Recently, I spent a weekend exploring the Biltmore Estate in picturesque Asheville, North Carolina. It was stunning — fascinating patterns, textures and colors absolutely everywhere. I highly recommend this experience as a vacation with family or friends! Learning the estate’s rich history and exploring the expansive grounds both make for a weekend filled with fun.
I knew stormy weather was in the forecast, but still wanted to keep my look cheerful. It was also pretty warm and I was planning to spend the majority of my time outside. So I packed a Pomegranate bag with our light resortwear and a fun umbrella and hit the road.
The Biltmore Experience
The first day there, I took the evening rooftop tour. If you are wary of heights, I warn you there are some steep steps during this experience. Despite my own fears, I considered it worth it to take in the incredible views of the grounds. It also gives you an up-close glimpse at much of the fine craftsmanship that went into every single detail of the home. To think construction began in 1889… when nearly every task was still completed by hand. The copper work is so intricate, and the stone details that include grumpy gargoyles and the chimneys covered in fleur de lis, are all so inspiring.
I was lucky enough to visit while they were displaying the first art exhibit in the history of the Biltmore, the glassworks of famed artist Dale Chihuly. The pieces were scattered throughout the garden with bright pops of color and shapes around every corner. Glass blowing is an extremely difficult medium to master; I was truly floored by the talent of Chihuly.
If you follow Pomegranate, you will already know that I’m always drawn to plants and flowers. The water gardens at the Biltmore did not disappoint — they included some of the largest lily pads I’ve ever seen!
Finding Inspiration in Your Surroundings
This is how I draw inspiration from my surroundings. A lot of artists don’t produce work because they can’t envision something meaningful to paint or draw. I try to paint something every day to keep my creative juices flowing and I’ve found that this keeps new ideas flooding in all the time. When I don’t pick up my paints for a few days, I notice it’s more of a struggle to invent new patterns when I sit back down to brainstorm again.
I know that painting something new every day also presents a challenge, which is why I typically choose to pick something simple to start with. At the Biltmore, I found the most inspiration in the beautiful water gardens, so when I returned to the hotel I painted something quick and fun. Sometimes I paint things that I really love, sometimes I paint things I’ll probably throw away. But that’s the essence of imagination — perfection should exist only in your mind.
I hope you get a chance to visit the extraordinary Biltmore Estate and that you can find inspiration wherever you are. I personally can’t wait to get home and set a Vanderbilt-inspired tabletop… do florists sell lily pads?!