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Frank Lloyd Wright, History of Navigational Aids, and Carl Sandburg and Thomas Wolfe

Program Number: 21131RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/15/2013 - 9/20/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Montreat, North Carolina
Price starting at: $575.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Topic; Literature; History & Culture
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Activity Particulars

All facilities are in one building, with approximately 300 yards walking required; a few stairs. Outside areas are mountainous, with inclines and uneven terrain.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Montreat Conference Center.

The Essential Frank Lloyd Wright

What were Wright’s design concepts? How did he design and construct his buildings? Which of his innovations are commonplace today? We'll explore Wright’s contributions to architecture through slide shows, videos, and lectures.

History of Navigational Aids: Fires to Satellites

Explore the history of aids to navigation. We'll cover the architecture, machinery, science and human aspect of these aids, especially lighthouses, using slides, film, music, humor and stories to illustrate their fascinating history.

Home Inspiration: Carl Sandburg and Thomas Wolfe

Visit the homes of these literary giants. Connemara, Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock for over 22 years, is where he completed over a third of his work. Old Kentucky Home, the boarding house in Asheville owned by Wolfe’s mother, inspired his writing.


Originally founded as a spiritual retreat center, Montreat, nestled on Lake Susan at the foot of Graybeard Mountain, continues to be a peaceful destination for those seeking respite. Footpaths weave through the 4,000 acres of surrounding woodlands and the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains offer other recreational opportunities.

Beautiful conference center overlooking small lake in the center of Montreat. Spacious lounges, classrooms, fireplace and dining facilities in same building.
Meals and Lodgings
   Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center
  Montreat, NC 5 nights
 Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center
Type: Conference Center
  Description: This stately hotel is a beautiful stone building, overlooking a small lake. It has a beautiful, spacious lobby with a fireplace and comfortable furniture for fellowship, puzzles and games, or just relaxing. The building was made from native stone that sparkles with mica. The dining room is in the same building as our housing and meeting facilities, and an elevator serves all floors (except for 7 steps going into one main meeting area). Of Montreat's 4,000 acres, 2,500 acres are dedicated to wilderness and are entered in the NC Registry of National Heritage Areas, and we have more than a dozen maintained hiking trails. Tennis courts also available. We will have board and card games in the lobby for your enjoyment, but if you have a favorite, please feel free to bring it along. An outdoor pool is located on the grounds, but it not open during our Road Scholar programs (only open June 1 - first week in August). However, a lovely fitness center (Cheshire Fitness) is located just a few miles away, and they offer daily or weekly rates for visitors. There are no TVs or phones in the individual housing rooms, but there is a TV in the main lobby, and guests can be reached by leaving a message at the front desk (staffed 24 hours a day). If it is urgent, the front desk staff will contact the coordinator who will deliver the message in person, otherwise a note will be left on the guest's housing door. A quiet reading room is also available, located near the main lobby of the Assembly Inn.
  Ship Information: Items to be shipped to guests (UPS/Fed Express, etc.) should be addressed to the participant, c/o Tracy Bailey, 401 Assembly Drive, Montreat, NC 28757. Items sent regular mail should be addressed the same as above, but use P. O. Box 969.
  Contact info: 401 Assembly Drive
Montreat, NC 28757 USA
phone: 828-669-2911 x316
  Room amenities: Rooms have a desk, clock radio, kleenex, closets and bed lamps. Blankets, sheets, pillows, bath mat, and a towel set will be provided (clean towels available daily). No phones or televisions in the rooms.
  Facility amenities: All housing accommodations will be in the Assembly Inn. All rooms have private baths. The bathrooms have a tub/shower unit. Most double occupancy rooms have two beds (a double bed and a single). Single occupancy rooms have one double bed. The bedrooms also have a desk, a clock, radio, Kleenex, closets and lamps, as well as a sink and counter and a large mirror. It would be helpful to bring an umbrella, a flashlight, and individual make-up mirror, if desired. Blankets, sheets, pillows, (beds are made), bath mat and a towel set will be provided (rooms are served by our housekeeping staff and clean towels are available daily). Rooms are heated and air-conditioned. All our meeting spaces are air conditioned. Snack and cold drink vending machines are located on the ground floor, and ice machines are on the second and third floors. Wireless Internet access (with personal laptop) in all areas of the Assembly Inn. Computer in main lobby for access to email and Internet. Courtesy phones are located on each floor.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Rooms are not typically available, due to retreats. Participants may call to check availability. If no rooms are available, the coordinator will assist them in finding a hotel nearby.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Rooms are not typically available, due to retreats. Participants may call to check availability. If no rooms are available, the coordinator will assist them in finding a hotel nearby.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00 - 5:30 p.m., at the Assembly Inn. You may check in beginning at 3 p.m., and our registration table will open at 4 p.m. (for the program) You will be staying at Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center that night.
  End of Program:
12:30 p.m. with closing program and lunch at the Assembly Inn You will be staying at Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking at the Assembly Inn in Montreat.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Montreat, NC
  Nearest city or town:  Black Mountain, NC; nearest large town: Asheville, NC
  Nearest highway: Route 9 to Interstate 40
  Nearest airport:  Asheville Regional Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Montreat, NC
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Knoxville, TN


From Airport




None - Car Required


Travel Time:


2 hours, all interstate 


Greenville, SC


From Airport




None - Car Required


Travel Time:


1 1/2 hours, all interstate 


Charlotte, NC


From Airport




None - Car Required


Travel Time:


2 hours, all interstate 


Asheville, NC


From Airport




various... see listing below
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


price varies
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


45 minutes 




35 miles


The Road Scholar coordinator suggests/recommends to you Grandyco Car Service 828-273-3214 and is happy to coordinate transportation for guests coming in to the Asheville airport, so price is less. Other options (visit for more) Marvels Transport 828-280-1698 A Red Cab 828-232-1112 Areawide Transportation 828-713-4710 Beaver Lake Cab 828-252-1913 Checker Cab 828-254-1155


Asheville, NC


From Bus Terminal




Commercial Van/Shuttle
same as listed for airport
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




18 miles


arrange for transport with Road Scholar coordinator at Montreat; she will coordinate times with other participants.

Driving Directions
  From All Points - to Interstate 40 Come to Western North Carolina via Interstate 40; use exit 64 for Black Mountain/Montreat/Route 9 (15 miles east of Asheville, NC). At the exit, turn north on Route 9 (go through one traffic light, across a railroad track and another traffic light, and up the hill to the traffic light). Go straight across where Route 9 becomes Montreat Road, and travel approximately two miles to the Montreat entrance (stone gate). From the gate, continue approximatley 1 1/2 miles to the middle of the conference center. The Assembly Inn is on the hill on the left, across from Lake Susan. Pull up to the front door of the Inn to unload, and then park your car in marked spaces along the lake or the Inn. Please note: do not trust a map or GPS that tries to bring you in on Route 9 (except for the last few miles) instead of Interstate 40 (unless you desire to travel along very sharp curves, up and down mountains). Also, do not take Flat Creek Road... come up Montreat Road (Route 9 North).
Elevation Note: Participants may wish to hike on their own in surrounding mountains, which peak elev. exceed 5,400.

Equipment Requirements: Anyone wishing to enjoy outdoor activities (walking, hiking) should bring hiking boots or shoes with tread on bottom.
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: Orientation
(Sunday, September 15)
 Afternoon: Arrival at the Assembly Inn, check in between 4 - 5:30 p.m. Spend some time walking around the beautiful grounds. Concrete and gravel path surrounds Lake Susan... or venture out with your map to explore the campus.
 Dinner: Join us for a scrumptious dinner in the Galax Dining Room, located on the first floor of the Assembly Inn. A full salad bar, choice of two different entrées, vegetables, rolls/bread, fruit and dessert will tempt your taste buds and your appetite! Sweet/Unsweetened tea, milk, coffee, water with tea, etc. Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
 Evening: Our opening program and orientation will be at 7 p.m. in Convocation Hall, also in the Assembly Inn. We'll spend some time reviewing the schedule for the week, and you'll have an opportunity to meet and hear from your instructors. Our evening will close with some "get to know you" activities and fellowship/games/puzzles in the lobby.
Accommodations: Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Explorations of lighthouses and other aids to navigations.
(Monday, September 16)
 Breakfast: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Breakfast 7:30 - 8:30 AM.
 Morning: Both of our morning courses will focus on Lighthouses and other aids to navigation. The first session will cover (a) Lighthouses of antiquity... early means of navigation, history of lighthouses from the first documented at Alexandria, Egypt (circa 280 B.C.) and (b) Early American lighthouses. Mid-morning, we'll have a break for something to drink and some goodies. The second session will examine (a) fuels and development of optics over the years (b) sound signals...fog horns (c) lightships and (d) electronic aids to navigation.
 Lunch: Lunch is served in the Galax dining room (typically from 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. The lunch menu varies each day, but normally features a salad bar, sandwich fixings, soup, and a yummy (light) dessert to top it off.
 Afternoon: Continued exploration of lighthouses and other aids to navigation. This afternoon, we examine (a) the five eras of American lighthouses and (b) the keeper's life in the Golden Age of Lighthouses (19th Century) After class time, you'll have an opportunity to explore the Heritage Center and take a guided walk around Montreat.
 Dinner: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Dinner, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
 Evening: "Fun in the Mountains" recreational program. Games/cards and tv available in the lobby of the Inn for fellowship.
Accommodations: Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Finishing up lighthouses and other aids to navigation, and starting out with "Developing the Wright Prespective."
(Tuesday, September 17)
 Breakfast: Whether you like muffins, pancakes or waffles, bacon or sausage, grits or oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, or a bowl of cereal and some fruit.... breakfast in the Galax Dining Room, served from 7:30 - 8:30 is sure to please! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
 Morning: Our early morning class focuses on lighthouses and other aids to navigation. Today, we look at (a) architecture and (b) reuse and preservation. Mid morning, we'll have a break and come back to the classroom for our presentation and finish up our discussion about lighthouses and other aids to navigation. We'll touch on female lighthouse keepers, depots, famous people involved with lighthouses: Joseph Henry, the Baches...grandsons of Benjamin Franklin, General George Meade, Faraday, Major Roberts (wrote Robert's Rules of Order) and others.
 Lunch: Time to eat again! Lunch will be served in the Galax Dining room on the first floor of the Assembly Inn. Today's feature: Taco Tuesday! Enjoy Mexican dishes... build your own tacos or burritos, make a Mexican salad, All the trimmings make for a delicious and fun lunch... including tortilla chips and melted cheese... sour cream and peppers. Top it all off with some warm peach cobbler and ice cream. Yum Yum!
 Afternoon: Developing the Wright Perspective --- Discover Wright's early life, how he became an architect, view some of his early works prior to forming a style of his own, and understand the design concepts he used throughout his career. Following class, there is an opportunity for a hike in the mountains. Led by a Montreat volunteer, who helped to build the hiking trail, you can explore flora (and perhaps fauna) as you walk along a mountain ridge on a trail built specifically with our Road Scholar participants in mind.
 Dinner: Galax Dining Room in the Assembly Inn welcomes us for dinner from 5:30 - 6:30. This is typically what we call the "holiday meal." Turkey, dressing, ham, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie perhaps?
 Evening: More fun for the evening. Let's relax and enjoy a musical concert or a storyteller to tickle our funny bones!
Accommodations: Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Prairie Style Homes, Experiments in Architecture, and Home is Where the Heart Is
(Wednesday, September 18)
 Breakfast: Another great breakfast buffet in the Galax Dining Room at the Assembly Inn, served from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
 Morning: This morning, our early morning course focues on Frank Lloyd Wright. Prairie Style Homes --- The origins of the Prairie Style and how Wright transitioned to it are explored. Appreciate Buffalo, NY and its unique benefactor, both of which were extremely important to Wright in the early 1900s. View Wright's structures as they exist in Buffalo today, and the variety of Prairie Style homes he designed and built across America. After a morning refreshment break, with some coffee and goodies to aid our learning, we'll return to the classroom for our continued discussion of Frank Lloyd Wright. Experiments in Architecture --- Wright was always integrating new technologies into his designs and construction methods, incorporating many of his progressive ideas into how he envisioned the evolution of American architecture. Explore and view his experiments in California, textile block houses, Fallingwater, Usonian and pre-cut homes, as well as his vision of suburbia (Broadacre City).
 Lunch: Lunch buffet in the Galax Dining Room of the Assembly Inn.
 Afternoon: Free time in the afternoon for relaxation or exploration of the area. Lots of suggestions and directions will be provided.
 Dinner: Dinner in the Galax Dining Room of the Assembly Inn, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Have you gained your required five pounds yet? Still a couple of days to work on it.. so don't worry.
 Evening: Class time.... Home is Where the Heart is --- Understand the influences that the women in Wright's life had on his career personally and professionally, the formation of Wright's architecture school, and how he used his three homes as a laboratory to test future design concepts.
Accommodations: Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Continued explorations of Frank Lloyd Wright... "International and Commercial Success" and "A Lasting Legacy" and an afternoon trip to the Carl Sandburg Home.
(Thursday, September 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet, served from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. If you haven't tried the grits yet, you really should!
 Morning: Our early morning courses focus on Frank Lloyd Wright. International and Commercial Success --- Appreciate the importance of a German publication and several projects in Japan to Wright's career, and explore the variety of commercial spaces built by Wright. We'll have a refreshment break around 10:15 a.m. and return to the classroom for our final class on Frank Lloyd Wright. A Lasting Legacy --- Recognize Wright's legacy in organizations that continue his work into the 21st century, and his many innovations in design, construction, art glass, furnishings, and textiles.
 Lunch: Lunch buffet in the Galax Dining Room.
 Afternoon: Right after lunch, we will out for a field trip to the Carl Sandbug Home, "Connemara." A Poet of the People, Carl Sandburg provided a popular voice for the American people of the twentieth century and still speaks to us through his words, songs and the beauty and serenity of Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Explore Sandburg's legacy and Experience Your America! Carl Sandburg Home NHS is located on 264 acres in western North Carolina. Visitors can tour the Sandburg Home, hike on over 5 miles of trails, and visit the farm and dairy goats.
 Dinner: Dinner is served in the Galax Dining Room from 5:30 - 6:30. Thursday night's feature is usally "italian night." spagetti, lasagna, salads, bread, and lots of great dessert.
 Evening: A fun evening with some local entertainment... either a musical concert or a storyteller. Games/cards/tv in lobby for fellowship
Accommodations: Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Final classes and discussions
(Friday, September 20)
 Breakfast: Last breakfast buffet in the Galax Dining Room at the Assembly Inn, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Splurge on those biscuits and gravy... you can work it off when you get home!
 Morning: Right after breakfast, we will leave for our field trip to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial and guided walk through of the "Old Kentucky Home," the boarding house that Tom's mother ran. Thomas Wolfe left an indelible mark on American letters. His mother's boardinghouse, now the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, has become one of literature's most famous landmarks. He composed many passages and created many characters based on boyhood remembrances experienced in this house. In his epic autobiographical novel Look Homeward, Angel, Wolfe immortalized the rambling Victorian building as "Dixieland"--but originally called "Old Kentucky Home." A classic of American literature, Look Homeward, Angel has never gone out of print since its publication in 1929, keeping interest in Wolfe alive and attracting visitors to the setting for this great novel. The sprawling frame Queen Anne-influenced house was originally only six or seven rooms with a front and rear porch when prosperous Asheville banker Erwin E. Sluder constructed it in 1883. By 1889 massive additions had more than doubled the size of the original house, but the architecture changed little over the next 27 years. Read more by going to We will return to Montreat at 11:30 for a brief closing program and checkout. Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.
 Lunch: Lunch and Goodbyes in the Galax Dining Room of the Assembly Inn 12:30 - 1:30 (box lunches provided for those who do not wish to stay through lunch)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Montreat, NC Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
The Asheville Chamber has specific information on Asheville and the surrounding area. Plenty of shops and places to visit! Enjoy a trolley tour of the city... For additional information, visit
  Biltmore Estate
George Vanderbilt's 255-room mansion built at the end of the 19th Century, with a magnificent art collection and gardens covering 35 acres. For additional information, visit
  Black Mountain / Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce located in downtown Black Mountain. Phone number 828 669-2300 Quaint small town with lots of unique shops to explore. Several of these shops are "art" based -- with items the owners make. Information on all area attractions! For additional information, visit
  Black Mountain Golf Course
Boasts the world's longest fairway. Beautiful course with views of the mountains on all sides. For additional information, visit
  Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachians -- and offer some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. Hiking trails abound, both in Montreat and in the surrounding area with seasonal flora and fauna.
  Carl Sandburg Home
A simple farmhouse and goat farm donated to the Park Service by Mrs. Sandburg after the famous author and poet's death. Video about the Sandburgs--his literary work--and hers in breeding goats. House kept as though they could come home any minute! For additional information, visit
  Cherokee Indian Village
The Oconaluftee Indian Village, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and Unto These Hills outdoor play (seasonal).
  Chimney Rock Park
Located in the Hickory Nut Gorge. Enjoy an elevator ride up 26 stores in a granite shaft to the chimney level. Gorgeous views from the top of the "chimney," and lots of hiking trails. Admission fee required. For additional information, visit
  Folk Art Center
Home of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild (located on the Blue Ridge Parkway) in east Asheville For additional information, visit
  Grandfather Mountain
Located in Linvolle, NC; attractions include a mile-high swinging bridge, natural habitat area, and hiking trails For additional information, visit
  Harrah's Casino
Harrah's Casino on the Cherokee Indian Reservation For additional information, visit
  Linville Caverns
A 35-minute walking tour through caverns deep under the Humpback Mountain. For additional information, visit
  Thomas Wolfe Home
The childhood home of the famous author -- includes a video about him. House has been made into a museum. For additional information, visit
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

Frank Lloyd Wright

Author: Meryle Secrest

The Fellowship

Author: Roger Friedland & Harold Zellman

Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright

Author: Brendan Gill

Carl Sandburg: A Biography

Author: Penelope Niven

Carl Sandburg Home handbook

Author: National Park Service

anything you'd like to read

Author: Thomas Wolfe

no recommended reading

Author: for the Lighthouses course

Description: Instructor has indicated that most books on Lighthouses are out of print (or are horsefeathers!) :)

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