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Ancient River, New Discoveries: Kayaking, Hiking and Rafting Virginia’s New River

Program Number: 17685RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/18/2013 - 8/23/2013; 8/23/2015 - 8/28/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Pembroke, Virginia
Price starting at: $840.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Water Sports; Science & Nature Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Learn new skills with canoeing buffs and hear naturalists and other experts relate the eons-old story of one of the world’s oldest rivers. Settlers named it the New River because it was unknown to the first explorers of the Atlantic Coast. Study this natural treasure as you experience it to the fullest — learning to kayak, paddle a canoe and navigate fast-moving rapids. Enjoy a section of the river by raft as experts navigate and naturalists point out the interesting features of local geology, flora and fauna.




Highlights

• Experience the river’s thrilling side with trained pros on a whitewater rafting expedition down the 1,300 deep New River Gorge past old mining towns and ferry sites.
• Hike with naturalists along Little Stony Creek for two miles to Cascades Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia.
• Learn the basics of canoeing and kayaking, including different paddle strokes, boat maneuvering and how to tackle Class 1-2 rapids with your canoe.



Activity Particulars

Ability to climb in/out of kayak, canoe and raft.



Coordinated by The Mountain Lake Conservancy.




Pembroke

Situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Pembroke encompasses 2,600 peaceful wooded acres that surround the only natural lake in the region, which is also home to rural Appalachian culture and traditions.



Accommodations
Resort accommodations in cottages or historic hotel overlooking the highest natural lake east of the Mississippi River; famous as the site in the movie "Dirty Dancing."

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Shawn Hash

As the owner of Tangent Outfitters, Shawn Hash expertly helps people to explore Virginia’s outdoors through canoeing, kayaking, rafting, mountain biking and fishing. He enjoys leading Road Scholar participants and also has experience with many other groups including guests of the Virginia governor. Shawn earned a degree in geography at Virginia Tech and has worked for National Geographic and as an outdoor guide in Colorado. He serves on the Virginia Tourism board of directors.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Mountain Lake Lodge
  Pembroke, VA 5 nights
 Mountain Lake Lodge
Type: Hotel
  Description: Discover the ultimate outdoor retreat in the heart of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range and the center of a 2,600 acre nature preserve. This winter, Mountain Lake completed renovation of many of our guestrooms and cabins, added new recreational activities including an Aerial & Zip Line Adventure Course and Kids KAMP, and increased our special events! Mountain Lake Lodge is the ideal place for families, friends, couples and groups to recreate and relax amidst nature’s bounty. Arrive to an unhurried pace in a place faithful to the outdoors, where friendly service prevails. Please visit www.MtnLakeLodge.com for more information!
  Contact info: 115 Hotel Circle
Pembroke, VA 24136 USA
phone: 540-626-7121
web: www.MtnLakeLodge.com
  Room amenities: Newly renovated rooms! Private bathroom, coffee, coffee machine. The rooms are equipped with hairdryer and basic commodities. Our buildings are not air conditioned as this is not necessary with the elevation and cooler temperatures. Rooms are equipped with ceiling fans and additional window fan units.
  Facility amenities: New Harvest Restaurant; Stony Creek Tavern and Lounge; Mountain Lake Outfitters with equipment rentals, retail and daily guided activities; New Treetops Aerial Adventure Course at Salt Pond Stables; Mary's Barn (billiards, ping pong, foosball, arcade games); Outdoor swimming pool (seasonal) & snack bar; Tennis court; lawn games (volleyball, badminton, tether ball, croquet, oversize lawn chess/checkers); Over 20 miles of multi-use trails; canoeing & kayaking, fishing, water-dependent; Libbie's artisan and gift shop, and Conservancy Cove nature center located within Mountain Lake Outfitters.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Starting at $99  Price varies with season and holidays. A variety of lodge and cottage accommodations are available.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Starting at $99  Price varies with season and holidays. A variety of lodge and cottage accommodations are available.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00 pm check in at Mountain Lake Lodge library You will be staying at Mountain Lake Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends with check-out from the Mountain Lake Lodge by 11:00 am. You will be staying at Mountain Lake Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Mountain Lake is on private property and adequate, free parking is available to all guests
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Pembroke, VA
  Nearest city or town:  Pembroke
  Nearest highway: US 460
  Nearest airport:  Roanoke Regional
  From End of Program
  Location: Pembroke, VA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Mountain Lake Lodge Shuttle
phone: 540-626-7121
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

   

MUST RESERVE THROUGH MTN LAKE AT LEAST ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE. Only one departure from the airport to the lodge. Shuttle will depart Roanoke Regional Airport at 2:00pm to arrive at the Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservancy at approximately 3:15pm.

 

Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Mountain Lake Lodge Shuttle
phone: 540-626-7121
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

   

MUST RESERVE THROUGH MTN LAKE AT LEAST ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE. Only one departure from the hotel to the airport. Shuttle will depart the Mountain Lake Conservancy & Lodge after lunch and check-out at 1:00pm and will arrive at the Roanoke Regional Airport at approximately 2:15pm.

 

Mountain Lake, VA

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service
phone: 800-288-1958
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

109.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.5 hours 

   

Reserve in advance. Credit card is required

 

Roanoke, VA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service
phone: 800-288-1958
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

109.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.5 hours 

   

Please reserve in advance. Credit card is required.

 
Driving Directions
  I-77 Take US 460 East at Princeton, WV. 460 E, 36 miles crossing into Virginia, past Pembroke to left on Rt. 700, Mountain Lake Road. Follow Rt. 700 for seven miles to Mountain Lake.
  I-81 Take exit 118 B, Christiansburg/VA TECH. Follow US 460 West, including bypass around Blacksburg. Take right on route 700, Mountain Lake Road, for seven miles to Mountain Lake.
Elevation Note: The Mountain Lake Conservancy is located at 3,800 feet in the Appalachian Mountains

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy river shoes (preferably mesh water shoes with good tread or strappy sandals such as Chacos, Keens or Tevas), sturdy hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, quick-dry clothing, rain gear, small backpack to hike with boxed lunch, dry bag or large ziplock baggie if bringing personal items on water, nature guides, binoculars, water bottles and/or travel mug, hiking poles, insect repellent, and anything else to make your stay more comfortable. Nights can be cooler than the surrounding valleys.
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: Arrival to Mountain Lake. Wine and cheese reception before dinner to meet and greet fellow participants.
(Sunday, August 18)
   
 Afternoon: 4:00 pm Program check-in at hotel library 5:00-6:00 Wine and cheese mixer on the hotel veranda to welcome and mingle with fellow Road Scholars.
 Dinner: 6:15 pm - Enjoy a tasty and healthy Appalachian dinner in the new Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:45 pm - Gather for a brief orientation to the week's activities, and learn more your program leaders and fellow Road Scholars.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Learn the basics of rafting on a stunningly beautiful section of the New River. Enjoy learning about the history of the New River during an evening presentation.
(Monday, August 19)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Enjoy breakfast in the Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 am - Depart for Tangent Outfitters in Pembroke, just a 15 minute drive. Float 10 miles along the New River and learn the basics of rafting with expert river guides from Tangent Outfitters. This day's section from Pembroke to Bluff City introduces class I-III rapids in addition to many calm stretches of water. Get a feel for the river this first day, relax and enjoy stories of history, flora and fauna with your guide.
 Lunch: Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch on the riverside. Try out stand-up paddle boarding or take a swim in the calm water.
 Afternoon: Rafting continued along with the opportunity for some river swimming.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Dinner in the Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:30 pm - Evening presentation by local geologist on the Geological History of the New River Valley and surrounding Appalachian Mountains.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Basics of kayaking along the New River. Kayaks are single and sit-on-top river kayaks; tandem available upon request (please contact program provider with request in advance). Sunset hike to an overlook in the evening.
(Tuesday, August 20)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Breakfast in the Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 am - Depart for Tangent Outfitters, 15 minute drive. Learn the basics of kayaking with expert guides. You will learn different paddle strokes, boat maneuvering, and how to tackle class 1-2 rapids with your boat along this 7 mile stretch of the New River from Eggleston to Pembroke.
 Lunch: Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch on the riverside. Enjoy a moment to swim in the calm water.
 Afternoon: Kayaking continued along the gorgeous bluffs and curves of the river.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Dinner in the Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:15 pm - Depart for the Appalachian Trail for a sunset Hike to Wind Rock, 10-minute drive along the ridge from the Lodge. Hike is uphill but relatively easy, and only one-third of a mile in distance one-way.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hike 4 miles round-trip to the 66-foot Cascades waterfall at the base of the mountain, the most popular waterfall in Southwest Virginia. Gather for a bonfire, s'mores and an informal jam with local traditional Appalachian musicians in the evening.
(Wednesday, August 21)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Breakfast in the Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 am - Travel down to the Cascades Trailhead in Pembroke, a 20 minute drive from Mountain Lake. Walk with naturalists along Little Stony Creek for 2 miles on rocky, uneven, varied terrain till you reach the awesome 66-foot, Cascades waterfall.
 Lunch: Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at the waterfall. Swimming is optional, the water is very chilly!
 Afternoon: Hike 2 miles downhill on a fire road to trail head parking lot and shuttle back to Mountain Lake.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Dinner in the Harvest Restaurant. Save room for dessert at the bonfire!
 Evening: 7:30 pm - Relax by the outdoor bonfire and enjoy an informal jam session with local musicians sharing traditional Appalachian song and history. True to camp tradition, s'mores provided!
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Whitewater rafting the Lower New section of the New River Gorge. Gourmet buffet dinner at Smokies Restaurant, Adventures on the Gorge facility.
(Thursday, August 22)
   
 Breakfast: 7:00 am - Quick continental breakfast "on-the-go".
 Morning: 7:15 am - Shuttle (2 hours) to the New River Gorge in WV. Join Class VI Whitewater Company for a thrilling whitewater rafting trip down the New River Gorge. You will drift into the 1,300 foot deep canyon, and pass old mining towns, ferry sites, and coal camps. Experienced guides will share the history and geology of the gorge. Dependent upon water level, participants will experience Class I to Class V rapids during this 5-hour excursion. (No experience necessary)
 Lunch: Delicious deli-style lunch along the river.
 Afternoon: Rafting continued. Float under the New River Gorge Bridge, the Western hemisphere's longest single arch bridge!
 Dinner: 5:30 pm - Some free time to explore overlooks and shops or relax and enjoy the view. Dinner at Smokies on the Gorge at Class VI River Company.
 Evening: 7:00 - 9:00 pm - Shuttle back to Mountain Lake (2-hour drive). Upon arrival, relax and enjoy the hot-tub, you earned it!
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Program wrap-up, graduation, and a picture slideshow. After check out, enjoy lunch with the group in Harvest Restaurant.
(Friday, August 23)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Breakfast in the Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 11:00 am - Check-out time for the Mountain Lake Lodge.
 Morning: 9:00 am - Wrap up session, graduation and picture slide show!
   
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


Far Appalachia: Following the River North


Author: Noah Adams


Description: With his sharp eye and gentle wit, Noah Adams doesn't just tell stories, he lets them unfold quietly, powerfully, and eloquently. Now the beloved host of NPR's All Things Considered and bestselling author of Piano Lessons takes us on a river journey through the heart of Appalachia--a journey shared by pioneers and preachers, white-water daredevils, bluegrass musicians, and an unforgettable cast of vivid historical characters. Noah Adams has Appalachia in his blood. A native of eastern Kentucky, he comes to the headwaters of the New River not just in search of adventure but to better understand his own unique heritage. Following the New River from its mile-high source on North Carolina's Snake Mountain to its West Virginia mouth, Adams travels by Jeep and by bicycle, by foot and, most thrillingly, by white-water raft to explore the history, natural beauty, and fascinating characters waiting around every bend and turn. Distilling history from legend, Adams tells of men and women whose lives crossed the New River before him: Daniel Boone, fleeing his farming family in search of wilderness; Cherokee Indians driven west on their Trail of Tears; and the ill-fated men who traveled thousands of miles to work on the Hawk's Nest Tunnel, making a fortune for a company while their lungs filled with deadly silica dust. And along the way Adams follows the echoes of his own distant heritage, interweaving his river journey through Appalachia with yet another voyage, thousands of miles away. With eloquence and compassion, Noah Adams paints a luminous portrait of a land and a people as richly vital and complex as America itself. At the same time, his quietly personal chronicle captures the sheer magic of the flowing waters: their sound, their eddies, their utter unpredictability. A vibrant and unforgettable read, Far Appalachia mesmerizes and haunts like the bluegrass music that still rings through the mountains and valleys in which it was born.



Follow the River


Author: James Alexander Thom


Description: Mary Ingles was twenty-three, married, and pregnant, when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement, killed the men and women, then took her captive. For months, she lived with them, unbroken, until she escaped, and followed a thousand mile trail to freedom--an extraordinary story of a pioneer woman who risked her life to return to her people.





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