Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

Biltmore Estate – My Secret Walk Part 4

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America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted created America’s first managed forests that surround the Biltmore Estate. Good old “Freddie” was quite the Renaissance man. When he was not designing landscapes, he was an American journalist, social critic, and public administrator. He is also well known for designing Central Park in New York City. From what I understand, the land that surrounded the Biltmore Estate was barren. Rolling hills but very few trees. All that changed when thousands of trees were brought onsite and planted, under the direction of Olmsted. Over the years the trees and foliage have settled in, creating the beauty and elegance surrounding the Estate. If you visit in the spring, it will be even more enchanting. It’s hard to stand anywhere without getting a cherry blossom in your photo.

You’ll see this scenery from the balcony of the Estate and from the bus window as it takes you up to the Estate. But the best way to see this view is on the Photo Girl Secret Walk. In my last blog highlighting this walk, we were following the path along the river which bends and curves, protected by huge trees that extend their branches out over the water’s edge. After a bit you’ll see a large pond with plump ducks resting on the water’s edge. Most could do with a little cardio via a strenuous paddle around the pond, but instead they seemed to be content, dozing the day away. (I even ran at a few of them and couldn’t get them to move.)

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Once you pass the pond, the trail becomes a narrow path that takes you through ancient gates held up by sturdy vines loaded with flowers. Then everything opens up and you can see the Estate in front of you! I’ll include these images in my next blog. Yet again, work beacons.

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Castles and Spooks (Part 3)

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At the end of Part 2 we were just leaving Sleepy Hollow and heading to Tarrytown, NY (which is right the town right next door.) You can bounce back and forth between these two towns when doing your tours. Also, make sure you walk through downtown Tarrytown. There are a lot of quaint shops and great restaurants. (Many Zagat rated) One of the residents of Tarrytown was Washington Irving who wrote the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Before I went on this trip, I ran out and got the book from the library. In the first paragraph of the story is description of this area that I fell in love with.

“Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility.”

Our day in this beautiful area will begin with breakfast at the Castle on the Hudson

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