Spring Break '08 - My Family Travels
biltmore

     I have lived in Columbus, Georgia my whole life and until Spring Break 2008, I had only been to three states: Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. My dad wanted to change that, so we planned a trip that would lead us through Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and end up in Atlanta, GA.

     First stop, The Lost Sea Cave in Sweetwater, Tennessee. From the name and the brochure, you would assume that you take a little walk around a cave and then take a boat tour. Wrong. We walked around a huge cave for about 45 minutes and finally got to the boats. We got in, drove to the middle of the cavern – which was about 40 feet out – and turned around and came back. The tour guides and website promised “a boat ride adventure” in the largest under-ground lake in the world, but five minutes crammed onto a boat doesn’t seem like an adventure to me. It was very disappointing, to say the least.

     Next stop, Biltmore Estate. When you first drive up, the actual house is very beautiful. The truly terrible experience begins inside. You are handed a brochure and left to wander through the house along a roped-off path. You are herded like sheep through 200+ rooms that have no air conditioning or usable bathrooms. You are not allowed to use the bathroom (in fact, they tie down the toilet seats), eat, drink, sit down, or take pictures in the house. Some of the elderly visitors actually opened windows, because of the heat and multitude of visitors, and removed the ropes from chairs so that they could sit, which I am sure would be looked down upon, but I applauded them. After trudging through room after room, up and down stairs, and through pointless corridors, we exited the house and headed to the refurbished stables where there were bathrooms and food. We had the worst lunch I have ever eaten and the bottled water costs $4 because it had a picture of the house. Our barbecue sandwiches looked and tasted like they had been scraped off the stable floor. When we left, it took 35 to 40 minutes just to get off the grounds. It took us through almost the entire estate, which we no longer cared to see after the way we were treated. Before we left, we bought my sister a little tin filled with mints. When we gave them to her, I ate one and suddenly I tasted something very odd. I spit it into a napkin and found that there was a fennel seed inside, which is my absolute least favorite spice. So, needless to say, Biltmore left a bad taste in my mouth.

     We did visit several other places that made the trip worth while and I did visit three more states, which brought me to six. I did enjoy spending time with my parents and getting to see the beautiful mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. Next time, though, I will ask other people about the attractions we are planning to visit.  

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