Baby Biltmore

Winston Salem, North Carolina
September 27, 2017 9:28am CST
The Biltmore Estate is a well-known tourist attraction in Asheville, NC. It was built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the era of big estates during the late 19th century. It has been on our list of places to visit ever since we moved here, but at 3 hours away and with an entry fee of $50 or more per person it hasn’t ever made the top of our list. It still hasn’t made it to the top, but yesterday my daughter and I took a couple of hours to visit Reynolda House a smaller estate within the city limits of Winston Salem. Built by RJ Reynolds around the turn of the century it was built on ideals similar to Biltmore but on a much less lavish scale. The estate included a model farm, a recreational lake, a golf course and even a small village for household staff and estate employees complete with its own church and schools. The bungalow style mansion has been turned into an art museum and has been yet another item on our to-visit list that has never quite made it to the top because of the entry charges. At $18 the cost isn’t nearly as prohibitive at the entry charge to the Biltmore, but for a family living on a budget it still seemed a bit exorbitant when there are so many free things to do in the area. My older daughter, the Artist, needed to visit the museum for one of her college classes and was able to enter for free with her student ID. Thanks to my younger daughter’s vigilance I was aware that our county library system was in the process of adding Reynolda House Museum passes to the list of things available for checkout. Monday morning, I was at the library when the doors opened and was able to be the first library patron to check one of those passes out from our local library branch and yesterday the Artist and I spent a pleasant couple of hours exploring the historic mansion and viewing the artwork. It wasn’t our most enjoyable art museum visit. My daughter had to complete what was essentially a very detailed scavenger hunt that sucked much of the joy of visiting a museum out of the experience for us. But we now know that the museum and the attached estate are well worth the time and effort of visiting, so we will be back. Once again I am grateful for the fabulous free resources that our local library provides. Do you actively use your local library, or are you one of the many people who seem to think libraries are obsolete and a waste of tax dollars?
13 people like this
13 responses
• United States
27 Sep
I have always been a library person, but when we moved to Florida the hours were so odd, every day different I got out of the habit of going. Then when my husband passed away I was looking for things to occupy my time and wandered in and found that they had many activities for adults, classes, lectures and even socials. I loved my Florida library.
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
Some library systems are pretty fantastic!
2 people like this
• United States
27 Sep
@Platespinner Most libraries seem to have more activities for children (which is good) and forget about the adults. I especially loved the Wednesday afternoon Social. They had nice refreshments and so many women came and I made many friends.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
@Jeanniemaries Our library has significantly more adult activities than children's activities.
@fishtiger58 (30572)
• Momence, Illinois
28 Sep
I am stuck on that 50 dollar fee, are they nuts, I have never heard of such a high entrance fee to a tourist attraction like that. I wonder what their yearly visitor count is.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
28 Sep
That's the "discount" admission. Regular admission bought at the gate during the summer is $75 a person. Absolutely unreal. They average well over a million visitors every year.
1 person likes this
@fishtiger58 (30572)
• Momence, Illinois
2 Oct
@Platespinner For 75 bucks that better include a Filet Migon dinner and a really cool sweatshirt lol. Totally insane price.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
2 Oct
@fishtiger58 that's my thought as well!
1 person likes this
@m_audrey6788 (13917)
• Germany
27 Sep
Wow! What a nice place. I don´t know for now if there is something like that near my place but I`m going to find that out next year when my school starts
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
Where you are in Germany, but that is a country rich in history, with lots of places to visit. My son currently lives in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria.
1 person likes this
• Germany
28 Sep
@Platespinner ..I`m not an outgoing person
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
1 Oct
@m_audrey6788 I'm an introvert and would be quite happy to never talk to people...but I LOVE history and visiting interesting places.
1 person likes this
• Canada
27 Sep
I haven't taken advantage of our library's benefits and resources. Though I have actually entered the building more regularly in the past few weeks.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
Entering the building is a good place to start!
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Sep
@Platespinner it sure is. And straying from the DVD racks would be a good idea too!
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
1 Oct
@Morethanamom I rarely browse the shelves, but I volunteer 3 1/2 hours a week at the moment, so I frequently get first dibs on new items.
• Midland, Michigan
28 Sep
Although I don't believe our local library is a waste of time, I've not spent as much time there in recent years since taking over the running of our business like I did some years back. I hope to spend more time there again once I can retreat from working so much, but that won't be for another year or two. My sisters spent some hours visiting a similar museum, but I think it was located in Virginia. That one has a winery on or near the museum too. It too is pretty expensive to visit. I looked over some pamphlets that they brought home with them, although I don't remember the name of it.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
1 Oct
One of these days I'll get a real job and not have time to spend at the library myself .
1 person likes this
@garymarsh6 (12520)
• United Kingdom
27 Sep
I visited Biltmore about 10 years ago. It is a beautiful place. It is well worth a visit in my humble opinion. I am shocked to see how expensive it is to visit these days. The visit will take a whole day if you are going to go around the grounds too. It is such a shame that these wonderful buildings are getting out of reach of ordinary people. It is the same for the theatre in London. Prices are a joke exceeding over £100 to sit for two or three hours in very uncomfortable seats. I vowed not to go anymore as I can't see the point in paying for the privilege of being uncomfortable for a long time. I do hope one day you do get to see it. It might be worth looking at the off season prices when there are less tourists visiting. Good luck!
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
$50 is the offseason discount price. During the height of summer, tickets are $75. We would really like to visit, but there are so many things to do in the Asheville area that don't cost anything that it will probably be a while before we visit Biltmore.
@Corbin5 (88434)
• United States
27 Sep
That is wonderful that your library has free resources. I appreciate all those free resources our library offers too.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
I get a LOT of mileage out of our library!
1 person likes this
@kepweng (7337)
27 Sep
the library in our town is free to use but if someone keep talking while in library they must pay a fee
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
Libraries are supposed to be quiet patrons who are reading or studying aren't disturbed. You can always go outside to talk.
@Juliaacv (25749)
• Canada
27 Sep
We do not use our local library, but we just are not settled in enough here. In time I think that we will.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
When we first moved to NC checking out the library system was one of the first things we did. At the time, though, I had four homeschool students ranging from elementary through high school and we've always depended on libraries to supplement our studies.
1 person likes this
@shaggin (32420)
• United States
27 Sep
I love libraries we visit many throughout the summer! The scavenger hunt sounds fun to me! There is a corn maze about a half hour from us and there is a scavenger hunt inside it. It's $7 per person. I've never been to one but am thinking if taking my kids soon. I would never pay $50 to tour a place that is a ridiculous price to ask for admission!
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
I am not a fan of the scavenger hunts that museums use as a way to engage their younger visitors. Unfortunately I think it has a tendency to backfire. I've been in a few museums where small groups of schools students were hurrying through the museum to find all of the items on their list so they could be done. I (and my children as well) prefer to savour museums at my own pace. We spent so much time yesterday trying to complete the school assignment that we didn't really get a chance to actually enjoy either the house or the artwork.
1 person likes this
@shaggin (32420)
• United States
29 Sep
@Platespinner That is true they will rush to complete the scavenger hunt instead of taking there time and appreciating all the museum has to offer.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
2 Oct
@shaggin I've been about run off my feet before by day camp groups practically racing through the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.
1 person likes this
@andriaperry (38393)
• United States
27 Sep
I use the library and always have, Although I buy books and get them as gifts I read a lot, I use the fax service from time to time and the computer every once and a blue moon, sometimes in another state as a guest.
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
I went for a stretch the year we moved to NC where I had valid library cards for 4 different library systems. Montgomery, AL, Forsyth County NC, Guilford County NC and a library in Ontario Canada. I'm down to half that number, plus my kids now all carry their own library cards so I don't have to keep up with them (at one point I had at least 12 library cards in my purse ).
@JohnRoberts (44406)
• Los Angeles, California
27 Sep
I am a firm supporter of libraries. $50 for a house tour? That's the most expensive I've heard of.
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
That's actually the discount rate, the regular walk-in rate during the summer is $75.
1 person likes this
@Christinb (407)
27 Sep
Our local library is free too
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
27 Sep
Most public libraries are. Most also provide a lot of free services that many people don't know about.