This was Andy Griffith's childhood home.
This is the Biltmore Estate.
We saw them on the same day.
Now I know that Andy Griffith probably lives in a much larger and grander house today than the one he grew up in, but the incredible dichotomy between these two structures was almost overwhelming to take in, especially in a period of less than 7 hours.
George Vanderbilt invested millions in his mansion (no records were kept on the expenditures; he didn't need to know), and, thankfully, was a kind and generous employer to those who worked for him. He paid salaries according to what servants were paid in metropolitan areas (not for rural North Carolina), and his wife, Edith, personally visited with every servant to learn the names and ages of their children in order to have a Christmas present for each child.
Yet, when I think of their incredible lives of opulence and extravagance, I wonder what they took with them from this life. I hope they each had a relationship with Christ, but that wasn't covered in our tour. They had fine tapestries to remind them of the great virtues and an entire bedroom dedicated to paintings of the Virgin Mary, but did their appreciation for spiritual matters extend beyond what they could touch, see, or even do? I guess I'll never know if they sought the Lord in their "prayer closets" or worshiped in song at the top of their lungs from the majestic mountains of their acreage.
I hope they did. And no matter what circumstance financially I find myself in, I hope I will always acknowledge the Lord as the giver of every good gift, and celebrate him in the middle of it all. Knowing that he is with me in every extreme and I can take only him when I depart this life.
By the way, isn't this the fanciest McDonald's you've ever seen? It was right outside the entrance to Biltmore!
Arriving and First Week
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