Biltmore was extreme. I’m becoming a fan of the landscape architect Fredrick Olmsted, who also designed Central Park, Detroit’s Belle Isle and the grounds of the Chicago World’s Fair. He is a hero of mine because he could see into the future - when you visit things he designed over a hundred years ago you still feel something. Being inside the mansion, though, which was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, I felt claustrophobic and thought the opulence was ridiculous. If I go back, I’m just hanging in the garden or driving through the grounds.
The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. The range is sometimes called the Smoky Mountains and the name is commonly shortened to the Smokies. The name “Smoky” comes from the natural fog that often hangs over the range and presents as large smoke plumes from a distance. This fog is caused by the vegetation exhaling volatile organic compounds, chemicals that have a high vapor pressure and easily form vapors at normal temperature and pressure.