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A Virginia Sampler: Exploring Blue Ridge Mountain Historical Sites

Program Number: 13052RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/21/2014 - 9/26/2014; 11/2/2014 - 11/7/2014; 3/29/2015 - 4/3/2015; 5/10/2015 - 5/15/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia
Price starting at: $675.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture; Natural History
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Smith Mountain Lake are renowned for their beauty, history and distinctive culture. Join academic experts to discover the compelling stories behind Thomas Jefferson and Booker T. Washington, immerse yourself in famous Appalachian feuds, experience the compelling story of D-Day, briefly hike the Appalachian Trail and enjoy a boat trip on beautiful Smith Mountain Lake (weather pending). Cap your adventure with a night of unique regional entertainment.




Highlights

• Join a renowned Appalachian Trail hiker/author on a short (3/5 of a mile) trek on the Trail itself.
• An exploration of Thomas Jefferson's personal retreat, Poplar Forest, will reveal his architectural brilliance — mirroring Monticello.
• Experience the National D-Day Memorial in tiny Bedford, VA and thrill to the story of the town’s noble sacrifice of 21 young men who stormed the beaches on June 6, 1944.



Activity Particulars

Short hike on the Appalachian Trail featuring rocky and uneven terrain. Those not desiring to do the hike can relax at the Peaks of Otter Lodge on beautiful Abbott Lake.




Date Specific Information

9-21-2014, 11-2-2014

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



Coordinated by Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Center.




Smith Mountain Lake

This popular destination, often called the "Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains," comprises 500 miles of shoreline within a historic three-county region that includes Jefferson's "Poplar Forest" retreat and the birthplace of Booker T. Washington.



Accommodations
Modern lodging on the shores of beautiful Smith Mountain Lake. All rooms on ground floor; wireless internet access available throughout campus.

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

Often referred to as "The Habitual Hiker,” Leonard Adkins has walked more than 30,000 miles through the wilderness and backcountry areas of the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Iceland. He has hiked the entire length of Appalachian Trail five times and is the author of several books on hiking. In the off-season he publishes photographs and writes articles for various publications such as Backpacker, Caribbean Travel and Life, Wonderful West Virginia and Colorado Daily.
 
Jim Baldwin

Jim Baldwin is a descendent of the founder of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, a private detective agency that played a vital role in the Appalachian region at the turn of the 20th century. Jim holds a bachelor’s in music and religion from the University of Richmond, and is a well-known choral director and musician in the Roanoke Valley. He has worked at Virginia's Explore Park, the National D-Day Memorial, and was development director for the Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia.
 
April Cheek-Messier

April Cheek-Messier served as the director of education at the D-Day Memorial since January, 2001 — six months prior to its dedication in June, 2001 - until her appointment as Director of the Memorial in early 2013. She holds a B.A. in history and English from Hollins University, as well as an M.A. in history from Virginia Tech and a M.A. in education from Hollins. She is a 2004 recipient of the prestigious Virginia Attraction Employee of the Year and is a member of the Virginia Association of Museums and the National Council for History Education.
 
Betsy Haynes

Betsy Haynes is a park ranger at the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia. She began her career with the National Park Service there as a volunteer in 1987 and became a full-time employee in 1990. Betsy has also served as a firefighter during fires in a number of national parks and has served as a National Park Service public information officer. She earned her degree in historic preservation at the University of Mary Washington.
 
Tim Sims

Tim Sims attended Ferrum College in Virginia before beginning a career with the National Park Service that has spanned for nearly 20 years — 12 of those years as a park ranger. Today, he serves as chief of interpretation at Booker T. Washington National Monument where he is also responsible for farm management and volunteer coordination at the park.
 
Janet Blanchard

Janet Blanchard has an extensive educational and National Park Service history. She holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from East Carolina University, and a master’s degree in public history from North Carolina University. Janet has worked for the Park Service at Cane River Creole National Park, Arlington House (Robert E. Lee's home), Maggie Walker National Historic Park and, for the past two years, at Booker T. Washington's National Monument.
 
Bill Barker

Bill Barker has portrayed Thomas Jefferson in a variety of venues since his first appearance at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1984. He has continued to appear as Jefferson for Colonial Williamsburg as well as the White House, Versailles, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN and stage productions of the musical, 1776. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Bill received a B.A. in history from Villanova University and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He has been portraying Jefferson for Road Scholar programs for over a decade.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center
  Smith Mountain Lake, VA 5 nights
 Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center
Type: Conference Center
  Contact info: 775 Hermitage Rd.
Wirtz, VA 24184 USA
phone: 540-721-2759 xext264
web: www.skelton4hcenter.org
  Room amenities: Each room is equipped with a dresser and abundant shelf/closet space, a table and two chairs for relaxing/reading. Table lamps and a clock radio are provided in each guest room.
  Facility amenities: The Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center is a modern, multi-purpose conference facility. Up to 400 people can gather in the Center's dining and auditorium facility and/or meet in our 12 meeting rooms. In addition, we offer two picnic shelters, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, horseshoes, mini-golf course, campfire circle, amphitheater campfire, sports fields, nature trails and a beautiful scene from the shoreline gazebo and deck. The Center has 57 lodging rooms with private baths than can sleep up to 228 people and features wireless internet service throughout the campus. We offer a quiet, peaceful setting which provides our Road Scholar guests the opportunity to focus on the coursework for the week and the time to get to know one another in greater depth.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $50-$60 Lodging may be available before and/or after each program begins. Please contact Dennis Crowley at 540-721-2759, ext. 264 to make arrangements.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $50-$60 Lodging may be available before and/or after each program begins. Please contact Dennis Crowley at 540-721-2759, ext. 264 to make arrangements.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Taubman Conference Room - 3 p.m. You will be staying at Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center that night.
  End of Program:
Taubman Conference Room - 12:45 p.m. You will be staying at Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
There is ample free parking available within 50 feet from lodging accommodations.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Smith Mountain Lake, VA
  Nearest city or town:  Roanoke, VA
  Nearest highway: I-81
  Nearest airport:  Roanoke, VA
  From End of Program
  Location: Smith Mountain Lake, VA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Roanoke, VA

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Yellow Cab
phone: 540-345-7711
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $70
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

45 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 miles

   

Very often Participants are able to obtain return transportation to the Roanoke, VA airport with fellow Participants they have met during the program. However, if this is not an option additional commercial transportation providers available to the Roanoke airport include: Liberty Cab - 540-344-1776, Prestige Limo - 540-342-8049, Executive Limo - 540-366-4644, Airport Limo - 540-345-7710.

 

Roanoke, VA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Yellow Cab
phone: 540-345-7711
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $70
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

45 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 miles

   

Additional transportation providers available from the Roanoke airport include: Liberty Cab - 540-344-1776, Prestige Limo - 540-342-8049, Executive Limo - 540-366-4644, Airport Limo - 540-345-7710.

 
Driving Directions
  Roanoke, Virginia From I-81 take exit 143 - I-581 South (220 South) through Roanoke and Boones Mill. Continue past Boones Mill - being careful to avoid the speed trap continually in operation there - on 220 South for approximately 4.5 miles to the stop light at Wirtz Rd. (Rt 697). Dairy Queen & Exxon Station will be on the left. Turn left on Wirtz Rd. (Rt. 697) Follow Wirtz Rd. for approximately 5 miles to a stop sign. At the stop sign turn left onto Booker T. Washington Highway (Rt. 122). Go about 1 mile to Burnt Chimney - turn right on Burnt Chimney Rd. (Rt. 670). Follow Burnt Chimney Rd. for 7 miles to Lovely Valley Rd (Rt. 668). Turn right onto Lovely Valley Rd. (Rt. 668). Follow Rt. 668 about 1 mile to the stop sign. Turn right onto Crafts Ford Rd. (Rt. 944) - go approximately 1 1/2 miles to a sharp curve and turn left onto Hermitage Rd. (Rt. 669). Follow Hermitage Rd. to the Center - the Taubman Conference Center where registration will be held is in the first building on your left as you enter the Center grounds just past the cemetery. A map with detailed instructions will be included in the Welcome Packet.
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/Center Tour/Dinner/Orientation
(Sunday, November 2)

Note: We will enjoy a casual, 30 minute walking tour of the Center grounds. Participants should be able to walk up a short, relatively steep walkway or they may desire to opt out of this portion of the tour.



   
 Arrive To: Participants are welcome to arrive at the Center any time after 1 PM; however, formal registration begins at 3 PM and extends until 5 PM. At 5 PM we'll gather together in the Conference Center to begin a voluntary, casual walking tour of the Center grounds.
 Dinner: Your first meal with us will be dinner served in Smith Hall - the Center's administrative and dining facility. All meals are served in an "all you can eat" buffet style which has people coming back for oftentimes more than seconds - including dessert! We can accommodate low fat, low salt, vegetarian and Atkins diet devotees.
 Evening: Your Road Scholar Coordinator will begin the Orientation/Get Acquainted portion of the program promptly at 7 PM. We will also view a 10 minute film which provides a good overview of Smith Mountain Lake itself. After a 10 minute break we'll gather together again for the get acquainted part of the evening. Given past experience we should be through by 8:30 PM allowing you ample opportunity to rest up for the next day's activities.
   
Accommodations: Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Breakfast/Thomas Jefferson/Lunch/Field Trip to Poplar Forest - Thomas Jefferson's Retreat/Dinner/Thomas Jefferson
(Monday, November 3)

Note: We will utilize a van to travel to Poplar Forest. Once we arrive it will be necessary for participants to walk a short distance and stand for approximately one hour.



   
 Breakfast: Our first breakfast at the Center will begin at 7:30 AM - the buffet line will remain open until 8:15; however, as is usually the case most participants will arrive early to begin sampling the fare.
 Morning: The morning period of instruction will begin at 8:45 providing ample time to freshen up after breakfast but you won't want to be late since Thomas Jefferson has a great deal to tell us about the political and social culture of today and yesterday. You'll leave the classroom with a much greater appreciation and understanding of this extraordinary, but all too human, man. Refreshments are always available throughout the morning just in case breakfast was not quite filling enough!
 Lunch: Our first lunch together will introduce you to the many and varied delicacies prepared in our kitchen under the guidance of our own "Aunt Mandy".
 Afternoon: We'll begin by boarding our motor coach/van at 1 PM after fortifying ourselves at Aunt Mandy's luncheon buffet. The trip to Poplar Forest is a relaxing hour's drive away Upon our arrival at Poplar Forest we'll have an opportunity to to view the grounds of Jefferson's home as well as the interior. Both venues provide ample evidence of Jefferson's brilliance and foresight in horticulture and architecture. Since Poplar Forest is still undergoing restoration and renovation you'll have a unique chance to inspect the daily archaeological work taking place on site. At the completion of our visit you'll exit through (where else) the gift shop where Jeffersonian memories can be purchased. We'll return to the Center just in time for Dinner at 5:30.
 Dinner: Dinner at 5:30.
 Evening: As a complement to the discussions about Jefferson and your own personal experience this afternoon, our instructor will engage you in a spirited discussion of Jefferson and his legacy.
   
Accommodations: Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Breakfast/Booker T. Washington/Lunch/Field Trip to Booker T. Washington's Birthplace and National Monument/Boat Trip on Smith Mountain Lake/Dinner/Movie - "What About Bob?"
(Tuesday, November 4)

Note: Our drive to Booker T. Washington's Birthplace and National Monument will take only 15 minutes. Once there participants should be able to walk a short distance and stand for approximately one hour.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at 7:30.
 Morning: We'll travel to Booker T Washington Monument and National Park and you'll be enthralled and uplifted by one of the nation's most stirring stories of an individual who rose from slavery and abject poverty to become a respected educator and early African American civil rights leader. Booker T. Washington was born on the nearby Burroughs "plantation" in 1856 and through his own intelligence and ambition became the founder of Tuskegee Institute and eventually an advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt. Through discussion and a visit to the Booker T. Washington Birthplace and National Monument we'll trace the life of this remarkable American. On our tour of the site you'll be startled to view the size of the plantation "big house" and its close proximity to the cabin where Washington, his mother and siblings, lived and worked.
 Lunch: Lunch at Noon at the Booker T Washington Birthplace
 Afternoon: We'll spend part of the afternoon at the Booker T. Washington National Monument for a more in depth look at life on the Burroughs "Plantation" where Washington was born and spent his formative years. On our tour of the site we'll have an opportunity to view an introductory film on Washington's life and tour the reconstructed cabin where he lived and worked with his mother and siblings. We'll then leave for a short drive to our boat on which we'll enjoy a leisurely tour of Smith Mountain Lake - the "Jewel of the Blue Ridge"
 Dinner: Dinner at 5:30.
 Evening: The movie - "What About Bob?" - starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss - was actually shot at Smith Mountain Lake. As a result, locations and sites in the movie will be pointed out as we travel to our "field trip" destination - your chance to see a little of what goes into selecting scenes and locations for movies.
   
Accommodations: Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Breakfast/Appalachian Trail/Lunch/Field Trip to Peaks of Otter - Blue Ridge Parkway - Appalachian Trail/Dinner/Multi-Media Presentation - Appalachian Trail
(Wednesday, November 5)

Note: A busy day! Our trip to the Appalachian Trail will take us to the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The hike on the Trail is only 6/10 of a mile, but the terrain is rocky; consequently, those not desiring to walk the Trail may stay at the beautiful Peaks of Otter Lodge and enjoy the lakeside scenery.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at 7:30.
 Morning: The morning period of instruction will begin at 8:45 providing ample time to freshen up after breakfast. Until Noon we'll learn about the many facets of the Appalachian Trail including the history of the Trail interspersed with stories and anecdotes told by a Trail veteran. You'll also learn what to take with you as a day or "through" hiker including how to ensure you pack as much gear weighing as little as possible. Refreshments are always available in the unlikely event breakfast was not filling enough.
 Lunch: Lunch at Noon.
 Afternoon: You're in for a real treat as we travel by motor coach/van to the Peaks of Otter located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along the way a number of interesting and historical sites will be pointed out and described. Once we arrive at our destination those desiring to participate will take a short (.6 mile) hike on the Appalachian Trail over somewhat uneven terrain to a Trail shelter and review the Trail journal which will be there waiting for us. Those electing not to participate may stay at the Peaks of Otter Lodge overlooking beautiful Abbott Lake. Along the way our instructor will point out interesting plant and animal life we're sure to come across. After our return to the van we'll take a short drive to an overlook which will afford us a spectacular view of Arnold Valley. Then it's on to the Peaks of Otter Lodge for the ubiquitous gift shop break and a view of Abbott Lake. We'll arrive back at the Center in time for dinner at 5:30.
 Dinner: Dinner again at 5:30.
 Evening: As a complement to the discussions about the Trail and your own personal experiences this afternoon our instructor will treat you to a media session devoted to depicting in vivid color the many diverse wonders the Trail has to offer its visitors. From his five complete traversings of the Trail our instructor has taken hundreds of photographs of wildflowers native to the area the Trail covers throughout the Eastern United States and the best of them will be displayed tonight together with appropriate music and stories. A perfect and tranquil finish to a delightful day spent among nature's beauty.
   
Accommodations: Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Breakfast/D-Day Discussion/Film/Lunch/Field Trip to National D-Day Memorial/Dinner/Entertainment
(Thursday, November 6)

Note: The National D-Day Memorial will inspire and touch you emotionally as well. Participants should be able to walk a short distance and stand for approximately one hour. Golf cart tours are available for those not able/desiring to walk/stand.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at 7:30.
 Morning: Class begins again at 8:45. We're fortunate to have with us during the morning class session a staff member from the National D-Day Memorial located in Bedford, Virginia. During the discussion of the events that unfolded on and before June 6, 1944 we'll have an opportunity to learn not only the military, economic and social impact the invasion had on world history, but also the effect it had on the little town of Bedford, Virginia. In 1944 Bedford was a small farming community in rural Southwestern Virginia with a population of around 3,200. On D-Day this little town lost 23 young men in the invasion effort. The effects of this tragic loss are still felt in and around the town since, as is common in small communities across the country, everyone knew everyone else. Proportionally, Bedford suffered the severest D-Day losses of any locality in the country; consequently, Congress rightly decided the National D-Day Memorial should be located in Bedford - as a living, perpetual memorial to the thousands of Allied forces who made the supreme sacrifice in history's largest and most significant combined military effort. As part of the D-Day story we'll also view a video about the day and the town of Bedford produced by a French television company - an interesting opportunity to view the event from the French perspective.
 Lunch: Lunch at Noon.
 Afternoon: We'll board the motor coach/ van at 1 PM for the 45 minute ride to Bedford and the National D-Day Memorial. We'll have an opportunity to view some of the scenes in person we viewed in the "What About Bob"? movie. Upon our arrival at the Memorial those who desire to ride a golf cart around the site will be given an opportunity to board one. The tour will take approximately an hour and will culminate in - naturally - a visit to the gift shop. You may want to purchase a copy of the tape you viewed earlier in the day and/or other interesting material pertinent to D-Day. A number of prior participants have told us they wanted to be sure to take something home with them to give to grandchildren, children, etc. in order to ensure that generations that come after them do not forget the sacrifices and importance of the D-Day story. As always we'll arrive back at the Center in time for dinner at 5:30.
 Dinner: Dinner at 5:30.
 Evening: The entertainment will leave you pleasantly surprised and finally mesmerized by the talent on display. Since you all have a long trip home tomorrow the "show" will conclude by 10 PM.
   
Accommodations: Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Breakfast/Great Feuds of the Southern Appalachian Mountains/Lunch/Departure
(Friday, November 7)

Note: The morning will be spent in class.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at 7:30.
 Morning: Class begins at 8:45 after room checkout. Learn the details and little known facts of some of the famous feuds of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Guided by a descendant of the famed Baldwin-Felts Agency - the "detectives" that hunted down the Hillsville Massacre fugitives and the "police" who enforced "law and order" in the Coal Field Wars - you will inspect the specific motives behind well-known mountain feuds like the Hatfields and McCoys and explore sensational showdowns like the Matewan Massacre. Is there a central theme that connects all these incidents? Were there really Appalachian Romeos and Juliets? Were there even feuds at all, or were they just part of a political hoax? Who is innocent, who is guilty? Come and find out for yourself!
 Lunch: Lunch at Noon.
 Afternoon: Departure after Lunch. Have a safe trip home and come back to see us soon!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
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 Walk In The Woods


Author: Bill Bryson


As Far As The Eye Can See


Author: David Brill


Blood Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance


Author: Liosa Alther


Booker T Washington: A Re-Examination


Author: Lee Walker


Courthose Tragedy Hillsville, VA


Author: Rufus Gardner


D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for Normandy Beaches


Author: Stephen Ambrose


Guest of Honor: Booker T Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation


Author: Deborah Davis


Jefferson and His Times - 6 volumes


Author: Dumas Malone


Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day


Author: Cornelius Ryan


The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor's Companion


Author: Leonard Adkins


The Bedord Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice


Author: Alex Kershaw


The Character of Thomas Jefferson


Author: Joseph Ellis


The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys


Author: Dean King


The Road to Monticello:The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson


Author: Kevin Haynes


The Story of My Life and Work


Author: Booker T Washington


Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power


Author: Jon Meacham


Up From History


Author: Robert Norrell


Up From Slavery


Author: Booker T Washington


Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail


Author: Leonard Adkins




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