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A Family Adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains

Program Number: 20985RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/1/2013 - 7/6/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee
Price starting at: $575.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Family Programs; National Parks; Intergenerational
Family
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Explore the spectacular natural gifts of the most biologically diverse place in North America — Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Get to know some of the 130 tree species in the region and the 240 birds who live in them. Visit the loftiest peaks in the park to glimpse amazing views, explore the spruce-fir forest and catch red-cheeked salamanders in the only place on earth where they can be found. Stride off into the wilderness on hikes in this rugged landscape and get your feet wet in a rushing mountain creek as you turn over rocks to discover the denizens of Smoky Mountains waterways. Evenings are filled with lectures by experts on black bears and wilderness predators, as well as night hikes and campfires with stories and songs.




Highlights

• As you explore the park, learn about its unique ecology from expert naturalist-educators who live in the park year-round.
• Explore off the beaten path in secret corners of the mountains unknown to the public.
• A campfire and star-filled sky provide the setting for storytelling and songcraft in the Appalachian tradition.



Activity Particulars

Hiking, walking and exploring at elevations up to 6,643 feet. Group will be split based on hiking ability.



This is a family program for participants, their adult children and grandchildren ages 9 and up.



Coordinated by Great Smoky Mountains Institute.




Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee is America’s most visited National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World-renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, beautiful ancient mountains and the remnants of Appalachian culture, it is one of the largest protected areas in the Eastern United States.



Accommodations
Dormitory-style accommodations, no elevators, limited ground-floor rooms.
Meals and Lodgings
   Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
  Townsend, TN 5 nights
 Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
Type: Campus/Dorm
  Description: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park which consists of over a half a million acres and 900+ miles of hiking trials.
  Contact info: 9275 Tremont Road
Townsend, TN 37882 USA
phone: 865-448-6709
web: www.gsmit.org
  Room amenities: The dormitory consists of four separate open wings. Upstairs there is one male wing and one female wing, each with its own showers/bathroom. Downstairs is a mixed-sex living space. Each wing is somewhat divided by banisters, creating alcoves which family units may claim for themselves. Separate showers/bathrooms are available for males and females. Private accommodations are not available on site. The dormitory is heated and air conditioned.
  Facility amenities: Heated and air conditioned dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting spaces, book store, library, hiking trails, excellent fly fishing, great swimming holes, hearty meals, the unparalleled beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Shared bathroom with private showers and bathroom stalls
  Additional nights prior:  Due to the numbers of groups hosted by GSMIT, we are unable to offer accommodation before the program begins or after it ends.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Due to the numbers of groups hosted by GSMIT, we are unable to offer accommodation before the program begins or after it ends.
  Check out time: 9:30 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00-5:00 p.m. check-in time; 6:00 p.m. meet in dining hall for supper You will be staying at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont that night.
  End of Program:
9:00 a.m. end of program (following 8 a.m. breakfast); Check-out 9:30 a.m. You will be staying at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Road Scholar Health and Safety Form
  Parking availability:
Parking is available on campus.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Townsend, TN
  Nearest city or town:  Townsend
  Nearest highway: Hwy 321
  Nearest airport:  McGhee-Tyson, Knoxville, TN
  From End of Program
  Location: Townsend, TN
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Knoxville, TN

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 865-448-6709
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20 per person
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

40 miles

 
Driving Directions
  FROM THE EAST Follow I-40 W to the 411S exit at Newport. Follow 411S to Sevierville then 441S to Pigeon Forge. Once in Pigeon Forge turn right and follow 321 S through Wear Cove to Townsend. Turn left in Townsend and follow Hwy. 73 into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once in the park . . . Another option from the EAST is to reach the park by the Foothills Parkway exit, # 443 from I-40W. The route is scenic but winding. Follow the Foothills Parkway to it's intersection with route 321, take a left on 321. In Cosby take a right to stay on 321 and continue to Gatlinburg. In Gatlinburg take 411 S toward GSMNP. Once in the park, at Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn right toward Townsend and Cades Cove. After about 18 miles, go past the Townsend entrance on your right and watch for signs for a left turn to Great Smoky Mountains Institute. Come two miles up the road and turn left.
  FROM THE NORTH I-75 S to Knoxville. Continue on 275/ I-40 W for a short distance. Follow airport exits to 129 S. which takes you toward Alcoa/Maryville. From Maryville, take 321 N through Townsend. Do not turn toward Pigeon Forge. Follow signs straight into the Cades Cove entrance toGreat Smoky Mountains National Park. Once in the park . . .
  FROM THE SOUTH From Atlanta take I-75 N to Lenoir City - exit #81. Follow 321 North through Maryville to Townsend. Go straight on Hwy. 73 (don't turn toward Pigeon Forge) into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once in the park . . .
  FROM THE WEST Follow I-40 E to the Lenoir City exit, #364. Follow route 321 N through Lenoir City into Maryville and on into Townsend (do not turn on 321 toward Pigeon Forge) Hwy. 73 leads you straight into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once in the park . . .
  ONCE IN THE PARK When coming in from Townsend, follow the road to the Y-intersection with signs to Gatlinburg or Cades Cove. Turn right towards Cades Cove, then immediately you will see a sign indicating the road to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute. Turn left across the bridge and follow the Tremont road 2 miles (you will cross two, two-lane bridges) to the Institute turning left across the 1-lane bridge. Office is on the left. Please check in.
Elevation Note: may go to locations within Great Smoky Mountains National Park with maximum of 6,643 feet elevation

Equipment Requirements: appropriate outdoor clothing and shoes
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome and Orientation to Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
(Monday, July 1)

Note: Check-in to the dorm. and meet the rest of the group. Orientation to Tremont and the week's activities, followed by a campfire.



   
 Arrive To: Check-in to the dorm. and meet the rest of the group.
 Dinner: Enjoy a delicious supper and the opportunity to chat with other families.
 Evening: Orientation to Tremont and the week's activities, followed by a campfire.
   
Accommodations: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Trees and Birds Day
(Tuesday, July 2)

Note: Trees and Birds Day--Tremont's teacher/naturalists will introduce participants to some of the 240 bird species found in the Smokies. 130 tree species are found here--more than the entire continent of Europe! We'll continue our tress and birds exploration. Our Tremont teacher/naturalists will take you on an evening stroll and share the wonders of night in the Smokies.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast may be eggs, biscuits, and sausage, pancakes, or French toast. We also have a great cereal and fruit bar.
 Morning: Trees and Birds Day--Tremont's teacher/naturalists will introduce participants to some of the 240 bird species found in the Smokies.
 Lunch: A packed lunch in the field
 Afternoon: 130 tree species are found here--more than the entire continent of Europe! We'll continue our tress and birds exploration.
 Dinner: Delicious and hearty local fare served up by our chefs.
 Evening: Our Tremont teacher/naturalists will take you on an evening stroll and share the wonders of night in the Smokies.
   
Accommodations: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: High Country Day
(Wednesday, July 3)

Note: Discover the unique eco-system in the higher elevations of the Park (6,000'). Llearn about the threats facing the Spruce/Fir forest community in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! We'll continue our exploration of higher elevations and search for red-cheeked salamanders which are found nowhere else on earth. Put on your dancing shoes and join special presenter Bob Grimac for an evening of folk dancing.



   
 Breakfast: A hearty breakfast to start the day: eggs, biscuits, and sausage, pancakes, or French toast. Or tuck into our cereal and fruit bar.
 Morning: Discover the unique eco-system in the higher elevations of the Park (6,000'). Llearn about the threats facing the Spruce/Fir forest community in Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
 Lunch: Today it's a sack lunch in the field, that you have hand-picked and packed at our buffet lunch bar this morning.
 Afternoon: We'll continue our exploration of higher elevations and search for red-cheeked salamanders which are found nowhere else on earth.
 Dinner: Outdoor days create big appetites. A hot entree is supplemented with a fabulous salad bar.
 Evening: Put on your dancing shoes and join special presenter Bob Grimac for an evening of folk dancing.
   
Accommodations: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Aquatic Day
(Thursday, July 4)

Note: This is a day to dip a toe in the water, turn over some rocks, and discover what denizens inhabit the watery depths of the Smokies. After lunch its time for more aquatic exploration: that means getting your feet wet (and maybe more!) as we slip and slide in a rushing mountain creek. Enjoy old-time Appalachian music around the campfire with Lost Mill String Band.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast may be eggs, biscuits, and sausage, pancakes, or French toast. We also have a great cereal and fruit bar.
 Morning: This is a day to dip a toe in the water, turn over some rocks, and discover what denizens inhabit the watery depths of the Smokies.
 Lunch: Lunch and supper are well rounded and hot and we always have a great vegetarian option.
 Afternoon: After lunch its time for more aquatic exploration: that means getting your feet wet (and maybe more!) as we slip and slide in a rushing mountain creek.
 Dinner: Outdoor days create big appetites. A hot entree is supplemented with a fabulous salad bar.
 Evening: Enjoy old-time Appalachian music around the campfire with Lost Mill String Band.
   
Accommodations: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Backcountry Day
(Friday, July 5)

Note: There are over 800 miles of trails in the park to choose from. You'll get to choose the hike option that works best for you depending on length and difficulty. Hikes options will range between 5 to 12 miles in length. After lunch continue on your chosen hike, which offers an opportunity to really get out in the wilderness and appreciate the landscapes and nature of the Great Smoky Mountains. On our last night together we'll reflect on our week with a closing circle and final campfire.



   
 Breakfast: A healthy, well balanced breakfast to start the day..
 Morning: There are over 800 miles of trails in the park--here's your chance to hike one! You'll get to choose the hike option that works best for you depending on length and difficulty. Hikes options will range between 5 to 12 miles in length.
 Lunch: Lunch is on the trail today. Whatever you picked out and packed at our buffet lunch bar this morning
 Afternoon: After lunch continue on your chosen hike, which offers an opportunity to really get out in the wilderness and appreciate the landscapes and nature of the Great Smoky Mountains.
 Dinner: Delicious and hearty local fare served up by our chefs and a chance to tell stories from the day's hikes.
 Evening: On our last night together we'll reflect on our week with a closing circle and final campfire.
   
Accommodations: Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure Day
(Saturday, July 6)

Note: Following breakfast say goodbye to the other participants and travel safely!



   
 Depart From: Say goodbye to the other participants and travel safely!
 Breakfast: Enjoy your last breakfast at Tremont.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Natural History Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Author: Donald W. Linzey


Description: An essential text with chapters on pre-park history, forest types, balds, endangered species, introduced species and much more.



Strangers in High Places


Author: Michael Frome


Description: A highly informative human history of the Great Smokies from 1700s to the creation of the national park. Particularly good on early history of the region.



The Wild East


Author: Margaret Lynn Brown


Description: Brown presents a history of the management of the park up till close to present day.





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