Julie and I have been passholders to Biltmore since Labor Day weekend 2010. The Biltmore Estate is a very special place for us because it seems every time we visit we somehow manage to fall deeper in love with each other. I had decided several months prior that when the time was right I would propose to Julie somewhere on the Biltmore Estate.
I made reservations at the Inn on Biltmore for Saturday, January 29, 2011. We arrived on the sprawling 8000-acre estate around 1:30 PM and stopped by the Bass Pond and Waterfall to see them since neither of us had been there before. After trekking across a series of muddy paths for a half an hour or so we made our way up to the Inn on Biltmore. The valet took my car and made sure our luggage was situated. We checked into our room where a wonderful bottle of Biltmore Riesling sat on ice awaiting our arrival. Our luggage was delivered promptly and Julie and I enjoyed a glass of wine. I nervously waited for the absolutely perfect time to spring the ring that was neatly tucked away in my camera bag.
We sat out on the terrace outside our amazing room looking towards the mountains to the south of the Biltmore Estate. We decided to watch the sunset at or near the Biltmore House. We caught a shuttle with a fantastic driver back to the house. Julie has never been up the Rampe Douce and Vista to the Statue of Diana. The decision was made to hike up to the statue to catch the sunsetting behind the Blue Ridge Mountains and Biltmore House on a perfectly clear, balmy Saturday in January. I had only been up there once before on a very cloudy, rainy day; I was so mind blown by the view this time that I almost forgot why we were up there.
While we were walking up the Vista I noticed four people were wandering around near the Statue of Diana. I was hoping that our arrival there would convince them it was time to move along. It was very important to Julie and I to get engaged in a private setting. Needless to say, I had several back up plans on locations to propose thanks to the great advice from the Inn on Biltmore Conceirge, Kathy and Biltmore’s Corporate Communications Manager, Jean. As we made our last steps towards the statue the four ladies literally vanished; Julie and I were completely alone amongst the hemlocks.
I set my camera bag down behind the Statue of Diana. Julie and I enjoyed the view for a few minutes and then I moved back to the camera bag acting as if I was getting my camera but instead I was getting Julie’s engagement ring out of the bag. I put the box in my right hand and moved around the statue with it at my side so Julie couldn’t see what was I was holding.
The absolutely majestic view was the perfect distraction as Julie had no idea what was about to happen. With her to my left I put my arm around her and said, “I love you.” Julie responded with her always passionate, “I love you, too.” With a ball full of nervousness about to completely overwhelm me I said, “I love you so much.” My voice wavered a little and Julie looked over at me. The instant she looked at me I turned, dropped down on one knee, presented the now open engagement ring box and asked, “Julie, will you marry me?” Her overwhelming wave of emotions, happiness, tears, and elation gave way to an emphatic, “Yes!” She kissed me as I was kneeling, hugged me very tightly, and then presented her hand for me to put the engagement ring on.
We spent the next twenty minutes or so smiling at each other and calling Julie’s family completely alone at the Statue of Diana which is now a place that will be forever etched into the fabric of Julie and I’s relationship and memories. Our engagement was celebrated by a quick stop in Antler Hill Village, dinner in The Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore, dessert in our room, and milk and cookies brought to us at midnight (scheduled prior to our visit). We could not have asked for a more perfect weekend and location to get engaged and are very thankful to all of the staff at Biltmore who played such a huge part in making this visit to the Biltmore Estate the most amazing one ever.