I made a return trip to the Biltmore House yesterday, thanks to my kind blog friend who sent me some free passes. It was a glorious, blue-skied, mild day and enough spring bulbs and flowering trees were blooming to make it a most desirable place to be.
Evidently others felt the same. I was kinda unprepared for the crowds and the lines . . .
And I quickly decided to forego the tour of the interior (which I've seen many times over the years) in favor of enjoying the exterior.
And a fairly spectacular exterior it is . . . reminiscent (and in some parts copied from) the chateaux of the Loire Valley.
It's pretty amazing -- and incredibly well maintained . . .
Such amazing detail everywhere . . .
And lots of decorative statuary, including a pair of winsome sphinxes atop the entry gates who seem to be wondering if this pose makes their butts look big.
Two charming lions on the front terrace seem to be worrying -- maybe they wonder where all those people came from.
A gargoyle is above it all . . .
Swan-necked dragonettes . . .
At one side of the house a pergola is twined with massive wisteria vines . . .
More statuary just over the wall . . . I think he's ignoring us.
Walks through the garden were beautiful and busy . . .
And most visitors seemed to be as cheerful as this cherub . . .
Or this frolicsome pair (of statues) though the visitors kept their clothes on . . .
This fella and his dog caught my eye . . .
A nice looking dog except for the weird teeth.
I wasn't the only one taking pictures of statues . . .
Most people seemed to mainly take pictures of each other.
The tracery of shadows added to the decorative treatment above the window . . .
Beautiful work everywhere.
Architectural detail, shadows, and reflections --
an embarrassment of riches!
At last I'd had my Biltmore fix and was ready to head home . .
On the way out, I paused to get a shot of the walled garden I visited a few weeks ago -- now bright with daffodils and pansies -- and a group of young women picnicking on the grass. What a fine way to spend a gorgeous day!