The Biltmore: A real life Downton Abbey

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It’s not a coincidence that the Biltmore Estate is going to mount an exhibit called “Dressing Downton” in March 2015.   The owners of the Biltmore, which is still in private hands and still run by members of the Vanderbilt family, are savvy when it comes to attracting tourists to their 175,000 square foot mansion/palace/castle/chateau.

Moreover, there are parallels between Downton Abbey, a fictional place and a fictional upper class/semi royal family, and the Biltmore, which is a real place owned by a real family of U.S. type royalty–the Vanderbilts.  Americans who can’t afford a trip to England to see Highclere Castle, the fictional home of the Crawley family, can visit the Biltmore instead.  I doubt anyone who visits the Biltmore is disappointed.

Let’s face it– we are all voyeurs.  We love to read about the rich and famous, whether real or fictional.  The Vanderbilts of Biltmore have all the required elements of a great story:  wealth, love, tragedy and mystery.   Continue reading

Trip Report: Beaches Turks and Caicos

It’s paradise here where the sun meets the sea
There’s nothing to fear and so much to be
But soon I must go, say goodbye to it all
That homeland of mine is beginning to call
Return to Paradise, (c) 1978 Big Pig Music

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The Way Way Back

If you get the chance to see The Way Way Back, see it.  It’s a fun movie.  It’s notable to me because Steve Carell plays the villain.  He has the same charming demeanor, but underneath he’s a jerk.  He was way too good at it.   Creepy, yet adorable at the same time.  Not many guys can pass this off.  Continue reading