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Today we visited the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.  Built in the late 1800s by the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the steamship and railroad tycoon, the house was officially opened one hundred twenty seven years ago on Christmas Eve, 1895.

Today, the inside of the 250+ room mansion halls are decked in boughs of holly — miles of red-ribbon festooned garlands, hundreds of red bows and poinsettia, and dozens of truly breathtaking Christmas trees. Outside the weather was in marked contrast to the warm glow indoors with drizzly grey skies and raw temperatures.

That is, until we left the estate late in the day.  We drove the curving three-mile road that winds its way off the Biltmore estate at about the time the skies began to clear. The clouds parted, revealing a late afternoon winter sun.  Dramatic.  These photos were taken as we made our way out.

Winter Sunset at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC (photo by TL King)

Winter Sunset at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC (photo by TL King)

The Bridge over Bass Pond at Sunset, Biltmore House Estate. Asheville, NC

Finally the sun made an appearance after a day of overcast and drizzle. The setting sun lit the trees making them appear to glow against the deep grey skies hovering over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bridge over Bass Pond at Sunset, Biltmore House Estate. Asheville, NC  (photo by Andrea Shea King)

Rounding a corner, the setting sun was reflected on the pavement still wet from the day's rain.  Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. (Photo by Andrea Shea King)

Rounding a corner, the setting sun’s reflection on the pavement still wet from the day’s rain. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. (Photo by Andrea Shea King)

A rainbow in the sky ahead was the perfect accompaniment to the brilliant gold of the fields before us. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC (Photo by Andrea Shea King)

A rainbow in the sky ahead above the brilliant gold fields glowing in the sunlight. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC (Photo by Andrea Shea King)

And finally this view of the Biltmore House through the trees. (Photo by Andrea Shea King)

And finally this view of the Biltmore House through the trees under still overcast skies. The grounds were landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead, the “Father of American Landscape Architecture”, who designed New York’s Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, and many other locales.  (Photo by Andrea Shea King)

Decorated for Christmas. The Biltmore House. (Photo by Biltmore House)

Decorated for Christmas. The Biltmore House. (Photo by Biltmore House)

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