Spring at Biltmore: A Delight for the Senses

As Biltmore awakens from its wintertime slumber, a wonderland for the senses unfolds across our mountain oasis. Discover some of our favorite ways to delight all five of your senses this spring with a visit to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

Installation from Chihuly at Biltmore, March 25, 2024 – January 5, 2025 at Amherst. Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling, 2012, 25 x 15′, Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, installed 2024 © 2012 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Must-see masterpieces

Spring offers up an everchanging visual kaleidoscope of color as our historic landscapes bloom weekly with the vibrant hues of tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and rhododendrons! Plus, every spring, Biltmore’s Floral team displays special arrangements throughout Biltmore House inspired by the gardens in bloom.

This beauty extends far beyond our garden walls to Chihuly at Biltmore, presented in our gallery setting at Amherst at Deerpark® premiering March 25, 2024. Dale Chihuly’s renowned works will leave you breathless as you experience the stunning fusion of vibrant hues and dynamic shapes of his pedestal works, Drawings, and large-scale installations of ChandeliersTowersMille Fiori, and Neon.

Tip: Chihuly at Biltmore is an awe-inspiring experience for families and guests of all ages. That said, due to the nature of the exhibition, all guests under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Young girl sniffing tulips in Biltmore gardens
Take a moment to stop and smell the Tulips in Biltmore Gardens.

Fragrances and flavors to savor

This time of year, it feels like the air is transforming right beneath your nose! Be sure to stop and smell the flowers during your springtime stroll through Biltmore’s historic gardens and grounds.

The scents of our gardens and grounds in bloom seamlessly intertwine with Biltmore’s award-winning wines and estate-grown farm-to-table fare.

As you swirl, sniff, sip, and savor our favorite spring wines, make note of the distinctive tasting notes and fragrances, expertly crafted by our Winemakers. Once your palette is warmed up, consider indulging in a guided Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting to help you discover why chocolate and red wine are a match made in heaven.

George Vanderbilt’s vision of a self-sustaining estate extends past our wines. Biltmore remains a working farm, producing field crops, pastured beef, lamb, pork, and eggs from chickens, to be served in restaurants across the estate. Recreate the dishes you loved during your visit with seasonal recipes and Biltmore’s gourmet foods delivered right to your door when you shop online.

Family listens to audio guide while standing in Biltmore's Banquet Hall
Hear the stories of this grand estate with an all-new Biltmore House audio guide in spring 2024!

The sounds of Spring at Biltmore

Discover the stories of this National Historic Landmark and the people who lived and worked here over a century ago as you listen to an all-new audio guide for Biltmore House, coming in mid-April! If it’s been a while since you last explored America’s Largest Home, this spring will be a perfect time to come back to discover new and favorite stories.

Dig even deeper into the stories of this opulent home by upgrading your visit to include an expert-guided tour.

For spring break getaways and holidays, be sure to check our activities listing for special live music and events around the estate.

Baby goat jumps off of a log in Antler Hill Village.
Meet the bouncing baby animals at our Farmyard each spring.

Hands-on learning and adventure

Our expert guides are ready to help you discover educational, fun, and adventurous activities that fit your interests and abilities. Embark on a hike across Biltmore’s expansive grounds or coast along the winding gravel paths while the beauty of the landscape unfolds on one of our Guided Bike Rides.  

Or take it slow and grab the reins to connect with Biltmore’s history with a One-Hour Carriage Ride that offers breathtaking Blue Ridge mountain views and a rarely-seen view of the west façade.

Just like clockwork, the animals that call Biltmore home welcome cuddly youngsters every spring. Visit Antler Hill Village for a deeper look at Biltmore’s legacy as a working farm. The Farmyard offers a kid-friendly introduction to farm life and the animals that are an integral part of our self-sustaining estate.

Our Farm to Table Tour & Taste experience (available exclusively to overnight guests and Passholders) offers even more in-depth discovery of Biltmore’s farming legacy and how that connects to our modern field-to-table philosophy.

Be sure to swing by Antler Hill Barn for fascinating demonstrations of Appalachian crafts, like broom-making, that are part of our estate history, naturalist talks, and more.

Japanese magnolia and forsythia bloom outside of The Inn on Biltmore Estate each spring.

Surround yourself with spring

With a sensory treat around every corner, we invite you to fully immerse yourself in the unique experiences that await you this spring. Imagine waking to awe-inspiring Blue Ridge Mountain views and the scent of crisp spring air just outside your door.

Plan your spring getaway now with admission and overnight stay packages featuring Chihuly at Biltmore, guided activities, and more. And, with so much to see, taste, smell, and do this year, spring is a perfect time of year to become a Biltmore Annual Passholder!

Presenting the Artist: Dale Chihuly

“Glass is the most magical of all materials. It transmits light in a special way.” – Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly Persian Ceiling (detail), 2012 25 x 15′ Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, installed 2016.

Dale Chihuly is an American artist known for revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the medium of glass from the realm of craft to fine art.

With Chihuly at Biltmore now on display, we invite you to learn more about the artist and his impact around the world.

About the Artist

Dale Chihuly with Laguna Torcello II Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, 2018
Dale Chihuly, 2017 © 2017 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly discovered his passion for glass during his interior design studies at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, he joined the first glass art program in the United States at the University of Wisconsin.

He later continued his studies and established the glass program at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, where in 1968, he earned an MFA and a Fulbright Fellowship that enabled him to study and work at the prestigious Venini glass factory in Venice.

His pivotal experience there influenced the team glassblowing approach that he later emphasized an educator and employed in his own practice. Upon returning to the US in 1968, he became head of RISD’s glass program and co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, contributing significantly to the development of glass as fine art.

While mentoring other young artists, Chihuly relentlessly pursued his own creative vision, developing a body of work that is featured today in over 200 museums worldwide, and earning numerous awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and thirteen honorary doctorates.

Exhibitions Around the World

Dale Chihuly, Mille Fiori (detail), 2018 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.
Dale Chihuly, Mille Fiori (detail), 2018 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Chihuly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, among them, Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Persians, and Venetians in the 1980s; Niijima Floats and Chandeliers in the 1990s; and Fiori in the 2000s. He is also celebrated for large architectural installations.

In 1986, he was honored with a solo exhibition, Dale Chihuly objets de verre, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, in Paris. In 1995, he began Chihuly Over Venice, for which he created sculptures at glass-making facilities in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, and then installed them over the canals and piazzas of Venice.

In 1999, Chihuly mounted perhaps his most ambitious exhibition to that date, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; where more than 1 million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London presented the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A.

Exhibitions in Botanical Settings

Dale Chihuly, Ethereal White Persian Pond, 2018, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, installed 2021 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.
Dale Chihuly, Ethereal White Persian Pond, 2018, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, installed 2021 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Chihuly’s lifelong fascination for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. The Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, and continued at several locations, among them London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, at Kew in 2005 and 2019; the New York Botanical Garden in 2006 and 2017; and Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay in 2021.

Meanwhile, Chihuly continued to present ambitious exhibitions at museums, including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2008; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, in 2012; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in 2013; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, in 2016; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2017; and the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands in 2018. In 2012, Chihuly Garden and Glass, the artist’s long-term exhibition, opened at Seattle Center.

In 2018, Biltmore welcomed Chihuly at Biltmore, an exhibition showcasing the artist’s breathtaking large-scale glass sculptures in the century-old gardens of America’s Largest Home®. This unique visual experience marked the first art exhibition in Biltmore’s historic gardens and the first garden exhibition of artist Dale Chihuly’s works in North Carolina.

Experience an All-New Chihuly at Biltmore

Dale Chihuly, Sapphire Neon with Burned Logs and Neodymium Reeds (detail), 2015, 8 x 21 x 15' © 2015 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.
Dale Chihuly, Sapphire Neon with Burned Logs and Neodymium Reeds (detail), 2015, 8 x 21 x 15′ © 2015 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

The success of the 2018 exhibition paved the way for an all-new Chihuly at Biltmore exhibition, presented in Amherst at Deerpark®.

“Amherst offers an ideal setting for you to not only view the installations, but learn about Dale Chihuly’s life, work, and his powerful influence on art, as well as Biltmore’s own connection to glass art,” said Travis Tatham, Biltmore’s Director of Entertainment and Event Programming.

In addition to the awe-inspiring gallery exhibition featuring specially curated pedestal works, Drawings, Chandeliers, Towers, Mille Fiori, and Neon, guests have the opportunity to marvel at two large-scale installations presented on estate grounds: one on the East Terrace in front of Biltmore House and one at the Entry Green in Antler Hill Village.

Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier by Dale Chihuly at Biltmore's Winery
Chandelier in Winery. Dale Chihuly, Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier, 2022, 9-1/2 x 6 x 6′, Biltmore Winery, Asheville, North Carolina, installed 2023 © 2022 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

While in the Village, be sure to admire Chihuly Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier at the Winery. Installed in 2023, it was commissioned especially for Biltmore and is part of the estate’s permanent glorious glass collection.

From the grand interiors of America’s Largest Home® and surrounding artistic landscapes to the awe-inspiring displays in the galleries of Amherst, we can’t wait to welcome you to Chihuly at Biltmore.

Reserve your admission tickets and special admission-inclusive overnight packages for this must-see exhibition.

Featured image
Dale Chihuly with Laguna Torcello II
Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, 2018

Exploring Biltmore’s Historic Orchid Collection

Biltmore’s love affair with orchids goes back more than a century, when George Vanderbilt was first planning his grand estate in Asheville, NC.

With some 25,000 species and 100,000 cultivated varieties, orchids comprise one of the two largest families of flowering plants, growing in every ecosystem except Antarctica. Discover the colorful history behind Biltmore’s orchid collection and how our team cares for the alluring specimens year-round.

Paphiopedilum 'Rosey Dawn' orchid
Biltmore’s orchid collection highlights five major groups and includes slipper orchids, or Paphiopedilum, like the “Rosey Dawn” variety shown here

Orchid Mania in the Victorian Era

Though orchids have been a beloved flower since Roman times, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that the enchanting plants became extremely popular in Britain seemingly overnight. With elite Victorians seeking them out as status symbols, the demand grew and many people became obsessed with acquiring orchids for their collections, generating a fad known as “orchidelirium,” or orchid mania.

Private collectors and “orchid hunters” traveled far and wide, often under dangerous circumstances, to search for the finest exotic orchids on nearly every continent and ship them back to Europe at exorbitant prices.

Fortunately, by the late 1800s when George Vanderbilt was planning his grand estate in Asheville, orchids were more readily available from nurseries and no longer required sending collectors on arduous journeys.

Biltmore Conservatory ca. 1910
Biltmore’s historic Conservatory, pictured here in 1910, has an entire room dedicated to the display of eye-catching orchids.

Filling the “Orchid House”

Conservatories and glass-roofed garden rooms filled with private plant collections remained popular among wealthy estate owners in Europe and the United States throughout the late 19th century. Naturally, George Vanderbilt followed this trend with the construction of Biltmore’s Conservatory and the Winter Garden room of Biltmore House.

For Biltmore’s collection, landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, specified that 800 orchids, comprising more than 30 varieties, should be purchased for furnishing the Conservatory’s “orchid house.” In archival photographs, orchids can also be seen adorning tablescapes in the Winter Garden surrounded by palm trees, providing a lush and exotic space for the Vanderbilt family to relax and entertain guests.

Today, Biltmore’s orchid collection contains close to 1,000 plants. In the collection are award-winners recognized by the American Orchid Society and some of the very same varieties contained in Olmsted’s original list.

Assortment of orchids in bloom inside Biltmore's Conservatory
Biltmore’s orchid collection contains close to 1,000 plants.

Caring for the Orchid Collection

While much of the work to care for Biltmore’s orchids happens behind the scenes, the effort is always evident. No matter the time of year, our team rotates blooming plants onto display inside the Conservatory for guests to enjoy their irresistible beauty.

A typical week among the orchids includes fertilizing and watering the collection and then tending to the display areas in the Conservatory. If severe cold weather strikes during winter months, team members may have to take extra precautions to protect the plants, including running auxiliary heaters in all of the greenhouses and moving the plants into warmer spaces overnight.

Large, white Phalaenopsis (or
Large, white Phalaenopsis (or “moth orchids”) are some of the most recognizable orchids in Biltmore’s collection.

Quick Tips for Orchid Care at Home 

Of all the orchids in Biltmore’s Conservatory collection, you may be wondering which is the most popular with our guests. According to our garden team, guests are very drawn to Phalaenopsis, or “moth orchid,” likely because it is one of the more recognizable varieties that they may have at home.  

You don’t have to be a professional gardener to enjoy the beauty of orchids. Biltmore’s Orchid Horticulturist, Marc Burchette, shares these tips for successful orchid growth at home: 

G – Give your orchid a bright east or north-facing window with little to no direct sunlight.  

R – Regulate temperatures to avoid exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day or below 55 at night. 

O – Only water plants when they are completely dry to avoid overwatering.  

W – Maintain humidity levels between 50 to 80 percent. You can use a gravel-filled tray partially filled with water if needed.  Plants should not sit in water. 

T – Treat with a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 / 20-20-20) at 1/4 recommended strength weekly during the growing season.  

H – Handle repotting every 2 to 3 years or when new root growth is observed; use a well-draining mix. 

Cymbidium hybrid orchids
This Cymbidium hybrid orchid boasts striking purple, white, and yellow blooms.

A Fascination with Orchids Continues

Each winter season, Biltmore’s vast and vibrant orchid collection reaches peak bloom inside the Conservatory. And, while “orchid mania” may be a craze of the past, the fascination with Biltmore’s orchids continues to provide a feast for the senses year-round.

Be sure to spend time enjoying the beauty of Biltmore’s orchids during your next visit and consider joining our Passholder family to experience the ever-changing assortment of blooms inside the Conservatory throughout the year.

5 Reasons You’ll Want to Visit Biltmore This Winter

Whether you’re traveling with your family or sweetheart this season, here are our top 5 reasons why you’ll want to add a peaceful and restorative winter visit to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, to your travel plans.

Cattleya Mary Schroder orchid in Conservatory
Orchids inside Biltmore’s Conservatory, like this Cattleya Mary Schroder orchid, reach peak bloom during winter months.

5. Discover our great indoors

There’s no better way to shake winter’s chill than with a tropical excursion through Biltmore’s historic Conservatory, located a short distance away from Biltmore House. As a bonus, orchids reach peak bloom during the winter months, so guests are in for a real treat as the Orchid Room boasts a vibrant collection of over 500 plants.

The indoor adventure continues with guided tours of Biltmore House, such as the Exclusive 90-Minute Guided Tour: Guests of the Vanderbilts for fascinating stories and rarely-accessed areas of the home, the Rooftop Tour for long-range views and unique perspectives on the design of Biltmore House, or the Backstairs Tour for an in-depth look at what it was like to work in America’s Largest Home over a century ago.

Tip: Tours and activities offered are subject to change. Please check our Activities listings for the most current and accurate offerings for your winter visit.

Enjoy our Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting featuring premium Biltmore wines and artisan chocolate truffles from French Broad Chocolates. 📷 by @chelseaericasmith & @thewineshutter

4. Sip our favorite winter wines

In addition to enjoying a Complimentary Wine Tasting at our award-winning estate Winery during a winter visit, consider booking one of our most popular specialty wine experiences, our Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting. Sip, swirl, and savor your way through a curated selection of our hearty red wine varietals paired with locally produced artisan chocolates from French Broad Chocolate and discover why each is a heavenly match.

Cozy up with your sweetheart at our Wine Bar and enjoy our favorite red, white, and sparkling winter varietals by the glass or bottle. At our Wine Shop, you can restock your cellar while marveling at the stunning blown-glass Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier by world-renowned artist, Dale Chihuly, on display.

Couple hiking near The Inn on Biltmore Estate during the winter season
Wintertime offers spectacular long-range mountain views from the trails and meadows on our private estate.

3. Outdoor adventure awaits

Bundle up and experience the breathtaking beauty of George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre mountain estate! Choose from guided activities, such as hikes, river strolls, horse-drawn carriage rides, and falconry, or embark on your own to explore our 22 miles of private nature trails and acres of historic gardens.

If a more restorative getaway is what you’re longing for, consider unique estate activities such as forest bathing, nature journaling, guided yoga and meditation, or even bird-watching!

Tip: New this winter season, all Biltmore House admission tickets include FREE next-day grounds access, which means you have even more time to explore all that the estate has to offer!

Biltmore Blacksmith at work
Watch our blacksmith work and learn more about the craft in Antler Hill Barn. Hours vary seasonally.

2. Make your way around Antler Hill Village

This European-inspired village boasts unique opportunities to learn more about Biltmore’s farming legacy and the Vanderbilt family, shop for momentos to remember your winter visit to Biltmore, and savor field-to-table flavors at our estate restaurants… all in one convenient location!

While exploring Biltmore’s Antler Hill Village, be sure to make your way to the Barn to see craft demonstrations from our regional and estate history. Not only is it fascinating to watch artisans like our resident blacksmith at work—it’s also quite cozy in the Smithy Shop.

West facade of Biltmore House in snow
While snowfall isn’t common in our area, it is a spectacular treat when the estate is blanketed in white.

1. Wake to an 8,000-acre winter wonderland

Discover just how restorative and romantic a winter visit to Biltmore Estate can be with an overnight stay! Imagine waking up with tranquil Blue Ridge Mountain beauty, world-class hospitality, and all of our top wintertime activities just outside your door.

All this and more is available when you plan your winter visit now to experience Biltmore’s most peaceful season with the lowest rates of the year on admission and special overnight packages. To experience the grandeur of Biltmore all year long plus exclusive discounts and perks, consider joining our Annual Passholder family.

Top 6 Rainy Day Activities at Biltmore

What’s the best way to enjoy all that our sprawling, 8,000-acre private mountain estate has to offer when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating? 

In George and Edith Vanderbilt’s day, you could curl up in the Library with a good book, enjoy a dip in the indoor pool, warm up with a brisk workout in the Gymnasium, or even spend the afternoon bowling—all without ever leaving Biltmore House! Fast-forward over a century and there’s still plenty to do to ensure a rainy day doesn’t damper your vacation to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina!

Things to do on a rainy day at Biltmore

📷 by @heyheatherangel on Instagram. See more from our guests with #ChihulyatBiltmore.

1. Immerse yourself in the spellbinding world of Chihuly

Just as George Vanderbilt loved sharing world-class artwork with his guests over a century ago, we look forward to sharing Chihuly at Biltmore with you! Be transported to another world as you move through the breathtaking galleries of our Amherst event center. In addition to the awe-inspiring installations in Amherst, guests have the opportunity to marvel at two large-scale installations presented on estate grounds: A Winter White and Glacier Blue Tower on the East Terrace in front of Biltmore House and a freestanding Torchlight Chandelier at the Entry Green in Antler Hill Village.

Tip: This special exhibition is on display March 25, 2024, through January 5, 2025 and is included with select ticket types or as part of select lodging packages. Biltmore Annual Passholders may purchase discounted exhibition-only tickets. Don’t wait to plan your visit.

Inside Biltmore's Conservatory
Biltmore’s historic Conservatory is a tropical getaway all year long, but an especially nice retreat during a rainy day at Biltmore!

2. Explore our historic Conservatory

Situated down the hill from Biltmore House and past the Walled Garden, this glorious garden-under-glass is a fascinating place to explore in any weather, but it’s especially nice to enjoy all the benefits of a lush garden full of tropical plants without getting drenched in a downpour!

Butler's Pantry
Step inside the Bulter’s Pantry of Biltmore House with a specialty tour.

3. Upgrade your visit to include a Biltmore House specialty tour

Let the rain fall while you experience a different side of Biltmore House and its surroundings. Specialty tours such as the Biltmore House Backstairs Tour offer a behind-the-scenes look at the rarely-seen domestic staff’s areas and what it was like to work at America’s Largest Home over a century ago.

Tip: Specialty tours offered in Biltmore House will change periodically and may have limited capacity. For our most current offerings, please visit our Tours page online.

Guests at The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad exhibbition
Learn about the Vanderbilt family and their travels, including their fateful decision to not board the Titanic as planned.

4. Learn more about the Vanderbilts at The Biltmore Legacy

Antler Hill Village is home to The Biltmore Legacy, an exhibition space that features a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Vanderbilt family and their treasures with our The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad exhibition. Exploring this guest-favorite exhibition is a perfect rainy-day activity at Biltmore!

Biltmore Wines
Discover our entire portfolio of Biltmore Wines at our Winery in Antler Hill Village.

5. Enjoy Biltmore Wines at America’s most-visited winery

Let it pour outside while you enjoy the “pours” inside at America’s most-visited winery! This original estate dairy barn was converted to a winery in 1985, and you can experience a complimentary wine tasting (included with any admission type!) and other delicious offerings! Plus, Biltmore’s Winery recently welcomed a stunning Chandelier by world-renowned artist, Dale Chihuly, which is on display daily inside our Wine Shop.

Afternoon Tea at The Inn
Savor decadent scones as part of the elegant Afternoon Tea service offered at The Inn.

6. Shop, Savor, and Stay!

What better way to wait out a rain shower than to savor decadent farm-to-table meals or pick out momentos from your time at Biltmore? With over 20 unique shops and restaurants on the estate available only to Biltmore guests and Passholders, you’ll have plenty to choose from!

Make your time on George Vanderbilt’s visionary estate even more memorable with an overnight stay at one of our unique lodging properties, including our four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate, cozy Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, or a historic, private Cottage on Biltmore Estate.

Raindrops settle on coneflowers in Biltmore's gardens.
Summer rain showers leave glistening drops on native coneflowers in Biltmore’s gardens.

BONUS: Pack an umbrella and explore our gardens and grounds

The weather in the mountains changes frequently, so much so, that the locals in Asheville often say “If you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes.” During light showers, you might even enjoy grabbing your umbrella or rain poncho for a peaceful stroll through our historic gardens.

Tip: Be sure to check the local weather radar and have a backup plan in case the forecasts predict more severe weather than a mild sprinkle.