Downton Abbey meets The Biltmore Estates – This is a trip I will never forget!!
What a wonderful event!! Dressing Downton at The Biltmore Estates, in Asheville, North Carolina. 40 costumes from the PBS show Downton Abbey were on display throughout the Vanderbilt home. The eye candy was incredible.
I love costumes, I love silk, beading, lace, tapestries, opulent furnishings and this trip had it all. The only negatives, you cannot take pictures while inside the house, and I couldn’t get up close enough to touch and really see all the details of the magnificient costumes. Other than that it was Stupendous!
The Biltmore was the home of George and Edith Vanderbilt built in the late 1880’s and it is open to the public for tours. To learn more about this 250 room Chateau check out their website, or better yet, go for a visit, it is definitely worth it.
I have always wanted to visit the Biltmore, and being able to see the Downton Abbey costumes made it happen. I wish I could show you everything I saw but I can’t. I did find on the internet a couple pictures of the actual displays. I personally am a rule follower so I did not sneak any pictures, all though I really, really wanted to. Following, there are detailed pictures of two dresses I was allowed to photograph. I hope you enjoy my journey.
One week before leaving I contacted the Biltmore and made reservations for our audio tour of the home, and hotel reservations. We did not stay on the estate, but you can still purchase packages that include hotel accommodations through the estate. It was very easy to do, they were very nice, friendly willing to help. I highly recommend getting reservations for the estate tour, even if you don’t do the audio tour, because if they are really busy you may not be able to get in to see the house. The audio tour was worth the extra $10 because you get to hear about the history of the room and they explain details of the rooms you might have missed on your own. It takes about two hours to view the home. Not including some of the other tours they offer.
My best friend, Michelle and I started our two day excursion by taking my husband’s brand new Corvette Z06 as our transportation for our journey. Driving a 7 speed, 650 Horsepower sports car was quite an adventure on its own. We had a blast!!
Parking is free, there are guides around to ask questions, so the man in the parking lot explained three different ways to get to the house. One being a shuttle bus, we chose to walk a beautiful path that brought us to this overpass where we could take pictures of the estate. I am glad we took the path.
We had to take one more picture for her daughter, who is a Delta Zeta sorority girl and they always pose with their hands under their chin, while bending their knees for different levels, so we had to do the same thing.
There were two costumes, one at the ticket office and one at a gift shop that were displayed behind plexiglass that you could take pictures of. I took several pictures of these with as many details as possible. The glare on the plexiglass hindered a few of the shots, but I am sure you will enjoy all the delicious details.
Almost all of the main character dresses were made from silk, a few were linen. The gowns had an overlay of exquisite hand beaded silk chiffon, that they called panels back in the day. The panels were very expensive, so sometimes they would cut and reuse them on other dresses throughout the years, creating a new fashion.
The menswear were made from wool, a wool blend or linen.
The servant’s were more practical being made from cotton. Daisy’s apron had little flowers all over it. The dress that truly surprised me, was Mrs. Hughes’ black dress that she wears all the time. It is made from a silk jacquard or brocade, with beautiful black flowers. It was absolutely beautiful. Silk was a fabric of status.
Here is a panoramic view from one of the porches in the back of the house, overlooking their acreage in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Go visit the Biltmore. While you are there don’t miss going to the Winery, where you can take a tour or just partake in the free wine tasting. The Legacy Museum at Antler Hill Village is about George and Edith Vanderbilt and has many family artifacts. And of course, don’t miss the beautiful gardens.
I hope you enjoyed my trip. I will never forget it.