A few of my girlfriends and I took an overnight road trip to Asheville, NC a few weeks ago for something very, very special. The Biltmore Estate is having a special presentation through May 25. They are featuring costumes worn by the Downton Abbey actors/characters throughout the mansion. The Biltmore was at its peak during the same period of time that Downton Abbey takes place which is one of the reasons for the exhibit’s popularity. And if that wasn’t enough, visitors also were able to enjoy the flowers in the spring garden.
As with everything they do, the Biltmore displayed the costumes beautifully. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos inside so that means I don’t get to show them to you. However, just imagine you can see them as I tell you how they were displayed: Costumes were on display throughout the rooms in the house, and they selected clothes for each room that were somewhat appropriate for that space. For instance, one of Matthew’s suits was on display in the billards room. And a coat edged in red flowers that Cora wore to Lady Mary’s wedding was displayed in a room that had red flowers on a Swedish fireplace mantel. They also color-coordinated dresses to the rooms they were in. They had a framed picture of each outfit being worn by the actor in the show, and they gave some history about it. For instance, Cora’s coat that I mentioned above was made from a vintage tablecloth, and one dress was inspired by a vintage piece of lace. Fans of Downton Abbey know how much thought and work they put into the details. My only disappointment was that Lady Mary’s wedding dress wasn’t on view. When I first saw it in the show, it literally took my breath away.
The Biltmore was absolutely packed with visitors. Not only were people there to see the costumes, but they were also there to see the spring gardens. And to top it off, it was in the middle of spring break for many students. We snaked our way through the mansion. Everyone was respectful and not pushy. I think being in such elegant surroundings put us all on our best behavior.
As always, my favorite part of the Biltmore tour was the servants’ quarters downstairs. They displayed costumes from the Downton staff as well. It was a thrill to see Mrs. Patmore’s cooking uniform and Daisy’s, too. Of course, Carson was represented.
After we toured the house, we had lunch in the Stables restaurant. The food was good, and the service was very good. Then we made our way to the garden.
The green houses were also pure perfection.
If you are within driving distance, I highly recommend that you take a road trip to see them. Also, be sure to have a meal at the Grove Park Inn. We ate lunch there the day we arrived. Lucky for us, the weather was warm enough so that we could sit in the outside dining area. The service, food, (and bloody Marys) were all wonderful.
This is not an ad. We just wanted to make you aware of this exceptional exhibit. Thanks so much for stopping in.