Thursday, April 16, 2009

Biltmore Estate

We had a great field trip this week. It was Homeschool Day at the Biltmore Estate. The Estate does a great job of making this day fun, affordable and educational for homeschool families. I highly recommend it should you ever have the chance to go. They do Homeschool Day in the spring and also in the fall, with a different theme each time. The theme this time was how the Biltmore uses science and math in the Estate's everyday life. We started off the morning at the education booths. The kids learned about erosion, forestry, orienteering, birds of prey, quilting, butter making, honeybees, and water power. They were given thick workbooks with loads of info and things to do at home, based on what they learned today. We will have fun with the workbooks over the coming days. 

Tom Sawyer loved quilt planning. He could have stayed at that display for a long time.

The kids got to make their own compass. We didn't get too lost while we tried to find the proper coordinates. LOL! 

Churning butter is always fun for a little while. We were surprised to learn that old-fashioned churning took about 5 hours. Yikes!

When we were done with the booths, we moved onto a picnic lunch and the barn animals. One of the cool things about Biltmore is that it has always strived to be a fully sustainable Estate. To this day, they are fully private and receive no federal funding. (Some members of the Vanderbilt family still live in a closed-off part of the home.) The kids loved playing with all of the baby animals.

After the barn, we headed for the house. The kids couldn't imagine how big the house was going to be. They were amazed when it came into view.

To my relief, the children behaved well in the house. We saw 55 of the rooms in Biltmore. There are many more rooms that are not open for viewing! The kids were given I Spy Maps to search for things throughout the rooms. What a great idea! They loved it and found almost everything. My children really liked the bowling alley, observatory and pool inside the house! What I liked was the huge library. I think it was as big as one of the floors of my home ... at least. I need that library attached to my house!

After we had a nice snack in the Biltmore courtyard and toured the gift shops, we were off to the extensive gardens. They were lovely. There was a sea of tulips as far as you could see. 

We did not do the winery, since we do not drink alcohol in our family and don't want to encourage it for our children. It was truly a lovely day. I had really worried and planned on how my Sensory Processing Disorder boy, Tom Sawyer, was going to survive the day. He did a great job. I didn't have to use even half of the OT/sensory stuff I had packed in the car. He only needed his weighted blanket for about 5 minutes. Woo whoo! It was really a successful and pleasant day.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. What a fun trip! I love the I Spy idea. The first thing I wondered was how your kids did there. I've wanted to go to Biltmore for the longest time, but I didn't know if it would be overwhelming for JJ. Maybe not!

    The gardens there are gorgeous! Love your pictures...


  2. That is the exact butter churn we used when I was young! It took a long time but I loved churning because I got to sit down while doing it, as opposed to standing all day when ironing the laundry -- including sheets, pillowcases and handkerchiefs -- for our family of 8. My job was always the ironing, but we could take turns at churning the butter. Love, Grandma

  3. I want to go to too! That looked like a lot of fun, now I just need to take a road trip!


  4. This was sooooooo neat to see. Thank you for sharing something I will probably never get to see. Those tulips made me homesick for Washington State. I miss going to Skagit Valley this time of the year. They have tulip, daffodil feilds like you would not believe ! That was soooooooo great that your ds did soooooooo well. Yeah !

    Sending you BLESSINGS and ((HUGS)) my SSiC

    In Him<><


  5. where is that huge place? I'm glad that day went so well for you.


  6. That looks like a fantastic school day! It is wonderful that you have community events that specify (and therefore encourage) home education. Great pictures, it felt like I was there!

  7. I love the Biltmore castle. It's been a long time since I've been there - at least 20 years? I didn't know that there was all that educational/farm stuff there. Perhaps it's a new addition since we went. Know you've made me want to go back.

    You always do so much fun educational stuff.


  8. A couple of years ago we went to the fall Biltmore homeschool day and loved it. The kids learned so much and had a great time.

    I would love to be able to go again.

    Plus, I need that library also. I think I have enough books to fill it. : )



  9. What a fun day! I've been wanting to go for the hs days for awhile. Maybe we'll try in the fall. :-) Loved all your pictures and hooray for all the kids doing well! Love that you didn't need all your sensory things. :-)

    Hope to talk to you soon too!



  10. You always have the best field trips. I enjoy reading about them.

  11. I'm going to have to check into this! My dh has always wanted to go there.



  12. Looks like a great time out!