ASHEVILLE NC – The sight of sunny daffodils popping up at Biltmore’s entrance gate is a sure signal that the estate’s annual springtime celebration – Biltmore Blooms – is about to begin.
Biltmore Blooms starts on the first day of spring, March 20, 2015. Biltmore’s gardens and grounds will flourish as a progression of colorful blooms marches across the estate, paying homage to the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted and his final project – George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore gardens. Biltmore Blooms runs through May 25, 2015.
Quickly following the daffodil bloom, thousands of tulips will begin popping up, with a concentrated bloom occurring in the Walled Garden pattern beds. The tulips this year will feature shades of purple, pink white and orange. Later in the season azaleas in the Azalea Garden and all around the property will flower, as will rhododendron, roses and vibrant annuals and perennials. For planning vacations during Biltmore Blooms, stay up to date with the weekly bloom report from Parker Andes, the estate’s director of horticulture at www.biltmore.com/bloomreport, starting March 2, 2015.
“Dressing Downton” exhibition
Adding to this year’s celebration, Biltmore House is the site of “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times,” an exhibition of 45 costumes worn by the actors in the popular PBS Masterpiece series, “Downton Abbey.” The elaborate costumes are grouped in rooms throughout the House and give guests a sense of what it must have been like when the Vanderbilt family lived in the house. Exhibition runs through May 25.
Orchids highlight the early days of spring
At the start of Biltmore Blooms, spring sights are abundant inside Biltmore House. From March 20 through April 12, guests may step into the glass-domed Winter Garden to enjoy hundreds of fragrant exotic orchids on display there. This room is typically roped-off to guests, but will be open for a limited time.
Guests will want to take note of the elaborate fresh flower arrangements within the rooms of Biltmore House this spring. The estate’s floral team created original designs inspired by the costumes on display, as well as the era depicted on “Downton Abbey.” The Entry Hall welcomes with a towering French wire basket arrangement of green and purple hydrangea, purple and lavender stock and green and purple roses. A dramatic fabric in the same colors drapes down from the ceiling. The drape and floral palette was chosen to complement and suggest Violet Crawley’s purple print day dress on display in the Morning Salon.
Garden-related activities and events complete Biltmore’s spring offerings:
Learning in the gardens
-The Conservatory is the site of “Orchid Talks,” conducted by estate gardening experts. The 45-minute session discusses Biltmore’s history with orchids and details about the plants displayed in the building’s special orchid room. 11 a.m. weekdays. Included in admission.
-“Ask a Gardener” stations set up in the Walled Garden give guests an opportunity to talk with Biltmore’s horticulture experts. Included in admission.
-Gardening and floral demonstrations are offered daily at A Gardener’s Place at the Conservatory. The sessions are “Exquisite Orchids for Beginners” at 1 p.m. and “Nurturing Treasured Houseplants” at 2 p.m. Included in admission.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Sunday April 5
The estate’s annual Easter Egg Hunt for children ages 2 to 9 takes place on Easter Sunday, April 5, on the front lawn of Biltmore House. Entertainment includes music, storytelling, magic shows, games, crafts and photos with the Easter Rabbit. Hunts begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Registration begins two hours before each hunt and closes 15 minutes prior. Parents should bring their own baskets for children to collect eggs. Included in admission.
Mother’s Day Mom Gets in Free
Treat Mom to a day at Biltmore on Mother’s Day, May 10. All mothers receive free admission with the purchase of an adult or youth ticket.
Special Dining Experiences
-Easter Sunday Brunch: Served at Deerpark and the Dining Room at Inn on Biltmore Estate on Easter Sunday, April 5. Reservations are recommended.
-Cedric’s English Sunday Brunch: Served at Cedric’s Tavern in Antler Hill Village, Sundays through May 24, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Biltmore Winery will offer daily tastings of its Limited Release Spring Seasonal Wine in addition to other complimentary tastings and a production tour, included with the price of admission. Specialty tours such as the Vine to Wine Tour, Biltmore Bubbles Tour, and the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour are available at an additional cost.
Antler Hill Village and Outdoor Activities
-Weekends will feature live music in Antler Hill Village and Grape Stomps at the Winery entrance for children Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. Enjoy the nearby farm and visit with the friendly resident animals and their spring newborns such as baby goats, lambs, chicks and bunnies.
-Biltmore’s Outdoor Adventure Center is located in the village and offers Segway tours, horseback riding, carriage rides, fly-fishing, biking, float trips along the French Broad River and the Land Rover Driving Experience.
Stay at Biltmore
Expand your Biltmore Blooms visit with a stay at the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate. Enjoy the same gracious hospitality experienced by George and Edith Vanderbilt’s guests. The Inn is offering a variety of packages this spring, including a Dressing Downton package.
Special Spring Savings
-March 20 through May 21, youth estate admission is half the price of adult admission.
-Purchase estate admission tickets seven days in advance of your visit and receive $10 off.
-Moms receive free admission with the purchase of an adult or youth ticket on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10.
Visit www.biltmore.com for ticket, reservations and visitor information. Or call (800) 411-3812.
Located in Asheville, N.C., Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Today, Biltmore includes Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning Winery and Antler Hill Farm; the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues; and Biltmore For Your Home, the company’s licensed products division. To learn more about Biltmore, go to www.biltmore.com or call 877-BILTMORE.