the Stable Cafe...

The gardens were gorgeous... and we found a great tree for a Mother-Daughter photo session.

Birthday Girl!

We ran out of time so we didn't get to visit the Winery or River Bend Farm, the working dairy farm on the property - but we did stop for photos by the sunflower field, where we had an impromptu prayer & worship time as the sun set behind the mountains!


Eve said...

The Biltmore House is beautiful. My favorite is at Christmas; tons of lights, choirs singing, hot apple cider. Everyone should see it at least once!

GrammaJelly said...