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FLAT ROCK, NORTH CAROLINA

The Vanderbilts and Asheville

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Road Scholar
Program #1787RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for May 3 — May 8, 2015

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Type: Conference Center

Description: Featuring queen-size beds, private baths, and interior access, The Lodge at Bonclarken is a great place for adults and professionals to gather. Wifi Internet access is available throughout the facility. A kitchenette is in the Mike and Lib Patrick Conference Room with refrigerator and a nice coffee pot for lots of fresh coffee. A television is located in the lobby. The building is equipped with special needs accessibility features including ramps, wide doors, roll in showers and other features to ensure accessibility for those who are physically limited.

Contact info:
500 Pine Drive
Flat Rock, NC 28731 USA
phone: 828-692-2223
web: www.bonclarken.org

Room amenities: Wifi Internet Access, queen-size beds, private baths

Facility amenities: Furnishings in each Lodge room include queen-size beds, ironing board and iron, a large dresser, a nightstand and a writing table with two comfortable wing chairs. Wifi Internet service is available throughout the building. Courtesy telephones are located on each floor of the facility. Vending and ice machines are available for your convenience. A laundry room is located inside the facility as well.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: $76.00
Guests are welcome to stay the night before and the night after if housing is available. The rate is $76.00 for a single and $97.00 for a double.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, May 03 - Check-in and pick up program materials, orientati...
Check-in and pick up program materials, orientation, and reception to meet the staff and your new friends.

Arrive To: Check in to rooms beginning at 3:00pm. Registration begins at 4:30pm. Prepare for an exciting week, exploring the surprisingly sophisticated and historic city of Asheville, NC. You will take in the grand home and breathtaking gardens of George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, as well as other unforgettable western North Carolina attractions.

Dinner: Dinner at the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall overlooking the wooded areas of the region. All meals are served in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall unless otherwise noted.

Evening: Dinner will be followed by an orientation meeting, getting the week kicked off in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Participants will receive written material to supplement the educational and historical values of their week.

Lodging: The Lodge at Bonclarken

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Featuring queen-size beds, private baths, and interior access, The Lodge at Bonclarken is a great place for adults and professionals to gather. Wifi Internet access is available throughout the facility. A kitchenette is in the Mike and Lib Patrick Conference Room with refrigerator and a nice coffee pot for lots of fresh coffee. A television is located in the lobby. The building is equipped with special needs accessibility features including ramps, wide doors, roll in showers and other features to ensure accessibility for those who are physically limited.

Contact info:
500 Pine Drive
Flat Rock, NC 28731 USA
phone: 828-692-2223
web: www.bonclarken.org

Room amenities: Wifi Internet Access, queen-size beds, private baths

Facility amenities: Furnishings in each Lodge room include queen-size beds, ironing board and iron, a large dresser, a nightstand and a writing table with two comfortable wing chairs. Wifi Internet service is available throughout the building. Courtesy telephones are located on each floor of the facility. Vending and ice machines are available for your convenience. A laundry room is located inside the facility as well.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: $76.00
Guests are welcome to stay the night before and the night after if housing is available. The rate is $76.00 for a single and $97.00 for a double.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, May 04 - Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, the North ...
Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, the North Carolina Arboretum, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cradle of Forestry and Looking Glass Falls.

Note: There is a considerable amount of leisurely walking today as we explore the vast lands that George W. Vanderbilt owned. Our visit to the Cradle of Forestry includes a 1.3 mile hike on a paved trail.

Breakfast: A full breakfast buffet in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall.

Morning: George Vanderbilt's Western North Carolina estate once encompassed 125,000 acres. After breakfast we'll board the coach and begin our adventure over these vast lands. First we'll visit the Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center where we will learn about the parkway's history, climate and habitat through innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. The parkway is America's longest and most narrow national park, 469 miles long, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The remainder of the morning will be spent on the 434 acre North Carolina Arboretum, a public garden in the Pisgah National Forest that serves as a center for botanical education, research, conservation, economic development and garden demonstrations. It's springtime in the mountains so there should be plenty of blooms!!!!

Lunch: Today we will enjoy a delicious lunch at the beautiful Pisgah Inn. Pisgah Inn is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway next to Mt. Pisgah, a summit towering 5,721 feet above sea level. Be sure to bring your camera! The views from the lodge are spectacular!!!

Afternoon: After lunch we'll continue on our approximate 18 mile southern trek on the Blue Ridge Parkway, meandering through the rocky tunnels and climbing in elevation to the peaks of Mt. Pisgah and Fryingpan Mountain. Exiting the parkway at the Cold Mountain overlook, we'll enter the Pisgah National Forest (lands sold by Edith Vanderbilt to the national park service) and travel down the ridge to the Cradle of Forestry, the site of the first forestry school in America, founded by Dr. Carl Schenck, chief forester for the Biltmore Estate and funded by George Vanderbilt. By the late 1800's most of the timber in the forest lands were gone with the land left barren to rejuvenate itself. Schenck and Vanderbilt saw the need for forestry conservation, established the school and today we enjoy beautiful green forests throughout the region because of their efforts. This historic site offers wonderfully restored buildings, including a schoolhouse, commissary and student quarters, as well as a portable saw mill, logging locomotive and other interesting tools of the trade. The Cradle of Forestry provides a glimpse into the life of a student in the early 1900's as well as an introduction to forestry conservation in America . The discovery center with its many displays and the 1.5 mile paved trail with lots of wildflowers and natural beauty provide a great setting to learn of the beginning of forestry in America. Following our visit we'll journey to Looking Glass Falls, one of the most popular and photographed waterfalls in North Carolina. Then it's back to Bonclarken Assembly with memories of our day's excursion across the vast lands of George Vanderbilt.

Dinner: Full buffet dinner in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall

Evening: This evening a local historian and expert will tell us about the city of Asheville. We'll learn about its beginning as a crossroads for Native American Indians and its growing into one of the highest ranked destinations in the country. We'll learn of her history and how she became a storehouse for music, culture, arts, crafts and other treasures. We'll learn about the architecture of Asheville, a city called the "Paris of the South", because it boasts one of the best collections of art deco buildings in the country. We'll learn about the coming of the railroad and its role in her history as well as the effects of the stock market crash in 1929... over two hundred years of history condensed into an evening lecture to help us gain a greater understanding of the Asheville we will visit tomorrow!!

Lodging: The Lodge at Bonclarken

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Featuring queen-size beds, private baths, and interior access, The Lodge at Bonclarken is a great place for adults and professionals to gather. Wifi Internet access is available throughout the facility. A kitchenette is in the Mike and Lib Patrick Conference Room with refrigerator and a nice coffee pot for lots of fresh coffee. A television is located in the lobby. The building is equipped with special needs accessibility features including ramps, wide doors, roll in showers and other features to ensure accessibility for those who are physically limited.

Contact info:
500 Pine Drive
Flat Rock, NC 28731 USA
phone: 828-692-2223
web: www.bonclarken.org

Room amenities: Wifi Internet Access, queen-size beds, private baths

Facility amenities: Furnishings in each Lodge room include queen-size beds, ironing board and iron, a large dresser, a nightstand and a writing table with two comfortable wing chairs. Wifi Internet service is available throughout the building. Courtesy telephones are located on each floor of the facility. Vending and ice machines are available for your convenience. A laundry room is located inside the facility as well.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: $76.00
Guests are welcome to stay the night before and the night after if housing is available. The rate is $76.00 for a single and $97.00 for a double.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, May 05 - A Gray Line Historical Trolley Tour of Asheville ...
A Gray Line Historical Trolley Tour of Asheville will be the highlight for today along with an optional tour of The Basilica of St. Lawrence.

Note: Learn of the history, culture and architecture of Asheville aboard the Gray Line Trolley, then enjoy the remainder of the day visiting the sites of your choice at your own pace.

Breakfast: A full breakfast buffet in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall

Morning: This morning we will travel to Asheville and begin our visit on board one of Gray Line's Nostalgic RED trolleys for a fully narrated journey, highlighting the history, homes and hot-spots of this "city of surprises." See for yourself a city rich in architecture, history and the arts... alive and inviting!

Lunch: Lunch on your own at one of the many quaint restaurants in downtown Asheville. Eating establishments can be found all over the city and "Tripadvisor.com" lists 603 of those entities. The top spot goes to "Cecilia's Kitchen", a restaurant that specializes in French and Latin cuisine. "The Chocolate Fetish", a chocolate lovers dream earns the second spot, while "Curate" comes in at number three. The specialties there include Mediterranean, Spanish and Tapas. Rounding out the top five are "Plant Vegan Restaurant" and the "Sunny Point Café." Plant Vegan specializes in Vegan of course while the Sunny Point's specialty is American. The list goes on and on and on! Just let us know what your palette craves and we'll point you in the right direction!

Afternoon: After lunch you will have a few hours to explore Asheville on your own. If you are interested in the arts, there's the Asheville Art Museum as well as many downtown galleries. There are all kinds of specialty shops in the downtown area including handicraft shops, coffee and sweet shops as well as local book and gift stores to name a few. You can also take advantage of the hop-on and hop-off services of the Gray Line Trolley. Visit the sites that you want to see...the River Arts District, Pack Square, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the Basilica of St. Lawrence, the Grove Arcade...you decide. Simply hop-on and hop-off at the designated stops along the tour route. Trolleys run throughout the day and pick up in 30 minute intervals. An optional tour of the Basilica of Saint Lawrence is also scheduled for those who would like to learn of its history. The Basilica was designed by Rafael Guastavino Moreno (Valencia, Spain, 1842 – Asheville, North Carolina 1908). Rafael, being commissioned for work by George Vanderbilt on the estate, settled in the Asheville area and designed the basilica in 1905, a structure completed shortly after his death. The Basilica of St. Lawrence boasts the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America measuring a span of 58 by 82 feet. There's lots to do and see, but you may just want to kick-back and relax. No problem, there are numerous wrought-iron benches with plenty of green space for you to enjoy. An afternoon that's all yours... you decide!!!

Dinner: Enjoy a full dinner buffet at the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall

Evening: This evening you'll enjoy a cultural presentation. The mountains are alive with all kinds of talent. In the past we have been entertained by local musicians, storytellers and the MHU national champion Bailey Mountain Cloggers to name a few. Regardless of the presenters, the evening will be fun and entertaining... A great way to close out a wonderful day in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina!

Lodging: The Lodge at Bonclarken

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Featuring queen-size beds, private baths, and interior access, The Lodge at Bonclarken is a great place for adults and professionals to gather. Wifi Internet access is available throughout the facility. A kitchenette is in the Mike and Lib Patrick Conference Room with refrigerator and a nice coffee pot for lots of fresh coffee. A television is located in the lobby. The building is equipped with special needs accessibility features including ramps, wide doors, roll in showers and other features to ensure accessibility for those who are physically limited.

Contact info:
500 Pine Drive
Flat Rock, NC 28731 USA
phone: 828-692-2223
web: www.bonclarken.org

Room amenities: Wifi Internet Access, queen-size beds, private baths

Facility amenities: Furnishings in each Lodge room include queen-size beds, ironing board and iron, a large dresser, a nightstand and a writing table with two comfortable wing chairs. Wifi Internet service is available throughout the building. Courtesy telephones are located on each floor of the facility. Vending and ice machines are available for your convenience. A laundry room is located inside the facility as well.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: $76.00
Guests are welcome to stay the night before and the night after if housing is available. The rate is $76.00 for a single and $97.00 for a double.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, May 06 - Learn about the Vanderbilts and the Biltmore Esta...
Learn about the Vanderbilts and the Biltmore Estate, Visit the beautiful campus of Mars Hill University and their Rural Life Museum, Tour the Biltmore Estate Winery and Antler Hill Village!

Note: There will be a fair amount of afternoon walking as we visit the Mars Hill University Rural Life Museum, Antler Hill Village and the Biltmore Estate Winery.

Breakfast: Enjoy a full breakfast buffet in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall

Morning: Jan Aertsen van der Bilt emigrated from Holland to the American Colonies around 1650. This morning a local historian will tell us about the Vanderbilt family. A family that began as farmers on Staten Island, New York, prospered and became one of the wealthiest in America. You'll learn about George Vanderbilt's ancestors as well as his current descendants who remain active in the life of the Biltmore Estate. Following a short break we'll learn about the actual construction of the Biltmore House and the development of the estate properties. George Vanderbilt and his architect Richard Morris Hunt visited many chateaus in Europe before completing a design for a "summer cottage" in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. A "cottage" that took almost 10 million pounds of limestone and a floor plan that would become America's largest private home. It's a remarkable story that you won't want to miss! We will then board a coach for a visit to your program host, Mars Hill University. Mars Hill, established in 1856, is the oldest educational institution on its original site in Western North Carolina. A line from the Alma mater reads "From the clustered rhododendron does thy sparkling fountains flow." We're hoping those rhododendron will be in full bloom as we "roll out" the red carpet for our honored guests!

Lunch: A private luncheon set just for you in the Oscar E. Sams' Executive Dining Room in Pittman Dining Hall on the campus of Mars Hill University

Afternoon: After lunch we'll make a brief visit to the Rural Life Museum on the university campus. The museum exhibits rotate each year and are housed in a native stone structure that was built around 1925. Then on to the magnificent Biltmore Estate. While there, you will visit the Biltmore Estate Winery and Tasting Room, where you can enjoy complimentary wine or grape juice. You will tour the historic cellars and learn the steps of quality wine production. Just outside the entrance to the Winery, you will have time to explore Antler Hill Village, an area of exhibitions, live entertainment, dining and shopping.

Dinner: Enjoy a full dinner buffet in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall

Evening: This morning we learned about the Vanderbilt family and the building of America's largest private home. To conclude our preparations for tomorrow's visit to the estate we'll enjoy a wonderful video on the Gardens at Biltmore. The gardens, both formal and informal, were designed by landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted designed many parks throughout the United States including Central Park in New York City. The gardens at Biltmore are a living tribute to Olmsted, and the estate's horticultural experts work diligently to preserve his original vision for the gardens and grounds. Your visit to Biltmore will be during their annual "Festival of Flowers". Springtime is a beautiful time on the estate and hopefully their massive azalea garden will be in full bloom for you to enjoy! Don't forget your camera, there will be lots of photo opts!

Lodging: The Lodge at Bonclarken

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Featuring queen-size beds, private baths, and interior access, The Lodge at Bonclarken is a great place for adults and professionals to gather. Wifi Internet access is available throughout the facility. A kitchenette is in the Mike and Lib Patrick Conference Room with refrigerator and a nice coffee pot for lots of fresh coffee. A television is located in the lobby. The building is equipped with special needs accessibility features including ramps, wide doors, roll in showers and other features to ensure accessibility for those who are physically limited.

Contact info:
500 Pine Drive
Flat Rock, NC 28731 USA
phone: 828-692-2223
web: www.bonclarken.org

Room amenities: Wifi Internet Access, queen-size beds, private baths

Facility amenities: Furnishings in each Lodge room include queen-size beds, ironing board and iron, a large dresser, a nightstand and a writing table with two comfortable wing chairs. Wifi Internet service is available throughout the building. Courtesy telephones are located on each floor of the facility. Vending and ice machines are available for your convenience. A laundry room is located inside the facility as well.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: $76.00
Guests are welcome to stay the night before and the night after if housing is available. The rate is $76.00 for a single and $97.00 for a double.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, May 07 - Spend the day at the Biltmore Estate during the m...
Spend the day at the Biltmore Estate during the most lovely of times, the Festival of Flowers.

Note: This is your day! Spend it in the grand house, in the gardens, and on a special guided behind-the-scenes tour. Bring your walking shoes and your camera!

Breakfast: Enjoy a full breakfast buffet at the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall

Morning: This morning we will return to the Biltmore Estate for a self-paced, self-guided tour of the 250-room Vanderbilt home. There, you will see the luxurious living areas of the Vanderbilt family, lovingly restored to the grandeur of Vanderbilt's time, and filled with priceless, carefully preserved artworks and furnishings. You will also enjoy a special behind-the-scenes guided tour where you will see additional rooms that are not on the self-guided tour.

Lunch: Lunch on your own at the Biltmore Estate. The Stable Cafe Restaurant has a nice selection of sandwiches and gourmet lunches.

Afternoon: Afternoon continues at the Biltmore Estate, as you spend time wandering the gardens and shops or enjoying the beautiful views afforded from the home itself. Biltmore is famous for creating a wonderland of tulips in early spring. In addition to tulips, the gardens boast acres of azaleas, forsythia, spirea, magnolia, flowering cherries, dogwoods, redbuds, poppies, pansies and many other varieties of flowering shrubs and trees. Visit the glass-roofed Conservatory, which was designed by Biltmore House architect Richard Morris Hunt, and which operates much as it did in Vanderbilt's Day. There, thousands of flowers and plants for Biltmore Gardens are nurtured before transplant. The central room of the conservatory is a Palm House, where a large collection of palms, ferns and other foliage plants have thrived for many years. Annexes include a cool house, a hot house and an orchid house.

Dinner: Full dinner buffet in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall

Evening: Use this free time as an opportunity to visit some of the many local points of interest or prepare for departure on Friday. Take a stroll around the Bonclarken Lake and enjoy the natural beauty of the area or bring a fishing pole! There's free fishing for those who would like to try their luck.

Lodging: The Lodge at Bonclarken

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, May 08 - Today we visit the Carl Sandburg Home National Hi...
Today we visit the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and learn about the Vanderbilt's involvement in Connemara, the Sandburg farm.

Note: Leisurely stroll on the Sandburg home place

Breakfast: Full breakfast buffet in the Bonclarken Assembly Dining Hall.

Morning: This morning we will take a short drive to Connemara, the home of Carl and Lilian Sandburg. The Sandburgs moved to Flat Rock, North Carolina in 1945 at the request of his wife who wanted to start a goat dairy. She was a strong advocate for goat milk, especially after its use cured her digestive issues. She dedicated 30 years of her life to the dairy goat industry, perfecting a breed of goats called the Chikaming herd. In 1960, Jennifer II, a Toggenburg dairy goat from the farm was recognized internationally as the top producing Toggenburg in the world. Mrs. Sandburg's venture was successful in part due to the goat milk being purchased by the Vanderbilt's Biltmore Dairy. The Biltmore Dairy purchased milk from hundreds of dairies in the area and was a life line for dairy farmers and their families. Carl Sandburg was labeled "A Poet of the People" and won two Pulitzer Awards during his lifetime. He was a poet, writer, historian biographer of Abraham Lincoln and a social activist. During our visit we will get a glimpse into the last twenty two years of the author's life as well as his wife's contributions to the American goat industry and her dairy operations. According to Sandburg, “We didn’t just buy two-hundred and forty-five acres when we bought Connemara, we bought a million acres of sky, too!” This morning we'll step back in time and visit this wonderful piece of history, preserved for mankind throughout the ages by our National Park Service!!

Lunch: Box lunch provided upon request

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Free Time Opportunities


Bonclarken Assembly, Flat Rock, North Carolina
Bonclarken LakeBonclarken Lake, surrounded by the beautiful mountains offers free fishing and a half-mile walking trail around the lake. Within easy walking distance of the housing facilities, Bonclarken Lake is a great place to visit during your stay!
For additional information, visit: www.bonclarken.org
DuPont State ParkA short thirty minute drive will take you to three excellent waterfalls within an hour’s (round trip) walk of the parking lot. From the Hooker Falls parking lot Triple Falls is about a 7 minute walk upstream, though the main trail is quite steep as you approach the Falls. High Falls is about 15 minutes farther upstream from Triple Falls on moderate terrain. Both of these Falls are worth the hike. At the base of High Falls you can stand under the falls, swim in the pool or slide down the rock on the left. Upon returning to the parking lot you can take about a 6 minute walk downstream to Hooker Falls. Another favorite is Bridal Veil Falls which requires a hike of a couple of hours.
For additional information, visit: http://www.dupontforest.com/
Historic Flat RockAn online guide to the village of Flat Rock, North Carolina.
For additional information, visit: http://www.historicflatrockinc.org/

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
13 meals: 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners
9 Expert-led lectures
8 Field trips
4 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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