Mosquitoes, Hippies and the Biltmore

It is my strong belief that the street address of a house should match up to the actual street the house is located on but I guess this is not always the case in Asheville. After a half hour of fruitless looking and after the exchange of several snappish and, hardly clever at all, comments, we finally located our very well hidden residence behind a large cloud of mosquitoes. By this point, all Eva and I wanted to do was kick back and have dinner so I ventured out to the local Whole Foods. There were two within an easy drive so off I went for provisions. This was a "do the hokey pokey" step into the past. The smell of patchouli permeated the market as aging hippy women in their long flowing skirts shopped at one of the most poorly stocked and maintained Whole Foods that I have ever been in. I picked up some chicken at the butcher counter and asked the man behind the counter, who had a nicely tattooed head of hair on his bald scalp, if the the mosquitoes ever went away. "Hey man, that's just Asheville... They come in the spring and don't leave until winter." Scratch Asheville from my retirement destination list.

Nice atrium ...

The next morning we gathered the dogs up and headed off to the Biltmore. The Biltmore was constructed by a grandson of the industrialist tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1895. (Apparently the Vanderbilt trust fund was pretty much dissipated by the time Gloria Vanderbilt came on to the scene and her son, Anderson Cooper, will not be inheriting any of the Vanderbilt fortune.)

It is well worth a visit even at the outrageous price of $65 per ticket (I got the senior discount and only had to pay $58 although, embarrassingly, I forgot my age for a brief second while at the ticket booth (which in itself might have been sufficient proof of my age)).

I'm not normally a big fan of mansion tours but this place was spectacular, exceeding the opulence of most if not all the estates of royalty I visited in Europe. The grounds are dog friendly and Eva and I toured the mansion separately, while the other sat with the dogs. Once again, not a dull moment waiting, as the dogs reeled in person after person after person for a few moments of pleasant conversation. It seemed as if the line for the dogs rivaled the line to get into the mansion.

To imagine that someone actually lived here was stunning but would I trade places with him? On the one hand, this guy had money out the wazoo, servants, horses, a bowling alley in his house and an indoor swimming pool (now empty) as well.

On the other hand, I have dental implants and Viagra. Advantage ME!!!

After a somewhat incomplete tour (a full tour would have taken more time than we could spare) we headed to the Biltmore village where we had a nice Keto lunch of shrimp and Burata cheese.

We didn't eat the bread (much) ...

The next morning we rose early and began the final leg of the journey to Atlantic Beach.

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