Loving the Biltmore

I’ve never lived in North Carolina, though I lived not too far away in Tennessee for several years. Yet, I’ve set two books there so far 😀 One, a historical romance and the third book in my Blood Blade Sisters series, A Bandit’s Betrayed Heart.

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And the second is my first contemporary romance writing as Kira Archer, Driving Her Crazy, which just released yesterday! 😀

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In A Bandit’s Betrayed Heart, my main character Lucy battles prejudice and danger in post Civil War North Carolina. While in Driving Her Crazy, my characters actually embark on a road trip to NYC when all planes out of North Carolina, where they both live, are grounded.

It was a lot of fun to explore this state throughout different time periods. It has a rich history and is a truly gorgeous state. It’s also home to one of my favorite places, the Biltmore Estate, (incidentally a fave location for the main character in book 3 of the Crazy Love series) 😉

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This place is so amazingly beautiful I could happily wander around its halls and grounds forever. George Vanderbilt began construction of the 250 room French chateau in 1889 and it wasn’t complete until 1896(ish). His idea was to reproduce the working estates of Europe. An actual village was built near the estate to house the employees and their families, what is now Biltmore Village. The village had everything from rental cottages to a post office, school and a church.
Edith_Stuyvesant_Dresser_VanderbiltIn the 1930’s, the Vanderbilt family opened the estate to tourists in the hopes of boosting Asheville’s economy during the Depression.

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Nowadays, the Biltmore Estate and their associated industries (including furniture, a winery, an Inn, another village and a farmyard) is one of the biggest employers in the area. And on top of all that, it is simply stunningly beautiful. Especially at Christmas time 🙂

 

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If you are ever in the Asheville area, I’d highly recommend a visit. The gorgeous estate is drenched in amazing history and is a wonderful way to spend a day…or several 😉

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Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and Goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and a knack for explaining complicated things to uncomplicated people. Michelle's non-fiction works include guides on how to write essays, term papers, literary analysis essays, and poetry. She also writes romance with a good dose of mystery and humor, historicals, and a paranormal here and there. When Michelle's not editing, reading or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. She resides in PA with her husband and two children, an insanely hyper dog, and three very spoiled cats.

12 Responses

  1. nmayer2015

    The Atlanta chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) went to Biltmore in December 2000. Our excuse for the excursion was that the librarian would meet with us and show us the Jane Austen books in the library. The library was beautiful but we couldn’t enter. The librarian showed us the books in a small adjoining room. She wore white gloves. The editions were those popular at that time with the beautiful illustrations. All the books were bound in the same bindings as was the practice in libraries in Jane Austen’s day. Though the estate was light years away from Jane Austen in one sense, it is close in another sense. many of the rooms were as they would have been at Pemberley.
    I did learn some interesting things about the book trade from the librarian especially what it meant when a book was advertised as being sold “in boards.” Later I managed to purchase two books of Byron’s poems in boards– art board or some such substance covered with a light fabric. These were meant to be taken home and bound in the owners colors or to the owner’s taste. They were also ways for some to buy books less expensively and then cover with fabric themselves. We celebrated Jane Austen’s birthday there with a cake and all. People at the next table asked who was Jane Austen. They didn’t recognize the name until one membered mentioned Pride and Prejudice . They hadn’t read the book but had seen the movie. Still, I know they thought we were crazy celebrating someone’s 225th birthday.

    • what a fun experience!! And an amazing location to have it in 😀 Funny they didn’t recognize the name, though I guess if you aren’t enamored of books you might not know her. Good they’ve seen the movie at least…a little exposure is better than none! 😀

  2. ginaconkle2013

    Hey Michelle,
    Did you know French-style chateaus are my catnip? (just like the really old castles). Since I started Chateau de Gudanes, I love this kind of stuff. How fun to find something right here in the US. Congratulations on your new book release!
    Gina

    • Oooo I’ve been stalking that chateau also! How amazing would it be to be able to do something like that. And live in it! 😀

  3. ginaconkle2013

    I meant “…started following Chateau De Gudanes…” Typing too fast!

  4. Biltmore has been on my list for a while now, and now I’m going to absolutely insist we go…maybe this December. 🙂 And I’ll tell my husband “Because Michelle…” LOL. I really can’t wait to go…oh, and by the way, CONGRATS ON THAT AMAZING NEW RELEASE. The book is fantastic. You nailed it!

    • LOL “Because Michelle said so” is ALWAYS a great excuse 😉 And thank you! Right back atcha 😀 LOVE LOVE LOVE your new book!!

  5. Barbara Monajem

    I visited Biltmore House years ago. All I really remember is some peacocks on the lawn!! 🙂

    • I also have a thing for peacocks. These things are probably not unrelated LOL Those gorgeous birds on the lawn of the beautiful gardens of that incredible building….*happy sigh* That’s a whole lot of inspiring beauty 🙂

  6. Alyssa Alexander

    The Biltmore is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit! A long, long time ago, I watched an episode of America’s Castles (anyone remember that show? Is it still on?) and the Biltmore was featured. I remember thinking if I ever get down that way, I need to check it out!

  7. I love the Biltmore! My favorite was the library, but a close second was the room where guests just painted on the walls. All I could think about was the level of debauchery one could have with all that money!