National Geographic : 1962 Feb
Inspired by French chateaux, Biltmore House enriches Asheville with Old World opulence. Visi tors may view priceless paintings, tapestries, and statuary in some of the 250 rooms. A three-mile rail way spur brought construction materials to the site. Family portrait seen through a magnifying glass shows William, brother of George W. Vanderbilt who created Biltmore in the 1890's. choice of a favorite place, multiplied by tens of thousands of visitors each summer, is a most important happening in the mountains of North Carolina. The western highlands were practically un known to lowlanders before the 1920's. True, there were a few resorts. In the 1890's, for example, the summit of Roan Mountain, reached by carriage from the valley railroad, had a wooden hotel from whose veranda spread out the world's most glorious display of rose-colored rhododendron (page 173).* The hunting set found the thermal belt around Tryon most agreeable (page 169). Here and there were pillared hotels with links for the itinerant golfer. But America on wheels awaited the bull dozer to carve a road over the mile-high peaks of the Blue Ridge and make corkscrew as cents into sweeping curves. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway the Clan 178 Ross headed for the annual Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans, held in Au gust, on that clannish slope of Grandfather Mountain known as MacRae Meadows. We were David and Angus and Sandy and Mal colm- and a Louisiana French import named Camille-but the preponderance of our Scot tish first names got us nowhere in the kilted and bonneted company of the MacDonalds, the Morrisons, McBains, and more members of the clans Colquhoun, MacLeod, and Gre gor than you could shake a claymore at. Tar Heels Toss the Caber The lassies danced distractingly. The pip ers marched in review, and in the novice piping competition the winner must have made someone agonizingly proud. There were running and wrestling and *See "Rhododendron Time on Roan Mountain," by Ralph Gray, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, June, 1957.