Famed artist’s glass sculptures enhance the landscape around the historic architectural wonder in Asheville, North Carolina.
By Hope S. Philbrick
There’s no way to see it all at Biltmore: America’s largest home has 250 rooms!
As you’re meandering from room to room—even if you’re listening to the audio guide and making an effort to look at everything in the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques—there are so many details that you’re bound to miss or forget at least a few. For that reason alone the sprawling mansion warrants return visits, but the folks who work at Biltmore keep changing the décor to fit the season (especially during the winter holiday season) and bringing in special exhibits (like this) that really ramp up the reasons to go again and again.
The huge house isn’t all there is to see at Biltmore, which is located in Asheville, North Carolina: The 8,000-acre estate includes renowned gardens plus Antler Hill Village—where you can find a winery, farm, inn and hotel, equestrian center, several restaurants, and more.
I’d never actually explored the gardens—I was too distracted by all the other options—until my most recent visit. The newest special exhibit, Chihuly at Biltmore, is the first large-scale art exhibit the estate has hosted and the first major garden installation of the artist’s work in the state of North Carolina.
Even if you’re not certain who Dale Chihuly is, there’s a good chance you’ve seen his artwork. Over his 50-year career, he’s become renowned for his ambitious architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, museums and gardens. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Corning Museum of Glass to name just a few. I’ve personally seen a few of exhibitions: at Maker’s Mark Distillery, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Oklahoma City Museum of Art. The gardens at Biltmore seemed a natural setting to showcase his work, so I wanted to check it out.
Chihuly at Biltmore showcases 16 spectacular installations set in the estate’s century-old gardens. Two installations are inside the house, the remainder sprawl throughout the gardens, complemented by landscape designs created by Biltmore’s horticulture team in collaboration with the Chihuly team.
The large-scale glass sculptures sparkle dramatically, accentuating the landscape and the mansion. Among the works is a glistening representation of The Sun on the front lawn. There’s also a boat filled with bright-colored balls in the Italian Garden, red reeds ranging from six to ten feet high in the Shrub Garden, and two vibrant towers in the Walled Garden. Inside the Conservatory be sure look up or you might miss the chandeliers—one of the artist’s most iconic series.
Chihuly at Biltmore opened May 17 and will run through October 7, 2018—go twice during that time and it can look completely different since seasonal changes will transform the gardens.
Chihuly Nights at Biltmore…
During reservation-only Chihuly Nights at Biltmore, the artworks will be dramatically illuminated. These events are the first time the gardens will be open during the evening
In addition to admiring the artwork, you can gaze at the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains; enjoy live music in the gardens; and sip wines at an alfresco wine bar.
More Special Events…
- Biltmore Concert Series: Select evenings August 2018
- Christmas at Biltmore: November 3, 2018-January 6, 2019
- Candlelight Christmas Evenings: November 3, 2018-January 5, 2019
- Daytime admission to Chihuly at Biltmore is included in the general admission ticket price. Chihuly Nights at Biltmore requires a separate ticket. Tickets are now available at www.biltmore.com/chihuly.
@21plusTravel Tip: Save $10 off your ticket price by booking your visit 7 or more days in advance at www.biltmore.com or 800-411-3812.
@21plusTravel Tip: After you tour Biltmore Estate, visit Antler Village for free wine tastings.
Learn more about artist Dale Chihuly at chihuly.com.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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