Wanderlust: Biltmore Estate

Asheville, North Carolina has been on my list of places to visit for a long time and one place I definitely want to visit is the Biltmore Estate. Opened on Christmas Eve in 1895 after taking 6 years to be built, George Vanderbilt’s country home has 250 rooms throughout it’s 4 acre floor space.

In 1930, the home was opened to the public and features 75 acres of gardens including a walled garden, rose garden, azalea garden and more. More than 250 varieties of roses are planted in the rose garden. During the winter the conservatory by the walled garden offers an escape from the weather with tropical plants and orchids on display.

The Biltmore Estate is open year-round and you can find a breakdown of what is currently in bloom in each garden here. For more information on the Biltmore Estate, visit their website.

Photos courtesy of Biltmore Estate.

February & March Recent Reads

I had planned on reading so much while traveling to and from Nepal, filled my Kindle up with a bunch of books and I barely got through one! I’ve also started and stopped the book What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian a few times over the past two months. Has anyone read it? I want to know what happened but I find the book boring and I’ve only read a quarter of it so I’m contemplating if I should quit reading it.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
I’m embarrassed to say that I have never read Pride and Prejudice, which this book is a modern retelling of. Not really knowing the storyline of Pride and Prejudice, I thought this was a cute book and has peaked my interest to read the original.

A Separation by Katie Kitamura
I hated this book! It was hailed as one of the most anticipated books of 2017 and I do not understand why. I thought it was an incredibly depressing book, I was waiting for some kind of twist that would show me how amazing this book was and there was nothing. The book is classified as a mystery, it really is not and the description of the book leading you to believe it is this amazing psychological thriller is a complete lie. A woman goes to Greece in search of her husband who has gone missing. She goes reluctantly since they have secretly separated but her mother-in-law, who thinks they are together, urges her to find him. Aside from that, there really isn’t much else. I continued reading hoping it would get better, sadly it did not.

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
After suffering through A Separation, this book was a welcome change. Following three friends from college, the story mainly focuses on Kate, who while working in a post-graduate anthropology program chooses to change the course of her life by moving to Paris to be with her boyfriend only for him to break up with her at the airport. Kate spends the next year of her life in mourning until her sister sets up a job interview for her at a private school for an assistant admissions director. A disastrous and hilarious interview follows and the job Kate never wanted slowly starts to change her life. A cute, quick and funny read.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman
I thought this was an incredibly beautiful and sad coming-of-age story. Shelby Richmond is a high school senior when one moment changes her life. She is driving her car on an icy road with her best friend Helene in the passenger seat and the car accident they are in leaves Helene in a coma and Shelby questioning why she survived and walked away with only a hairline fracture. The book follows Shelby through the years as she deals with what happened, the new friendships she forms and the animals she rescues along the way.

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
I read The Middlesteins by Attenberg and didn’t like it, but I figured I would give her books another shot and was disappointed by All Grown Up. One of the things I hated about The Middlesteins were how self-absorbed her characters were and Andrea the main character in All Grown Up is no better. The one thing I will give the book is the complete honesty it gives about being a single woman in New York City and the struggle to live the life you choose to live.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense

The Lowline in New York City. Photo by Alyson Goodman.

Who would have ever thought that there would be a dense underground forest in Manhattan? For a little more than two years The Lowline Lab project was on display in New York City’s Lower East Side. A few months ago my friend and I visited the lab and I’m counting down the days to 2021 when the project becomes a reality.

You step off a bustling city street and are transported to another world. Thanks to solar technology an urban jungle is growing without the help of any natural light. The lab is now closed, it served as a trial run to see if the technology they built could grow plants underground. The project was a success and The Lowline will be built in a historic trolley terminal on Delancey Street. For more information on the project visit The Lowline.

Weekly Photo Challenge: It is Easy Being Green

Old Westbury Gardens, Old Westbury, NY. Photo by Alyson Goodman.

There is bound to be at least one photo of this spot from Old Westbury Gardens on my camera every time I visit. There is something about this spot that I love and I make a detour to it. The “wall” of green created by the trees makes the bench really stand out and regardless of how many photos I have of the same area, I’m still drawn to it every time.

Happy Spring!

Tulips at Old Westbury Gardens in Old Westbury, NY. Photograph by Alyson Goodman.

It is officially spring! There may still be snow on the ground and the weather is supposed to be cold this week, but one of my favorite times of the year is here. I’m looking forward to the cherry and magnolia trees to start blossoming, the return of tulips, peonies and allium and visits to my favorite gardens.