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Summer of Glass VIP Weekend Tours

A unique offering of Summer of Glass, the comprehensive VIP Weekend Package is only available to a limited number of participants once each month in June, July, August and September. This Summer of Glass VIP Weekend package includes opportunities to see Chihuly at Biltmore AND much of what makes this region a destination for glass in the Southeast.

Summer of Glass VIP Weekends are certain to be a ‘glass-lovers’ dream trip! These packaged itineraries are not only a fantastic way to experience some of the best art glass in the nation, but also include your ticket to enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains; the splendor of Biltmore Estate; local Southern hospitality; the flavors of Asheville’s foodie culture; and a fun-filled weekend to remember.

Summer of Glass VIP Weekends Dates

Book online now! July 13-15 | August 17-19 | September 7-9

Exclusive Summer of Glass VIP Weekend packages include:

  • Welcome at the NC Glass Center with glass blowing demonstration
  • Private visit to the North Carolina and the Studio Glass Movement exhibition, with a welcome and overview from the curator
  • Reservations at a premier partner restaurant featuring glass art
  • Guided tour of Asheville galleries with glass exhibitions; meet the owners/directors and hear their perspectives.
  • Ticket to Chihuly Nights at Biltmore
  • Guided day-long tour to four professional glass artists’ private studios; lunch and transportation included. This is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often!
    • June: Robert Stephan; Carl Powell; Alex Bernstein; Courtney Dodd & Nick Fruin.
    • July: John Littleton & Kate Vogel; Rick & Valerie Beck; Mark Peiser; Dean Allison.
    • August: Hayden Wilson; Pablo Soto; Alex Bernstein; Robert Stephan.
    • September: Robert Levin; Billy & Kate Bernstein; Kenny Pieper; Jeff & Yaffa Todd.
  • Glass Collector Home visit offered in two of the four VIP weekends (June and August only)*
  • Private brunch at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery with guest glass artist
  • A hands-on glass-making experience at the NC Glass Center
  • Ticket to return and tour Chihuly at Biltmore during the daytime
  • A swag bag for each participant, with gifts and Asheville art-insider information.

*June and August VIP weekends include a Collector Home visit. July and September VIP weekends include studios in the beautiful Toe River Valley near Penland School of Craft.

Package Rates & Daily Itineraries for Summer of Glass VIP Weekend

Cost for VIP Weekend: $750

Please Note: This is a 3-day event that begins on Friday morning and ends on Sunday afternoon! Be sure your accommodations plan includes staying Thursday night – or arriving early on Friday.

Friday (the same for each VIP weekend):

  • 10 a.m. - Welcome at the NC Glass Center in Asheville’s River Arts District. Get a first look at glass with a hot glass demonstration and meet the staff of this educational nonprofit.
  • 10:45 a.m. - We’ll walk (van also available) to the North Carolina and the Studio Glass Movement exhibition, also in the River Arts District, and hear from the curator. This is our introduction to the vital role WNC artisans played in national studio glass from its beginnings in the 1960s to present day.
  • 11:30 a.m. - A van will take us from the River Arts District to downtown Asheville for lunch. Choose from among partner restaurants Curate, Rhubarb and Chestnut, each featuring glass on display. (Cost of food not included.)
  • 2 p.m. - Your tour guide will lead the group to three downtown galleries featuring glass. You’ll experience a director-led tour at Blue Spiral 1, the Southeast’s largest fine art and craft gallery and home to many regional glass artists whose works will be on view in a special glass exhibition; next onto Bender Gallery, the region’s only contemporary fine art gallery specializing in museum-quality glass sculpture by leading national and international artists. A tour of gallery artists and the featured exhibition will be led by one of the gallery owners; and Lexington Glassworks, a working studio and glass gallery set in a 1940s warehouse and featuring high-quality custom lighting, hand-blown glass, and a craft beer bar. Enjoy a local craft brew and watch the artists create one-of-kind glass.
  • 5:15 p.m. - You are free to have dinner on your own (check out a list of area restaurants here), and then use your ticket to enjoy the Chihuly Nights at Biltmore after-dark experience.

Saturday (will be different for each VIP weekend--the full day is estimated to run 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., depending on the specific lineup for the month):

  • June: An all-day studio tour in the Asheville area, where we will meet Alex Bernstein, Robert Stephan, Carl Powell, Courtney Dodd, & Nick Fruin. Lunch is included. Following the studio tour, we will enjoy a visit to a glass collector's home.
  • July: The studio tour includes a drive to the Penland School of Crafts community to see John Littleton & Kate Vogel, Rick & Valerie Beck, Mark Peiser, and Dean Allison. We will have a catered lunch at the recently remodeled and expanded Penland Gallery, and have time to explore this lovely space. This day we’ll be in the van a little longer as we travel from Asheville to the Toe River Communities – it’s a beautiful drive and we’ll be there before you know it!
  • August: An all-day studio tour in the Asheville area, where we will meet Hayden Wilson, Pablo Soto, Alex Bernstein, and Robert Stephan. Lunch is included. Following the studio tour, we will enjoy a visit to a glass collector's home.
  • September: The studio tour includes a drive to the Celo community along the South Toe River in Burnsville, where we'll meet Robert Levin, William & Katherine Bernstein, Kenny Pieper, and Yaffa & Jeff Todd. A catered lunch is included.
  • All Weekends: Saturday evening, guests are encouraged to enjoy downtown Asheville – take in a music show, visit one of the many wonderful independent restaurants downtown, have a craft brew, or just relax and unwind.

Sunday (the same for each VIP weekend):

  • 10:15 a.m. - We will meet in the River Arts District, and ride in the van to downtown Asheville to have brunch at Blue Spiral 1. During brunch, a regional glass artist will speak about their work and career.
  • 11:30 a.m. - Our group will travel back to the River Arts District to each have a hands-on opportunity at the NC Glass Center! This exciting workshop will allow you to try your hand (with help of an experienced artist) at making an ornament, paperweight or glass pendant. It’s the chance to make your own creation, a keepsake of the experience to take home with you.
  • 2:30 p.m. - You are welcome to use your Biltmore ticket to return and view Chihuly at Biltmore in the daytime.
  • This concludes the VIP tour – but please know we are open year round and welcome you to come back to experience glass in Western NC anytime!

Book online now! July 13-15 | August 17-19 | September 7-9

Please note: Accommodations are NOT included in Summer of Glass VIP Weekends. Click here to search hotel rates and availability for your desired travel dates.

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