Road Trip moves into Biltmore Estate

There is a reason why so many people trek from all over country to see the Biltmore House.

There is a reason why so many people trek from all over country to see the Biltmore House. Every which way you turn, there is just such a beautiful, peaceful image that you could only wish your digital camera could capture.

When it is time to chop down the ole fern and unpack those dusty boxes full of decorations, the Biltmore takes on a whole new life. I think of the Biltmore at Christmas as everyone person’s fantasy of the perfect holiday home.

First of all, there are more rooms, walkways, and hidden passages than one could walk through in one day. Can you imagine sitting in front of a fire place that you could actually drive a Mini Cooper through? How about dining with the family in a room twice the size of the average American single family home, with a towering 30 foot Christmas tree…then disappearing behind a tapestry into a private room just to get away from the in-laws?

And for all you Martha’s, as you walk through the house, you are taking mental notes “Ahh, I am going to wrap garland around my chandelier this year.”

It is every American’s ideal home, the one you only hope and dream of somehow achieving in a lifetime, and it was only Mr. Vanderbilt’s bachelor pad!

I can just smell the sweet fragrance of the Christmas tree over the soft choir voices echoing from one stone pillar to the next, the sights and sounds of Christmas…Biltmore style. And then…we pulled up!

Yep, once again our over achieving alter egos parked that big ole satellite truck right smack dab in front of Biltmore’s front doors. I even took a picture from the RV to prove that our production vehicles (with 6NEWS plastered all over the place) were sitting a short jaunt from the main atrium.
And then, it was time to pull some cable. Hehe…I laugh now; but Tuesday, the Biltmore security was up in arms as we drug 5,000 feet of wet, smelly, black cable through the front of one of the French doors.

If you have ever been to Biltmore (at any time of the year) you will remember all the security, roped off rooms, and explicit instructions DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING! It was like taking a herd of cattle through a room full of fine china from the Ming Dynasty! And there were pots from the Ming Dynasty in the library – used to have palm trees planted in them until the curators got a hold of them!

Where was I, ohhh; see…we get a little focused. One of the prerequisites for working in television is you have to have a great case of ADD. When we start working, there is nothing stopping our focus. Yeah…then, we met the security force of the Biltmore.

We were allowed behind the scenes and ropes of some of the most treasured areas of Biltmore. Every time we crossed a rope, a PR/Marketing representative had to call security to tell them we were crossing the rope, get clearance, then and only then were we escorted to the destination. That sounds reasonable if you are only carrying one load…yeah right.

We had to bring in cable, cameras, lighting, wireless microphones, and monitors. We had to test the cameras, audio, and lighting. Then we had to have furniture moved by a curator…if there was a slight possibility we might brush by the priceless article.

Now imagine this for eight different rooms spread out all over the house! And to top it all off, we had to pull cable up the front span of the house to the roof top.

Mr. Vandy must have been rolling over in his grave. I mean, if he was such a visionary…why not already have cable pulled throughout the house for us to plug into? It would have saved a lot of trouble on ours and the staff’s part! Oh, I remember, it was built in 1895…no television then, how could I forget. Well regardless, Mr. Vanderbilt was a true visionary! This man had all his I’s dotted and T’s crossed. We took a short tour of the attic and I noticed that the skeleton was built from steel. He was afraid of fires! There two-foot thick brick firewalls separating all the major sections of the house!

Anyways, it was worth all the mediation between the Marketing department and the Security force because the show was beautiful. It is not hard to do a visual show in such a visual setting! I am going to give a little shout out to K.C. of the Marketing department…she was the force behind our storm. If there was a way to walk from one side of the house to the other in less than a minute, she would find it!

But the best part of the day is when I made a new friend. I was trying to find a way to move into this next discussion with a natural twist. He came walking down the main staircase sporting his true colors! Yep, he was a South Carolina grad with all his garnet shining proudly as he walked in front of our lights. As you remember I am a Clemson grad and blood runneth ORANGE. So I put away all my pre-dispositions and shook his hand, because we beat those Gamecocks this past weekend.

This brings me to my final thought. Chuck Howard (faithful Gamecock) talked me into a little, let’s say friendly wager. I’m just glad Clemson won, because I was sweating the whole game – it was close, 13 – 9. Let’s just say Chuck will be sporting a Clemson pull-over tonight, ON AIR! Whoooo, Did I say I am glad we won…I am not sure if I could handle wearing something that says Gamecocks for five days straight! See ya at 4:30…Chuck will be there with all his colors; better yet, color – ORANGE!


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