Just adjacent to the Grove Park Inn is the Grovewood Gallery, home of the Homespun Shops of Biltmore Industry This collection of shops and galleries was built by George Vanderbuilt and his wife, Edith, in order to provide the youth of Asheville with the opportunity to learn wool making and other mountain crafts and industries. After Vanderbilt’s death, Edith sold it to the architect of the Grove Park Inn who went on to build seven more shops and galleries in the location. It is seriously overshadowed by the Grove Park and takes some exploring to find. We had heard about it from some guests of ours at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast who stumbled on it while exploring the inn.
The first building one comes to is that of the Grovewood Cafe. While it was the middle of the afternoon, we did not eat there but took a couple of the menus which looked appealing. The building itself is in the middle of a sculpture garden. An array of metal sculptures create a “wind garden” and move with the breeze in unique and interesting ways.
All of the cars in the museum are working cars and there are some original horse drawn carriages as well. It was fun to look at the cars and to realize how much they have changed over the years. I found myself fascinated by a 1955 Cadillac with its sofa-sized front and back seat and roomy interiors. No wonder drive-in movies were so popular back then.
And tucked in among the vintage Fords and Oldsmobiles, there is even an Edsel! Emily and Abby had never heard of the Edsel but I remember when it was synonymous with over-design.
Hidden away behind the Grove Park and competing with the Gingerbread exhibit, there were few people in the museum which was lucky for us as the docent was free to talk to us about the different cars. And also free to show us his “trained” squirrels! That’s right, there is a family of squirrels which live outside the museum and he has trained them to come to the window and take a peanut out of your hand. You can also go “fishing” for the squirrels, placing the nut on the end of a fishing line on a pole he has rigged up and holding it out the window. I am sorry the pictures are a little dark but the flash was frightening
You never know what you will find in Asheville, North Carolina!