Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel,
the not-for-profit world leader in lifelong learning since 1975.


Call (800) 454-5768

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET


Create an account                             Forgot your password?

or Log In via Facebook

Log in to see all you can do with your online Road Scholar account.

NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA

Seasons of Beauty in the Blue Ridge: Natural Life, History, Folk Culture and Music

Select a Date

 

SIGN UP

and receive your

FREE E-NEWSLETTER

&

E-Photo Book:



Top 10 Learning Experiences Around the World

Find A Program

Search By:

Location

VA

Interest

Natural History

Price Range

$700 - $1000

Start Date

End Date

More Options


Road Scholar
Program #10029RJ
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.
Elevation Note
Field trip to Peaks of Otter goes through a mountain pass at approximately 4000 ft.

Equipment Requirements
Comfortable walking shoes for field trips.

Itinerary for May 10 — May 15, 2015

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: The Natural Bridge Hotel was built in 1965 and is the fourth hotel to occupy the site since 1834. Its immediate predecessor was luxurious in the "Old South" style, and the present hotel offers food and lodging that retains much of that regional flavor, even though today it leans more toward the economical than to the elegant. Since World War II, Natural Bridge has been more than just the hotel and famous Bridge: it has been a tourist resort with a number of attractions and a mid-20th century vacation-by-auto feeling. In that spirit, participants will have a pass for the length of the Road Scholar program to visit Natural Bridge, the Natural Bridge Gorge, the Native American village, and Natural Bridge Caverns. In January 2014 the hotel was purchased by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, an affiliate of a Roanoke, Va. non-profit organization, and the new owner is undertaking extensive renovation of the facilities. Once the mortgage is paid, the Natural Bridge and most of the property (but not the hotel) will be deeded to the state of Virginia for a state park.

Contact info:
15 Appledore Lane
(US Route 11 at Va Route 130)
Natural Bridge, VA 24578 USA
phone: 800-533-1410
web: www.naturalbridgeva.com

Room amenities: TV with satellite connection, iron & ironing board, coffeepot, free wireless internet connection. Refrigerators in some rooms and available upon request.

Facility amenities: Air-conditioned. Free parking. Dining room, classrooms, and the Red Fox Lounge in hotel. Nearby are the Gift Shop, which contains snack bar; Natural Bridge Caverns; and a hiking trail to Natural Bridge, Cedar Creek Gorge, and the Native American village. Over 2014-15, new hiking trails are being installed, and the gift shop is gradually being converted from tourist trinkets to Virginia-made products and crafts.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Variable by season.
Advance registration required and stay is based on availability. Road Scholar rate varies by season.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, May 10 - Arrival/Registration/Social hour/Orientation
Afternoon: Welcome to Natural Bridge! Register for your room after 3:30 at the desk in the hotel lobby. Register for your program and get your program folder between 3-5:00 PM in the Red Fox Lounge. Enjoy a Social Hour from 5-6 pm in the Red Fox Lounge (with cash bar) - this is a great time to meet your fellow participants in a relaxing atmosphere.

Dinner: Dinner in the hotel

Evening: 0rientation and introductions in the classroom.

Lodging: Natural Bridge Hotel

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Natural Bridge Hotel was built in 1965 and is the fourth hotel to occupy the site since 1834. Its immediate predecessor was luxurious in the "Old South" style, and the present hotel offers food and lodging that retains much of that regional flavor, even though today it leans more toward the economical than to the elegant. Since World War II, Natural Bridge has been more than just the hotel and famous Bridge: it has been a tourist resort with a number of attractions and a mid-20th century vacation-by-auto feeling. In that spirit, participants will have a pass for the length of the Road Scholar program to visit Natural Bridge, the Natural Bridge Gorge, the Native American village, and Natural Bridge Caverns. In January 2014 the hotel was purchased by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, an affiliate of a Roanoke, Va. non-profit organization, and the new owner is undertaking extensive renovation of the facilities. Once the mortgage is paid, the Natural Bridge and most of the property (but not the hotel) will be deeded to the state of Virginia for a state park.

Contact info:
15 Appledore Lane
(US Route 11 at Va Route 130)
Natural Bridge, VA 24578 USA
phone: 800-533-1410
web: www.naturalbridgeva.com

Room amenities: TV with satellite connection, iron & ironing board, coffeepot, free wireless internet connection. Refrigerators in some rooms and available upon request.

Facility amenities: Air-conditioned. Free parking. Dining room, classrooms, and the Red Fox Lounge in hotel. Nearby are the Gift Shop, which contains snack bar; Natural Bridge Caverns; and a hiking trail to Natural Bridge, Cedar Creek Gorge, and the Native American village. Over 2014-15, new hiking trails are being installed, and the gift shop is gradually being converted from tourist trinkets to Virginia-made products and crafts.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Variable by season.
Advance registration required and stay is based on availability. Road Scholar rate varies by season.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, May 11 - Classes in the Natural and Cultural History of th...
Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel

Morning: This is a tentative schedule. Classes and field trips may be rearranged to accommodate the availability of instructors and locations. Natural Bridge is located at the southern end of the Valley of Virginia, and prominent in the view from the Hotel is the Thunder Ridge section of the Blue Ridge, about 7 miles away. The ways of the mountains are the subject of this program, both natural and human. The field trips will provide spectacular views and the chance to explore the mountains, valleys, and woods. The classes will talk about how these places came to be, and how people have crafted lives and a culture as residents. Class this morning begins by describing the geological forces that shaped the two mountain chains that define the Valley of Virginia.

Lunch: Lunch in the hotel

Afternoon: Afternoon class: "Cultural History in the Great Valley and Blue Ridge" discusses the history of those settlers who peopled the Valley -- and some of the tales that began years ago and are still told today.

Dinner: Dinner in the hotel

Evening: This evening the retired Park Service ranger who will accompany the group on the field trip tomorrow recalls his years on the Blue Ridge Parkway, including many things that most visitors don't hear about.

Lodging: Natural Bridge Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Natural Bridge Hotel was built in 1965 and is the fourth hotel to occupy the site since 1834. Its immediate predecessor was luxurious in the "Old South" style, and the present hotel offers food and lodging that retains much of that regional flavor, even though today it leans more toward the economical than to the elegant. Since World War II, Natural Bridge has been more than just the hotel and famous Bridge: it has been a tourist resort with a number of attractions and a mid-20th century vacation-by-auto feeling. In that spirit, participants will have a pass for the length of the Road Scholar program to visit Natural Bridge, the Natural Bridge Gorge, the Native American village, and Natural Bridge Caverns. In January 2014 the hotel was purchased by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, an affiliate of a Roanoke, Va. non-profit organization, and the new owner is undertaking extensive renovation of the facilities. Once the mortgage is paid, the Natural Bridge and most of the property (but not the hotel) will be deeded to the state of Virginia for a state park.

Contact info:
15 Appledore Lane
(US Route 11 at Va Route 130)
Natural Bridge, VA 24578 USA
phone: 800-533-1410
web: www.naturalbridgeva.com

Room amenities: TV with satellite connection, iron & ironing board, coffeepot, free wireless internet connection. Refrigerators in some rooms and available upon request.

Facility amenities: Air-conditioned. Free parking. Dining room, classrooms, and the Red Fox Lounge in hotel. Nearby are the Gift Shop, which contains snack bar; Natural Bridge Caverns; and a hiking trail to Natural Bridge, Cedar Creek Gorge, and the Native American village. Over 2014-15, new hiking trails are being installed, and the gift shop is gradually being converted from tourist trinkets to Virginia-made products and crafts.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Variable by season.
Advance registration required and stay is based on availability. Road Scholar rate varies by season.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, May 12 - Field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of...
Field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of Otter/Class on Natural Bridge

Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel

Morning: Today is a field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We won't travel all of its 500 miles, but we will go to the top of the mountain ridge that you see from the hotel. Expect spectacular views of the valley and the mountains! We will stop at several places for short hikes and overviews, as we make our way to the Peaks of Otter. We'll be accompanied by a retired Park Ranger who knows this park from experience.

Lunch: We'll picnic with a box lunch along Blue Ridge Parkway.

Afternoon: The Blue Ridge Parkway field trip continues. The beautiful and distinctive Peaks of Otter include Flat Top Mountain and Sharp Top Mountain. Depending on conditions, we may be able to ride up Sharp Top. From the end of the road, there is a walk over a rocky and uneven path to the peak, but the reward is a dramatic 360 degree view.

Dinner: Dinner in the hotel

Evening: Evening class: Slide lecture on Natural Bridge in History and Legend

Lodging: Natural Bridge Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Natural Bridge Hotel was built in 1965 and is the fourth hotel to occupy the site since 1834. Its immediate predecessor was luxurious in the "Old South" style, and the present hotel offers food and lodging that retains much of that regional flavor, even though today it leans more toward the economical than to the elegant. Since World War II, Natural Bridge has been more than just the hotel and famous Bridge: it has been a tourist resort with a number of attractions and a mid-20th century vacation-by-auto feeling. In that spirit, participants will have a pass for the length of the Road Scholar program to visit Natural Bridge, the Natural Bridge Gorge, the Native American village, and Natural Bridge Caverns. In January 2014 the hotel was purchased by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, an affiliate of a Roanoke, Va. non-profit organization, and the new owner is undertaking extensive renovation of the facilities. Once the mortgage is paid, the Natural Bridge and most of the property (but not the hotel) will be deeded to the state of Virginia for a state park.

Contact info:
15 Appledore Lane
(US Route 11 at Va Route 130)
Natural Bridge, VA 24578 USA
phone: 800-533-1410
web: www.naturalbridgeva.com

Room amenities: TV with satellite connection, iron & ironing board, coffeepot, free wireless internet connection. Refrigerators in some rooms and available upon request.

Facility amenities: Air-conditioned. Free parking. Dining room, classrooms, and the Red Fox Lounge in hotel. Nearby are the Gift Shop, which contains snack bar; Natural Bridge Caverns; and a hiking trail to Natural Bridge, Cedar Creek Gorge, and the Native American village. Over 2014-15, new hiking trails are being installed, and the gift shop is gradually being converted from tourist trinkets to Virginia-made products and crafts.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Variable by season.
Advance registration required and stay is based on availability. Road Scholar rate varies by season.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, May 13 - Classes on Blue Ridge culture/Evening musical per...
Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel

Morning: Class on the Monocans, the Native Americans of this section of the Blue Ridge; and class on Blue Ridge folk culture as it evolved from the early European settlers and then newer waves of settlers.

Lunch: Lunch in the hotel

Afternoon: We continue with a class on Blue Ridge folk culture, which leads into a class on Blue Ridge music.

Dinner: Dinner in the hotel

Evening: A relaxing and delightful evening of "Music with the McKenzies," who play a variety of traditional instruments and feature many of the popular musical hits from the 1800s, along with some newer songs too.

Lodging: Natural Bridge Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Natural Bridge Hotel was built in 1965 and is the fourth hotel to occupy the site since 1834. Its immediate predecessor was luxurious in the "Old South" style, and the present hotel offers food and lodging that retains much of that regional flavor, even though today it leans more toward the economical than to the elegant. Since World War II, Natural Bridge has been more than just the hotel and famous Bridge: it has been a tourist resort with a number of attractions and a mid-20th century vacation-by-auto feeling. In that spirit, participants will have a pass for the length of the Road Scholar program to visit Natural Bridge, the Natural Bridge Gorge, the Native American village, and Natural Bridge Caverns. In January 2014 the hotel was purchased by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, an affiliate of a Roanoke, Va. non-profit organization, and the new owner is undertaking extensive renovation of the facilities. Once the mortgage is paid, the Natural Bridge and most of the property (but not the hotel) will be deeded to the state of Virginia for a state park.

Contact info:
15 Appledore Lane
(US Route 11 at Va Route 130)
Natural Bridge, VA 24578 USA
phone: 800-533-1410
web: www.naturalbridgeva.com

Room amenities: TV with satellite connection, iron & ironing board, coffeepot, free wireless internet connection. Refrigerators in some rooms and available upon request.

Facility amenities: Air-conditioned. Free parking. Dining room, classrooms, and the Red Fox Lounge in hotel. Nearby are the Gift Shop, which contains snack bar; Natural Bridge Caverns; and a hiking trail to Natural Bridge, Cedar Creek Gorge, and the Native American village. Over 2014-15, new hiking trails are being installed, and the gift shop is gradually being converted from tourist trinkets to Virginia-made products and crafts.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Variable by season.
Advance registration required and stay is based on availability. Road Scholar rate varies by season.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, May 14 - Field trip through Goshen Pass to Jefferson Pools...
Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel

Morning: Our field trip today has an early start. We are actually heading to the Alleghanies, the mountains that form the western wall of the Great Valley, in order to visit a special historical site. We'll go by Lexington and then through Goshen Pass, a most appealing scenic route with the Maury River alongside. Our destination is Warm Springs and the Jefferson Pools, the oldest mineral baths in the U.S. And we are not just going to look at these naturally warm mineral baths, spring-fed and housed in a 1761 structure--we are getting in, for an hour soak. The pools are named after Thomas Jefferson because he spent 22 days in them in 1818. Once dried off and changed, we'll head back through Goshen Pass.

Lunch: Box lunch at a picnic area in Goshen Pass.

Afternoon: Field trip continues with a visit to Boxerwood Garden, an arboretum outside Lexington. The gardens contain many kinds of trees both native to this area and imported, for instance 57 varieties of Magnolias and 81 varieties of Dogwoods.

Dinner: Dinner in the hotel

Evening: This evening offers an opportunity to see "Drama of Creation," a sound and light show at Natural Bridge, that includes readings from the Bible, colored light projected on to the arch, and symphonic music. The show has been recently upgraded from the original version that first played in 1927.

Lodging: Natural Bridge Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, May 15 - Walking Field trip to Natural Bridge/Departure
Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel

Morning: Put on some comfortable shoes and join our guide for a leisurely walk through Natural Bridge Gorge. You'll see the unique plants, birds, animals and geology of this setting that Thomas Jefferson called one of the most sublime places on earth. We'll walk at an easy pace, with stops (and places to sit) to listen and look. From the Bridge itself, you'll walk approximately one mile through the Gorge to Lacey Falls (and one mile to return). We'll learn about early human history at the working Monacan Indian Village. You'll be able to return to the hotel at any point - or sit a spell overlooking the Lost River (learn why it's "lost" on this walk!). Most of the walk is paved and handicapped-accessible, except for an unpaved path near the end of the trail to the Falls. There's a lot to learn, see, and enjoy, even if you go only part of the way. Early lunch at 11:30 AM allows you a head-start on your travel home. Room check-out is 12:00 noon.

Lunch: Early lunch in the hotel, before departure

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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.
Currently selected:Prices Starting At:

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

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

Ratings

Not yet rated
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

Support Lifelong Learning

Our educational adventures are made possible by donors like you

Please support lifelong learning here

Free Catalog | Refer a Friend | Gift Certificates | Press | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Careers | Contact Us

© Elderhostel, Inc. 2014
11 Avenue de Lafayette | Boston MA 02111 | Toll-Free 1-800-454-5768