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Biltmore's gardens set to sprout Chihuly glass works at historic North Carolina estate

Biltmore's gardens set to sprout Chihuly glass works at historic North Carolina estate
"Red Reeds," shown here in Grand Rapids, Mich., will be part of the Chihuly at Biltmore exhibit that opens May 17 in Asheville, N.C. (Parks Anderson / Chihuly Studio)

The historic gardens at the Biltmore estate in Asheville, N.C., will be a little more dazzling come May. Intricate large-scale glass creations by artist Dale Chihuly will be displayed amid the greenery at the sprawling French chateau-style home built by George Vanderbilt.

Expect to see towering red reeds made of glass in the Shrub Garden, a floating boat of glass spheres in the Italian Garden, three chandeliers in the estate's conservatory and one of Chihuly's signature suns on the front lawn.

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One of Dale Chihuly's signature suns will adorn the Biltmore's front lawn. This one was installed at Bentonville, Ark.
One of Dale Chihuly's signature suns will adorn the Biltmore's front lawn. This one was installed at Bentonville, Ark. (Scott Mitchell Leen / Chihuly Studio)

Chihuly at Biltmore marks the first art exhibit in the gardens designed by landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted, who created the look and layout of New York's Central Park.

A boat filled with glass balls will be on display in Biltmore's Italian Garden.
A boat filled with glass balls will be on display in Biltmore's Italian Garden. (Scott Mitchell Leen / Chihuly Studio)

By day, Biltmore visitors may take a self-guided tour of the house and gardens, and go wine tasting at the estate's Antler Hill Winery.

By night, Chihuly's artworks light up, on selected dates with timed entry. Buy tickets online at least a week in advance for $57 midweek and $65 on weekend or peak dates. Note that day and evening tickets are sold separately.

"Green Hornets and Gold Waterdrops," one of Chihuly's works.
"Green Hornets and Gold Waterdrops," one of Chihuly's works. (Scott Mitchell Leen / Chihuly Studios)

The grounds, by the way, offer nine themed gardens as well as 2.5 miles of paths to explore. Visitors are invited to tour them on their own (included in the day ticket price).

Vanderbilt opened his 250-room country home, Biltmore House, in 1895. At the time it included 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces, according to the website. It now hosts a winery as well as three places to spend the night: the Village Hotel, the Inn and the Cottage.

One of Chihuly's intricate glass works designed as a reflection pool.
One of Chihuly's intricate glass works designed as a reflection pool. (Scott Mitchell Leen / Chihuly Studios)

Chihuly at Biltmore overnight stays come with breakfast buffet, daytime admission to the estate, audio guides, valet parking and a Chihuly gift. (An online check showed rooms at the inn for this package on the first weekend in June starting at $640 a night, excluding tax.)

The exhibit opens May 17 and continues through Oct. 7.

Info: Biltmore, One Lodge Street, Asheville; (800) 411-3812

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