"" Writer's Wanderings: Biltmore--Lunch in a Stable?

Monday, January 08, 2024

Biltmore--Lunch in a Stable?

After two hours exploring the Biltmore mansion, it was definitely time to eat. Still cold outside, we decided against the outdoor cafe even if it was tented and had some heat lamps. There were quite a few people milling around inside the stables and sitting on the few benches that were there apparently waiting for the call that their table was ready. 

We thought we might have to give up on the notion of eating inside but the thought of actually eating in one of the stalls of the stable was irresistible. Bob put in our names and the hostess took our phone number and said it would be about a half hour wait. Not too bad even if my tummy did grumble a bit.

The wait was worth it. We actually sat in one of the horse stalls and split a chicken salad sandwich with fries and onion rings. Pictures on the wall showed Edith and her daughter, Cornelia, in riding gear and various other pictures related to the horses. Edith was quite an equestrian and could often be seen racing across the fields of the estate.

Next on our agenda was to explore the Antler Hill Village that is a collection of shops, cafes, and restaurants. The winery is also there and that is where we started. I expected to see a bit more but the "tour" was a walk through a stone walled corridor that was full of sparkling little white lights and a few exhibits of wine barrels and pictures and some explanation of the wine making process. 

Our ticket included a wine tasting but the line for the tasting was wound all around the store. Coffee was more to our liking at that moment so we headed off to find some. All of the little cafes were crowded and waits for just a cup of coffee seemed a bit much especially since there was no place warm to wait and little tiny specks of snow were swirling a bit in the breeze. 

Back in the car with the seat warmers on (gotta love that extra) we started around the parking lot and up the hill. As we were passing the hotel and approaching the inn, Bob said he thought we'd stop at the inn. "Must be a coffee shop in there, right?"

After passing up the valet parking, we found the self park lot and hustled into the lobby of the inn. It was lovely but not nearly as impressive when compared to the Grand Hotel at Mackinac in Michigan. We found a lounge at one end of the main foyer which was the only offering besides the main dining room and asked if we could get a cup of coffee. We were directed to the bar which only had four seats and two small tables. All but two seats at the bar were full unless you wanted to sit outside on the porch. Ah, nope.

The poor bartender had her hands full filling orders that were going out into the lounge area as well as the dining room, I think. She was so busy that she was running out of glasses and had no one there to help her clean up. I felt bad when I realized she had to run to the dining room to get our coffee. It was good though even without the little pastries we'd also ordered and never received. As we sipped, we realized that it was busy because those arriving were waiting there for their rooms to be ready.

Coffee urge satisfied, we decided it was too cold to be walking around and we had not prepared for it so we started out to finish the loop and exit the estate. Our tickets were for two day entry to the estate grounds and we had planned to visit the conservatory and gardens on the next day since our next stretch of driving was not too long to reach Dobson, NC.

After some time to rest, we found our way to the place where the Ohio State Alumni watched the football games. It was another bar night and this time there was not a good alternative to bar food so we were in for some nice fried food. The group was friendly and ready to cheer on the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes were obviously not ready to play. At halftime, between the score and the median age of the group, everyone got up and said goodbye. Okay with us. We were tired and watching the rest of the game in bed was just fine, well except for the score. As the Cleveland sports fans say, "There's always next year."

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