Wed, May 23: Depart for the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Check in to the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate located right on the estate property. Enjoy dinner at the Inn. (Meal: Dinner)
Thu, May 24: The day is dedicated to discovering the delights of the estate. Visit the magnificent Biltmore House at your own pace with an audio guide that leads you room-by-room, sharing stories of Biltmore’s former residents and employees plus highlights of the homes art and architecture. Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring the estate grounds including the acres of ever-changing blossoms in the historic gardens designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. During a limited-engagement exhibition you will see breathtaking large-scale glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly placed throughout the Biltmore’s artfully designed landscapes. The exhibition takes on an entirely new dimension at night when the graceful forms of these spectacular pieces are dramatically illuminated. The sunset over the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, live music in the gardens, and a wine bar make the evening experience all the more enchanting. (B)
Fri, May 25: Depart for the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee. Tour the beautiful Greek-Revival mansion, which was commissioned by John Harding in 1845. Explore the South’s largest smoke house and the gardens, then discover the roots of Southern food classics with a cooking experience in the original plantation kitchen. Check in to your atrium-view room at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, a floral wonderland in its own right with nine acres of indoor gardens, cascading waterfalls and an indoor river with a Delta flatboat. Enjoy your evening at leisure exploring the vast grounds and numerous shopping, entertainment and dining options. (B)
Sat, May 26: Visit Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, an extraordinary 1930s estate with a Georgian mansion and 55 acres of cultivated gardens and expansive vistas. Enjoy a stroll through 12 distinct gardens and delight in a tour of the Cheek Mansion, now the Museum of Art, for a look at the lifestyle of the American Country Place Era. Depart for Indianapolis, stopping at Fire Studio to learn about artistic glasswork and watch as artists mold 2125˚ hot liquid glass using a process requiring a creative mind, dexterous handwork and stamina. Arrive home in evening. (B,L)
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Conference Center, Nashville, Tennessee
The Gaylord Opryland boasts stylish and contemporary restaurants along with newly renovated and freshly redesigned lobbies and guest rooms. Explore nine acres of indoor gardens and waterways, upscale shopping and electrifying entertainment. Highlights: in-room mini-refrigerator and coffee maker • high-speed and Wi-Fi Internet access • 11 restaurants • five bar/lounges • coffee house • 24/hour room service • fitness center • two outdoor pools • indoor pool (in spa) • sauna • jogging/fitness trail • Relâche Spa & Salon • on-site shops and restaurants • activities desk.
Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
Experience life as a Vanderbilt guest at the premier accommodations on Biltmore’s 8,000-acre estate. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Inn has some of the same details, such as walnut floors and oak moldings from trees harvested on the property that make the family’s estate a national treasure. Flowery guest room furnishings are inspired by 19th-century English and French manor houses. Highlights: elegant guestrooms • custom robes and slippers • complimentary high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi access • restaurant • two bar/lounges • 24-hour room service • fitness center • spa • library • complimentary shoe shine • complimentary estate shuttle.