Livin' Like a Vanderbilt

I spent the weekend in lovely Asheville, N.C., visiting family and attending a wedding at the Biltmore Estate. The home of George Vanderbilt is the largest private residence in the country, with four acres of floor space, and its winery claims to be the most visited. We explored a fraction of the estate's 8,000 acres, boasting tranquil mountain views, rolling pastures, a farm village, inn and immaculate gardens.

Epicurean highs: Plucking sweet blackberries, warm from the sun, off the vines in the Biltmore kitchen garden (see photo), and enjoying a fantastic meal downtown at Table, including almond-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, a perfectly juicy pork chop, and a Frangelico peach milkshake.

Epicurean lows: Eating fried mozzarella sticks under a cloud of smoke at TGI Friday's (I had no control: It was the default post-wedding hotel bar), and the too-warm wines (both whites and reds) in the Biltmore Winery's tasting room.