Among the many surprises at Rockbrook, the tradition known as the “Biltmore Train” has to be an all-time favorite. The tradition started years ago (before widespread refrigeration) when dairy products were delivered to camp from the Biltmore Estate’s Farm. On a regular basis, trucks from Asheville would make the trip to Brevard to keep camp supplied. Once a session, the Biltmore dairy truck would pull up to camp, and the girls would indulge in the sugary goodness of an ice cream cone on a hot day.
As the need for regular milk deliveries declined, the Biltmore Dairy closed (now it’s a winery and tourist destination), but both the ice cream tradition at camp and the name have carried on.
In recent years, “Biltmore Train” meant counselors would line up with tubs of ice cream, ready to serve hundreds of scoops to a long line of wide-eyed campers. At some point, a new tradition arose where the girls could finish the ice cream in their cone, and then get back in line to get a second scoop. As long as the cone survived and wasn’t eaten, they could continue to get refills of ice cream. With each trip through the line, the cone disintegrates making it impossible to get another scoop, but girls can end up with four or even five scoops if they are strategic (Don’t worry; the scoops aren’t all that big!). At the very least, it’s fun to get a second scoop and sample a different flavor.
This summer, we’re switching things up and returning the tradition to its roots, but with a fun twist. Dolly’s Dairy Bar, our favorite ice cream shop in Brevard, now has a food truck, an ice cream truck, that can arrive anywhere ready to serve up to 30 tubs of ice cream— the “Dolly’s Trolley.” So today, for the first time, our Biltmore Train was the Dolly’s Trolley serving the campers right under the same maple tree where the original Biltmore Dairy trucks served ice cream. It’s always a treat to have Dolly’s ice cream, but to eat it in the sunshine of the Rockbrook hill is even better. Super cool!
Tonight’s optional twilight activity was a high-octane, hilariously messy, shaving cream fight and slip-n-slide. The call was to meet at the landsports field dressed in swimsuits and ready to smear. As the girls arrived, we handed each a large can of plain shaving cream pointing them to the grass where the “fight” would take place. After about five minutes, 50 children were eagerly spraying, wiping and racing wildly after each other. Ten minutes later, another 50 had joined in and we had shaving cream everywhere! And while there were mostly Juniors and Middlers joining the slippery white commotion, there were plenty of Seniors too, enjoying the chance to style each other’s hair and pose for group photographs. The slip-n-slide became popular after there was no more shaving cream to squirt. Two by two the girls hurled themselves down the gently sloping hill covered with a sheet of plastic. Already slippery from the foam, all we needed was a little spray of water to make a surprisingly fast ride. As some girls slid, others continued to mess around with their shaving cream, everyone laughing and having a blast.
Two awesome surprises in one day— the Biltmore Train and a shaving cream fight. This must be Rockbrook!