It rained for the first three days of our honeymoon. In fact, those days coincided with the number of days it took for my voice to come back after I lost it during the wedding weekend. John was a real trooper the whole time; he never complained, and he held up more than his end of the conversation.
We started our second day at Tupelo Honey Cafe, where they have breakfast all day and a special drink menu called The Pickled Okra. I had the first of many servings of grits (among other things), while John had a very southern breakfast: fried chicken and biscuits with gravy, and a fried egg on top (the waitress talked him into that last bit). He could have wept for how much he loved that meal.
We spent most of the rest of the day at the Biltmore Estate. The two-hour-long audio tour was the perfect activity since I couldn't speak, and we avoided some of the worst weather while we were inside.
It's hard to adequately describe the scope of the Biltmore. I've never seen anything quite so large and opulent, except, maybe, the Louvre. Every room is filled with original art work, Albrecht Dürer prints, sculpture, tapestries from the early Renaissance, etc. As Kira has said, the price of the ticket is staggering at first. But the whole place is a museum, from the wall paper and furnishings to the actual works of art housed there. It was interesting to tour it after seeing the recent Great Gatsby film (and after reading the book this spring for the first time). Not that the periods are the same - the Biltmore is from the 19th century. But the grandeur reminded me of that book. The indoor swimming pool with tile designed by the same person who designed the New York City subway system. The grounds, carefully constructed (by the man who designed Central Park) to seem naturally idyllic. The wealth of the place was overwhelming.
Photography is forbidden inside the house. After we finished our tour, John pulled a surprise peanut butter cup out of his pocket and we had a chocolate break. Then we set off to see what we could of the gardens before it really began to rain.
We saw some of the French garden.
And the garden house.
The garden house had designated rooms for different plants. The hot room, the cool, room, the dry room, the succulent space, and the orchid room:
I liked this one below because it looks like the two blooming orchids are riding some kind of alien animal with their arms raised. Do you see the same thing? No? Never mind then.
I wanted to spend another hour at least walking around the grounds, as the garden complex is large in itself, but the rain stopped us. We skipped most of Biltmore Village and headed back to Asheville to continue exploring. Up to this point, I had been communicating via a large pad of sticky notes. But those were hard to keep track of and my stack began to grow thin. So we went to Downtown Books and News to find a notebook.
I was frustrated from having to write down everything I wanted to say. But in a way, I'm glad I have a written record of some of our conversations, many of which seem like non-sequitors. And it's handy to have a notebook in your purse while on vacation. I always had a place to jot down directions and record my opinions on various beers we tried.
Our first stop for beer that day was LAB, and it's the only place I'd honestly recommend that you skip if you happen to be in town. Their pizza hit the spot, but the beer was really meh. Nothing had any flavor or life in it.
Next we headed to Asheville Brewing, one of the better places we visited. It was really pouring by that point, so I was happy to be anywhere. And we noticed that they have a special night aimed at dog owners who sit outside with their dogs with treats provided.
At that point I think I had enough of writing everything I wanted to say, and we were sort of on the fence about dinner. We ended up having a drink and small plates at Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder (where I somehow didn't take any photos, but everything was delicious), and then hit up both a taqueria and a snazzy beer bottle shop before spending the evening back at the B&B. It was nice to finally get my soaking wet Toms off for the night.