Carl White's Life in the Carolinas

Carolina Adventures for the Dogs

Following in Cedric’s Footsteps
by
Suzelle Sinclair
suzelle.sinclair@earthlink.net

“Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums; others we take for walks.”

~Roger A. Caras

PAINTING BY SUZELLE SINCLAIR

Looking out across the expansive lawn in front of Biltmore House, it is hard to imagine the grand view before me is only a small portion of the over 8000-acre estate. My sweet pup, Gracie, seems so tiny sitting on the lawn in front of the grand manor. The grounds of Biltmore Estates was an enormous playground for the Vanderbilts’ many dogs, including the most famous, Cedric. Often seen by his master’s side, George Vanderbilt’s beloved canine companion, Cedric, was a handsome Saint Bernard. 

The original Saint Bernards were named for the hospice at the Great Saint Bernard Pass. Smaller than today’s breed, they were working rescue dogs on the often treacherous Great Saint Bernard Pass in the Western Alps between Switzerland and Italy. In the 1850s, the original breed was crossed with Newfoundlands. The result of this crossbreed is the regal Saint Bernard we know today.

Saint Bernards were a relatively new breed to the United States when George Vanderbilt brought Cedric to Biltmore not long after the house opened in 1895. While Cedric was the first and arguably the top dog of Biltmore, the Estate has a long history of welcoming dogs onto its grounds, which continues today.

CEDRIC AT BILTMORE PHOTO CREDIT : BILTMORE ESTATES
GEORGE VANDERBILT AND CEDRIC, CIRCA 1900 PHOTO CREDIT : BILTMORE ESTATES
CEDRIC AT BILTMORE PHOTO CREDIT : BILTMORE ESTATES

As Gracie has proven to be a well-mannered pup during our outings over the past weeks, I believe we both deserve this trip to  Biltmore Estates. To prepare for our visit, I first visited the website to read Biltmore’s Pet Policypurchase tickets, and print out a copy of the Estate Trail Map. I also called to make a patio reservation at Cedric’s Tavern.

When most folks think of Biltmore Estates, they picture the exquisite mansion. Biltmore House is Americas Largest Home® and was the family home of George and Edith Vanderbilt. The 250-room French Renaissance-style chateau includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces and even a full-size swimming pool and bowling alley. The house spans 175,000 square feet, which is more than four acres of floor space.

While Cedric enjoyed free rein of the first floor of the home, today pets are not allowed in the house. Dogs are however welcomed at many places on the grounds and on the patio of Cedric’s Tavern and the Bistro. There are more than twenty miles of trails that meander along the French Broad River, through gorgeous gardens, across open meadows, past the Lagoon, through the Antler Hill Farm and into Antler Hill Village. Today Gracie and I enjoyed a restorative journey across the landscape that Frederick Law Olmsted designed to elicit an emotional connection between the individual and the beauty of nature. As time drew near to our reservation at Cedric’s Tavern we made our way to Antler Hill Village. We ended our adventure today at Cedric’s Tavern.

Gracie was a happily pooped pup. Our adventure had her ready for a nap beneath my table. After the year of the pandemic, I do not take the pleasure of dining out for granted. I savored my Cast Iron Seared Scottish Salmon, warm grain salad with braised turnips, spring greens, with citrus basil butter, as I reminisce over our day. My loyal canine companion has spent many days by my side throughout the pandemic. It was rewarding to have her beside me as we enjoyed the day following in the footsteps of Cedric and so many other loyal canines.

As we head toward the car, I glance down at Gracie and am filled with joy by the look on her face. Whether we are working at home or on an adventure, she enjoys being with me and is my loyal companion. Ears perk and tail wags as I open the car door and say, “Come on Gracie, we’re going home.”

To learn more about Biltmore Estates, visit: https://www.biltmore.com

Enjoy a virtual tour of Biltmore House on YouTube at https://youtu.be/7xLALy-JT-E.

CHARLOTTE WEATHER