As summer comes around, many locals are looking to spend their summer afternoons at Biltmore. Maybe a visit to the winery followed by dinner. Or a bike ride up the Deerpark Trail to the house. Lunch plans by the lagoon while lounging in the hammock? All great ideas.
This year Biltmore has thrown a new idea into the mix for beauty- Chihuly. What is it? Its essentially blown glass sculptures created by Dale Chihuly. These are popular across the country and are created specifically for their locations. These specific exhibits are mostly outdoors and include a night time light show.
Our typical summer evening the last few years has included taking a ride up the Deerpark trail from Antler hill village after eating dinner at home. We ride up and park at the house. Walk around the gardens, then ridge back to our car. This places us in the gardens around 7-8pm. Its quiet and beautiful.
However this year it might not happen.
We got the opportunity to experience Chihuly last weekend when my in-laws were in town. We are season passholders, but to see Chihuly at night at the Biltmore house and Gardens, you must have a special pass and arm band. This occurs between 7-9pm nightly (do you see where I’m going with this?).
Tickets to see nighttime Chihuly for a passholder cost around $51 per adult, and $25 per child 10 and older (Under 10 are free). This is approximately $20 cheaper than someone without an annual pass.
What do you get with this pass?
You can spend all day on the estate. This means you have full access to Antler Hill Village from morning and on. And you can be in the gardens and house after 7pm.
When you call to get your pass, you can pick a time to walk through the house. Don’t be mis-led though, this is not a full house tour. It is literally ONLY the 1st floor.
I’m going to walk you through our experience!
We arrive at the ticket building at 3pm to get our tickets to get everyone in. My in-laws are not passholders so they needed these to get on the estate.
At this point they gave us our pink armbands as well and marked on our tickets. We all needed these tickets and these bands. There is a special map that they give you that lists all of the Chihuly exhibits. There are around 16 total. 2 are at Antler hill.
We drove on to Antler Hill village and parked. Went to see the 2 Chihuly exhibits while it was still bright outside. My father in law wanted pics of them both in bright light and at night.
The village has a free grape stomping area set up outdoors and we took advantage and took home a souvenir. There is also a glass blower set up, showing onlookers how it is done!
We walked over to the train display set up between the Village and the Barn. The boys got 1 bowl of ice cream to share while we were there (dinner was coming soon).
We took a walk through the Legacy. In all my years we had never been in this. Its essentially a small museum of the Biltmore Estate. A historical walk through including the family tree and how the estate came to what it is today. Give yourself around 30 minutes to walk through for the best view.
At 4:30pm we walked down to the winery and used our Wine Club membership to sit at the Premium section and get a free glass of wine. The kids get grapejuice! If you are a Wine Club member, you can take advantage of a free glass of wine every day for you and up to 4 people at your table (even those not members).
We left there at 5 and walked across the short walkway to the Village Social for our dinner reservations. I knew it would take us over an hour to eat and knew we would want to get up to the house before 7. I went online a few days before to get the reservation. However in busy weekends, you may want to call sooner than that because slots may not be available.
We drove from Antler Hill down to the main ticket gate as if we were leaving the estate, and took a right, driving up to the estate. We chose to park by the Garden Shop. To do this, just let the parking attendants know you plan to do this and drive on through. However the gates may close after 7pm and you may not be able to do this. We drove through around 6:30pm. We weren’t stopped at any point at this moment. We slowly made our way through the greenhouse and looked at the indoor Chihuly there.
We made into the gardens and around 7pm started to see the Biltmore Estate workers walking around and asking for bands and tickets. They especially wanted to see our bands. I accidently left ours in the car so I had to run and grab them. She gave my in-laws, husband and kids their bands and caught me as I was coming back in and took the bands in my envelope to trade. She told me that she had to turn numbers in at night and needed exact numbers. We placed our bands on our wrists loosely so that we could possibly wear them again…
Our timeslot to walk through the house was a 8:15pm. So we had plenty of time to walk around in the light and get photos of all of the exhibits in the light. We approached the house 15 minutes earlier than our time slot with no issues. They checked that we had bands and tickets and did not turn us around due to them saying 8:15pm.
We followed the line of people in to see the 1 big exhibit. The estate was taking photos of people in front of this as well. We walked to the outside deck and you could see the sun setting. This was a popular view spot for attendees.
We continued walking around the grounds until the sun set. It was not until this time that the nighttime views were really worth it! And this fell around 9pmish. We did not leave the premesis until after 9:30pm in an effort to see all of the exhibits in the dark.
This is a great exhibit and is worth seeing at night more than daytime! The cost is too high in my opinion for a season pass holder. I’m disappointed that this will limit where we are allowed to be in the evenings over the summer! But if you have an opportunity to see this, I recommend you do.