Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

Last spring, my husband and I visited the breathtaking tulip display at the Biltmore Estate Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina. While there, we learned of an upcoming installation of large-scale glass sculptures by the renowned artist Dale Chihuly in the gardens between May 17th and October 7th. Having been dazzled by an exhibit of Chihuly’s fanciful blown glass creations at Phipps Conservatory And Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh in 2007, I resolved to return to Asheville for the chance to view Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore.

Biltmore Gardens Spring 2018 --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Biltmore Blooms Spring 2018

Despite the imminent arrival of Hurricane Florence on our doorstep, my sister and I met in Asheville on the afternoon of September 13th, determined to get a gander at the glass in the gardens. We started off our much-anticipated mini getaway with a delicious lunch of flavorful fish and shrimp tacos from the famous White Duck Taco Shop in downtown Asheville. And as no trip to Asheville (or really anywhere for that matter) would be complete without a little shopping, we followed this up with a visit to The Screendoor. This store is 25,000 square feet of antique and modern home and garden temptation. Both my sister and I found several items we thought about bringing home with us but, uncharacteristically, for myself at least, we showed restraint and resisted bringing half the contents back with us.

Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

Antler Village --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Antler Hill Village & Winery At Biltmore (photo credit)

After getting our shopping fix, we made our way to the Biltmore Estate. Our ticket granted us access to the property during the day and entrance to a first-floor self-guided tour of the mansion at 7:45 in the evening. Since it was raining, we decided to take advantage of the complimentary wine tasting offered at the Winery located in the Antler Village at Biltmore. While standing around the sparkling bar in the expansive tasting room, we were treated to some surprisingly palate-pleasing samples of Biltmore Estate Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, and Syrah wines. The Malbec was so good that we headed over to the Wine Bar, where we shared a bottle and a trio of hummus with pita chips.

Chihuly Turquoise And Erbium Fiori glass sculpture in the fountain at Antler Village--Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Fountain in Antler Village Turquoise And Erbium Fiori 2017

You would think after all the wine and the hearty appetizer we consumed that the eating part of our visit would be concluded, but not so. When we left the Wine Bar, we walked next door to the Bistro for a fabulous farm-to-table dinner. I had a lovely creamy summer risotto with tomatoes, corn, and snow peas, and my sister enjoyed the seared scallops with mafalde pasta. And lest you think I’m a piker when it comes to eating, you will be reassured to know that I couldn’t pass up the grilled peach cheesecake for dessert. Yum!

Chihuly glass sculpture Alabaster Amber Spire Towers in Antler Village --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Antler Village Alabaster Amber Spire Towers 2017

When we finally waddled out of the restaurant, we viewed a couple of Chihuly’s sculptures which were installed at Antler Village. We then drove over to the Mansion parking area (shuttles between Antler Village and the Mansion are only available to guests of the property hotels.) From the parking lot, we were able to take a shuttle right to the front entrance of the house.

--Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Front Lawn Biltmore Sole D’Oro 2017  (Photo Credit)

We arrived about 4o minutes before our entrance time to the house, so we decided to explore the display in the Italian Garden while we waited for our self-guided tour. The Italian Garden is closest to the house and, during the growing season, contains two large pools filled with Koi fish and water plants. We entered the garden at dusk and observed many uplit glass sculptures “floating” in the pools. I particularly love the boat filled with a kaleidoscope of colorful marbles.

Chihuly glass sculpture installation in the Italian Garden at Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Italian Garden Float Boat 2017
Chihuly glass floats in the Italian Garden at Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Niijima Floats 2017
Water lilies and Koi fish in the Italian Garden pools --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Water lilies and Koi fish in the Italian Garden pools
Chihuly sculpture Palazzo Ducale tower in the Biltmore Italian Garden --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Palazzo Ducale Tower 1996

Chihuly sculpture Italian Garden Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

Chihuly glass sculpture Neodymium Reeds with Fiori Verdi in the Italian Garden Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Neodymium Reeds With Fiori Verdi 2014
Papyrus in the pools of the Italian Garden Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

Chihuly glass sculpture in the Italian Garden at Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

Chihuly glass sculpture Fiori Boat in the Italian Garden at Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Fiori Boat 2017

As time grew near for our house tour, we made our way to the queue at the front entrance, where we encountered another striking cobalt installation.

Chihuly glass sculpture at the Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Sky Blue And Cobalt Fiori 2017

Inside the mansion, there is a central atrium they call the Winter Garden. This interior garden got the Chihuly treatment as well with a large installation of “torches” that sparkled with light and golden-hued glass.

Chihuly sculpture, Laguna Torcello II in the Winter Garden at Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Laguna Torcello II 2017

Chihuly glass sculpture in the Winter Garden in the Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

We entered the house at a quarter to eight, and it was quite dark by then. Luckily for me, I have toured the Biltmore many times. Sadly, for my sister, who had never visited before, the house was lit so poorly she didn’t get a great view of all of the stunning architectural details that George Vanderbilt incorporated into his American castle.

Unfortunately, the dimness continued when we exited the house. I imagine that they wanted the lighted sculptures to stand out in the landscape. But it was rainy and so dark that the garden pathways were quite treacherous to navigate. Nevertheless, we gingerly made our way down to the display along the Pergola, where we encountered a collection of sculptures consisting of groupings of glowing reeds “planted” along the stone wall.

Pergola Garden Fiori 2018

From there, we headed down the path toward the Walled Garden and the Conservatory. We viewed these tall ruby Red Reeds, which were situated on the hillside by the Shrub Garden, as we dashed through the rain toward the Walled Garden.

Chihuly glass sculpture, Red Reeds --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
I actually took this shot of the Red Reeds 2017 earlier before we entered the house. By the time we came out and passed by them again in the dark, it was raining too hard to stop and get another shot.

Two similar red and yellow towering sculptures adorned the Walled Garden. They were quite striking and bright in the darkened garden. But I couldn’t help wishing that they had provided some additional lighting so that we could appreciate the sculptures in relation to the landscape. Additional lighting would have also been appreciated for safety’s sake.

Chihuly glass sculpture, Painted Tower --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Paintbrush Tower 2014 
--Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Cattails and Copper Birch Reeds, 2015

Also, in the walled garden, flanking the central path near the entrance of the Conservatory, there were two luminous installations entitled Cattails and Copper Reeds.

--Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

Inside the Conservatory, they’d hung three sculptural chandeliers. These gorgeous glass confections still manage to dazzle amidst the hundreds of lush exotic plants, including orchids and bromeliads.

Chihuly chandelier in the Conservatory at Biltmore --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore
Burnished Amber, Citron, and Teal Chandeliers, 2017

Chihuly glass sculpture, Burnished Amber, Citron, and Teal Chandelier --Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

Overall, even though we experienced inclement weather, we had a wonderful day and night at the beautiful Biltmore. If you are planning to take in Chihuly at America’s Castle, note that the exhibit ends on October 7th, 2018. Also, if you wish to see the sculptures lit up at night, I would advise you to visit the garden no later than 6:30 pm when it is dusk, rather than later when it’s pitch dark, as the gardens are not sufficiently lit for optimal viewing or safety.

Explore the stunning glass sculpture of famed artist, Dale Chihuly in the lush gardens of Biltmore. #gardens, #Biltmore, #Chihuly, #glass sculpture

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in:

A Spring Tour Of The Biltmore Estate Gardens

Magical Chinese Lantern Festival

Astonishing Paper Art Fashions

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Metamorphosis Monday, Gardens Galore, Inspire Me Monday, The Scoop, Feathered Nest Friday, Best Of The Weekend

14 thoughts on “Chihuly At Night At The Biltmore

  1. Wow, just spectacular. I particularly love the cobalt installation and the tiny boat. Good for you for making the best of a rained out couple of days!

  2. I went there! We were passing through on our way back home to TX. I’d never been and wish we could have stayed an entire week! That place is beyond words with the foliage! We only got to see the exhibit during the day so thank you for posting the night time pictures. So beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Cindy. I am so glad you had an opportunity to visit Biltmore and also to see the Chihuly exhibit. It is truly a magical place.

  3. Just stunning! We were planning on a visit last week but Florence threw a monkey wrench in our plans. I hope we can work it in before the end of the month. Thank you for sharing your night viewing tips!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Mary. I hope you are able to view the Chihuly exhibit before Oct 7th. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

  4. What a gorgeous tour of Chihuly’s fabulous art! Your shots are stunning and the one in front of the mansion is so striking. I visited Chihuly’s Garden and Glass in Seattle, a couple of years ago, his work is unbelievable. Thanks so much for sharing at Gardens Galore!

    1. Thanks, Pam for commenting and for hosting Gardens Galore. There is definitely something magical about Chihuly’s work. Glass is such a dynamic medium –the colors, shapes, and the way it catches the light all fascinate me. There is just something wild about Chihuly’s sculptures that make them both fit perfectly into a garden setting and stand out at the same time. So glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. Absolutely beautiful. I think this installation out did Pittsburgh’s show. Your photos are terrific.I have seen two others ( including the Chihuly museum in St. Pete’s) and also not as good. Thanks for sharing and bringing back lovely memories..

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment. I have seen Chihuly’s stunning work in several other places too and I agree that the installation in Biltmore’s Gardens is the best. I think it may just be the magic of Biltmore!

  6. I thought I commented, but it seems to have disappeared. Anyway, I am visiting from Everyday Living. When I saw your picture on Pam’s post, I knew I had to come visit. I live in the Asheville area and we are passholders to the Biltmore Estates. We saw the exhibit both day and night. It was stunning. I see you like the Screen Door. Have you been to Tobacco Barn Antiques? A fun place. And The Fig Bistro in Biltmore village is a great place for lunch or dinner. Nice to “meet you”.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Penny. We visit Asheville often but I haven’t been to Tobacco Barn Antiques or The Fig Bistro. I will definitely put them my list for future trips. I really appreciate your suggestions. Cheers!

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