On June 18 to the 22nd, 2012 Jim & Diane
to a trip down south. Jim visited a state
he had never been to before, Tennessee. That makes 34 states visited.
The first stop was in Natural Bridge,
Virginia. These photos were taken on the path down to the bridge.
The bridge was impressive but the hotel, while very clean, the wax museum, the toy museum and caverns were straight out of the 60's.
The bridge is 215 feet high, a little higher than Niagara Falls. US Route 11 runs across the top of the bridge. That's Diane standing underneath the bridge in black pants.
A look up under the bridge. The Virginia
State Highway Dept put supports under
the bridge a few years back. They are where the holes are.
A view from the other side.
There are benches on either side of the
The have a light & sound show, The Seven Days of Creation, every night.
This is US Route 11 passing over the bridge, where the fences are.
Our next stop was at The Biltmore Estate in
Asheville, North Carolina.
Biltmore was completed in 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt and features 250 rooms, 45 baths, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool and bowling alley. At 175,000 square feet, it's the largest privately owned home in America. It originally stood on 125,000 acres.
You are not allowed to take pictures inside of the Estate.
George was a bachelor when he moved in to Biltmore with his mother. He was very devoted to his family and mother and promised that he wouldn't marry until she died, a promise that he kept. About two years after his mother's death he met and married Edith.
The diagonal windows are around the grand staircase.
The gardens around the Estate are beautiful and extensive.
A view of the back yard.
We took the Architects Tour, which took you
in many behind
the scenes places including here on the roof.
This is the narrow walkway we walked on while on the roof.
This is the original slate roof. Each piece of slate is wired with two wires to metal bars that run horizontally below the roof. We got to view this while in the attic on the Architect's tour.
If you look closely, you can see three people on the Architects Tour on the roof.
The headphones and selector device are part of the audio tour. When you go into a room, you enter the room's number on the device and you listen to a narrative about the room.
Next stop was the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV. It has 710 rooms but looks like it could have twice that many. It all doesn't fit in this picture and there is another wing in the rear. There are also 96 houses on the property to rent.
The main reason we visited the Greenbrier was to see "The Bunker" that is located behind this wall, underneath the West Virginia Wing that you can barely see above the wall.
The Bunker was built secretly in the early 1960's to house the Congress in case of a nuclear attack on Washington. It was set up to house 1100 people for up to 60 days. They even knew which prescriptions each member of Congress was taking and stored them here. This bunker was a secret for 30 years until it was exposed in a 1992 article in the Washington Times. The 25 ton blast door above was an alternative entrance other than the entrance through the hotel.
Some of the sleeping accommodations in the bunker. Not as luxurious as the ones in the hotel.
A diagram of the bunker under the West Virginia wing of the hotel.
Construction of the bunker behind the main part of the resort.