Valentine’s Day on The Biltmore Estate
Arriving early before the crowds was the right move on this cold Valentine’s Day. The air was a crisp 30 degrees, and I only saw one car as I cruised the winding road up to the house, and no cars as I passed the sleeping gardens and Bass Lake on my way down to the French Broad River. I’ve never experienced this solitude before at North Carolina’s most popular attraction. The Sun was still low in the eastern sky, and the glow coming from America’s largest home was surreal.
Any other time, cars, buses, and lines of people waiting to enter the mansion would obscure the front door, but no this morning.
The usually colorful formal gardens lie dormant as they await the spring thaw… Inside the Conservatory, however, orchids, palms, and other tropical and sub-tropical plants are flourishing.
Frederick Law Olmstead designed Bass Lake for fishing and contemplation. A total lack of wind made for a perfect reflection.
The rock dam that created Bass Lake features a spillway and waterfall, with a viewing walkway at the top. The rocky creek below flows into the large French Broad River, below. a mile to the west.
One of many stone bridges originally built for horse drawn carriages can now accommodate motor vehicles if they drive slowly and very carefully.
One of the most picturesque places over the stone bridges is the Fly Fishing Reflection Pond next to the river. Canada Geese have adopted it as their own.
An early morning visit to the rolling hills, lakes, and forests of this magnificent Asheville treasure is the perfect way to start your Valentine’s Day, or most any other day in the dead of winter.