On Sunday, Jeff's company drove in, from five different locations/offices, their employees and spouces/significant other to Ashville, North Carolina. The entire trip was 'on the company' and it was a fantastic thank you for a 25 year anniversary. Jeff and I stayed at the Grove Park Inn (GPI), one of the premier hotel/resorts in Ashville. Half the company stayed at the GPI, and the other half stayed at the world-famous Biltmore. We were not disappointed with our accomadations.
The company purchased breakfasts and lunch from Panera Bread and we drove north in big chartered buses, with snacks and drinks for the 5 hour trip. All the buses met at the GPI and we had a short time to explore before getting onto our assigned buses for our afternoon adventure. Some of the options the company set up were visiting the Biltmore and Winery, Tubbing, Golf, and visiting the various breweries and beer tasting in the area. We chose the Biltomore and Winery tour.
We headed to the famed Biltmore for the afternoon. The company purchased tickets for everyone and the audio ticket as well. The tour of the Biltmore was amazing! It takes you from room to room and the individual audio devices share many treasures about each, all centered around George Vanderbilt. There were no photography allowed inside the Biltmore so our take away photo was the outside view seen above.
We enjoyed the tour immensely. Such a rich (no pun intended) history regarding the Vanderbilts and their home.
After our tour we had a short visit at the Vanderbilts winery, where we learned of the Vanderbilts travels before heading back to the GPI.
Our rooms were ready for check-in, so we got showers and dressed for the before-dinner cocktail party. Open bar and hor d'oeurves were on tap for the next 1 1/2 hour where we mingled with the rest of the companies employees. I met some new folks that Jeff has mentioned over time, especially the ones he speaks of highly.
Dinner followed in one of the GPI's large banquet rooms with accompanying anniversary fare and presentations. I thought the meal was a bit disappointing, but dessert was good. Dinner and presentations lasted until 10:30 when we broke for after dinner gatherings, but Jeff and I decided to head up to our room. We were really glad we didn't have to wait for a ride to the Biltmore.
The GPI was a wonderful place to stay. The room was large and very comfortable. Loved the bed, especially the pillows, the shower was amazing - huge, and loved the sliding wooden barn door on the bathroom - very cool. The large areas for lounging and enjoying the view of the mountains was wonderful too.
In the morning we re-visited the banquet room for a wonderful buffet breakfast, a relaxing lounge on one of the verandas before getting on the bus to return home. The company purchased pizzas for lunch on the return trip.
It was a great trip which turned out even better because Jeff has had some things solidified regarding his work se we were able to go into the trip with comfort and enjoyment.