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#historyread – Historic houses in America #rwpchat

September 1, 2016
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Oak Alley Plantation

This month’s theme is #historyread.  One of my interests is visiting historic houses.  One of my favourites is Biltmore Estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville in North Carolina.  George Vanderbilt had the 250-room French Renaissance chateau built in 1889.  I visited in November 1999 when the house was decorated for Christmas.  It looked amazing with garlands hanging from the fireplaces and huge Christmas trees throughout the house.

On a visit to Rhode Island I went to several of the Newport Mansions.  The one I liked best was Rosecliff which is built in the style of the Grand Trianon at  Versailles.  I went on the guided tour and the guide had some interesting stories about the house.  The most memorable one was the heart shaped staircase being encased in ice, due to water leaking in the winter months, which froze around it.  Scenes from The Great Gatsby, True Lies and 27 Dresses have been shot on location at Rosecliff.

Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California is also an interesting place to visit.  It was created by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan in 1947.  My favourite room in the house was the assembly room.  This was where Hearst’s guests would gather for cocktails before dinner.  Many famous people have visited Hearst Castle over the years including Winston Churchill, Howard Hughes, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin.

While on holiday in Louisiana I visited Oak Alley Plantation which is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River.  The quarter of a mile long alley of 300 year old oak trees lead from the banks of the Mississippi to the entrance of the antebellum house which is named after the trees.  A guide in period costume gave an informative tour.  My favourite part of the house was the wrap around veranda which provided welcome shade on a hot day.

Join us @ReadWatchPlay on Tuesday 27 September when we will be discussing #historyread.  Use the tags #historyread and #rwpchat so everyone can join in the conversation.

Monique, Surrey Libraries

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