ASHEVILLE, N.C. – While every season brings unique touches to a Biltmore visit, springtime 2016 is full of new estate offerings. Biltmore Blooms begins the first day of spring and this year’s celebration includes not only flowers coloring acres of gardens, but also a major new costume exhibition, an opportunity to be among the first to stay at Biltmore’s new hotel, tastings of new wine releases, the addition of new educational seminars, and much more.
Biltmore’s spring gardens
Biltmore’s grounds flourish this spring as a progression of colorful blooms blanket the estate, paying homage to the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted and his final professional project– George Vanderbilt’s gardens at Biltmore. The estate’s celebration of Olmsted’s vision and the beauty of springtime, Biltmore Blooms, kicks-off March 19 and runs through May 26, 2016.
In the earliest days of Biltmore Blooms, guests enjoy the tropical hues of orchids in the Conservatory as the exotic flowers reach peak bloom in March. Crocus, forsythia and daffodils are among the first blooms in the outdoor gardens, which give way to thousands of tulips in April with a concentrated tulip bloom occurring in Biltmore’s Walled Garden pattern beds. May promises irises, roses, and acres of azaleas with mountain laurels and rhododendrons close behind. The estate’s bloom schedule continues into the summer.
For trip planning during Biltmore Blooms, stay up-to-date with what’s currently flowering with weekly reports from the estate’s director of horticulture Parker Andes at Biltmore.com/bloomreport.
Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film
Throughout the duration of Biltmore Blooms, Biltmore is host to a special exhibition that is included with regular estate admission, Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film. More than 40 wedding gowns and wedding attire from 19 films such as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Out of Africa are currently on display in rooms throughout Biltmore House. The exhibition continues in the estate’s Antler Hill Village, featuring wedding fashion and stories from the Vanderbilt family. A highlight includes the first-ever display of the Lee Family wedding veil, worn by Mary Lee Ryan, bride of George Vanderbilt’s grandson. This family heirloom was also worn by Mary Lee Ryan’s cousin Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy when she married John F. Kennedy.
Elaborate indoor fresh flower arrangements complement costumes in the exhibition. For example, five costumes from The Duchess, featuring the wedding gown worn by actress Keira Knightly and the wedding suit worn by actor Ralph Fiennes, reside in Biltmore’s Banquet Hall. Flowers and ribbons in hues of peach, cream, light blue and orange cascade from the room’s chandeliers, reflecting the film’s English Rococo era. In Biltmore House’s Library, red roses accent the wedding dress worn by actress Helena Bonham Carter in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. More information can be found at biltmore.com/events/fashionable-romance.
Two gardening and floral demonstrations are offered daily at A Gardener’s Place located in the Conservatory. The sessions are Enchanted Fairy Gardens at 1 p.m. and Say ‘I Do’ to Orchids at 2 p.m. Demonstrations are included with estate admission.
Annual Easter egg hunt: Sunday, March 27
One of the largest in the southeast, Biltmore’s annual Easter egg hunt takes place on EasterSunday, March 27, on the front lawn of Biltmore House. Entertainment is for children aged two thorough seven and includes sweet treats, magic shows, children’s music and stories, activities, 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. Parents should bring their own baskets for children to collect eggs. The Easter egg hunt is included in regular estate admission.
Special dining experiences
- Moveable Feast in Cedric’s Garden: Experience one of Biltmore’s signature wine dinners on April 30, hosted at the estate’s newest outdoor event location Cedric’s Garden. Advance reservations required.
- Easter Sunday Brunch: On March 27, special Easter Sunday brunches are served at both the Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate and Deerpark Restaurant.
- Mother’s Day Brunch: On Sunday, May 8, special Mother’s Day brunches are being served at both the Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate and Deerpark Restaurant.
New beginnings at Biltmore Winery
The most visited winery in the U.S. gets a refresh this spring with an expanded tasting room and the following new wine releases and programs for wine lovers.
- New Aromatic Wine Tastings: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., stop by the outdoor fountain at the winery to awaken your senses with a guided wine tasting. Cost is $20 per person in addition to estate admission.
- New Sparkling Romance Seminar: Taste a selection from Biltmore’s sparkling wine portfolio, savor a variety of petit fours, and learn about the role of sparkling wines in wedding celebrations throughout time. Cost is $25 in addition to estate admission.
- New Celebratory Wine Release — Romance: The fashions featured in Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film have a Biltmore wine worthy of the elaborate costumes with a new sec sparkling wine called Romance. The sparkler offers a delicate strawberry bouquet and flavors of honey and melon.
- Limited Release Spring Seasonal Wine: This spring’s semi-sweet rose wine is made from Merlot and Cabernet France varietals from the 2015 harvest season.
Spring break getaways
Spring days are perfect for exploring Biltmore’s 8,000 acres of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Outdoor Adventure Center offers Segway tours, horseback riding, carriage rides, fly-fishing, biking, kayaking and float trips along the French Broad River, the Land Rover Driving Experience and more. Young guests can also encounter chicks, goats and lambs at the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village.