Asheville is such a beautiful and picturesque community. It’s where locals and natives meet Florida transplants and retirees and the occasional Cecil, Qualley, Haynes or famous criminal defense attorney. I spent 4 wonderful years of my life in this majestic mountain town, living on a farm, raising chickens, growing vegetables, learning to fire weapons, buying and renovating a house in Shiloh, owning Biltmore Pet Sitting, working at Cottage Walk in Biltmore Village, decorating Biltmore Village for the Holidays and Chairperson of the Dickens Festival, Biltmore Village.
A friend, from England, came up to visit me for a few days on the 40 acre farm where I was living and designing the house of my dreams. David is a Master Saddler, a brilliant artisan that works his fine tuned leather craft magic of making saddles and their counterparts on all the Equestrian notables up and down the East Coast, and to Manchester and back. He asked me if I wanted to go to a job with him at Biltmore. Well, of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I followed him in the trusty Volvo wagon up and down the rolling hills of Leicester, finally reaching Hendersonville Road. And then an odd road, not marked or seen by the average roadster we quickly exited onto, and again we were driving through fields and forests that seemed like the road to nowhere. And then things started to look familiar. I felt like I was on the movie set for “Hannibal,” the film. And all of a sudden, there I was, Biltmore Stables. I met several horses, there, including Charlie and Cerise, saw the most beautiful black Friesian horses about 8 feet in stature with their manes gracefully touching the velvety, glistening dew touched leaves on the ground, and I met the Stable Manager. Let’s just call her Ginger. Nicest lady ever, and she gave me a Seasons pass for a year, to this privately owned castle in the sky. What a treasure that pass turned out to be. I’d leave work in Biltmore Village, borrow Debbie’s Range Rover, pick up Baron, my St. Bernard, and hit the Estate. I spent so many afternoons there, driving around, walking Baron, spending the occasional two hours or so at the Winery, sampling all the wonderful wines there. The champagne is the BEST!
And that house…the architecture is totally unique and rich with the culture and nuances and period pieces of the day. I spent hours there every week for a year, and began to study each and every facet of the walls and gardens, the fabulous Greenhouse, the lay out of the land, the directional views and proximity of the house in comparison to I-40 and the Farmer’s Market. I soaked up every moment of sun kissed sky and detail and plant and tree and path that I could. What a vast and rich cornucopia of beauty and history…The Biltmore Estate.
Note***All photographs copyrighted by Pamela C Armstrong