Tulips at Biltmore Estate Rooms a Blooms Historical homes and gorgeous gardens beckon groups BY PATTI NICKELL Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina has often been called “America’s castle,” and with 250 rooms it’s easy to see why. The French Renaissance chateau was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt and is the perfect repository for the Vanderbilt family’s collection of priceless art and antiques. The estate is set within 8,000 acres of landscaped grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. While Biltmore has always been popu- lar with groups, tour operators will have something special to offer clients this year. An exhibition of glass sculptures by noted glass designer Dale Chihuly will be on display from May 17 to Oct. 7. 24 March 2018 Sculptures will be exhibited in the house’s Winter Garden and throughout the grounds. Visitors will also have a chance to see Chihuly pieces illumi- nated during evening experiences every Thursday through Sunday. The Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville is one of the most-visited presidential homes in America. The Greek Revival man- sion and historical site tell the story of the seventh U.S. president and his wife Rachel during some of the fledgling nation’s most turbulent times. Through a series of exhibits and dis- plays, visitors learn the history of both Jackson and the house where he lived on and off from 1804 until his death in 1845. In mid-March every year, to mark the anniversary of Jackson’s birth, The Chihuly’s Water Drops, at Biltmore Estate May 17 to Oct. 7 Homes fit for an aristocrat, a president, a titan and a king COUNTED AMONG THE MOST POPULAR SITES for both individual and group travelers are historical homes and landmark gardens. It seems we can’t get enough of seeing where and how the rich and famous lived, and as for the gardens—well, what could be more beautiful in any season? For tour operators and their house- and garden-loving clients, here are some of the top destinations in North America.