Road Scholar : Home
The Vanderbilts and Asheville

Program Number: 1787RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/17/2014 - 8/22/2014; 4/12/2015 - 4/17/2015; 4/26/2015 - 5/1/2015; 5/3/2015 - 5/8/2015; 5/10/2015 - 5/15/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Flat Rock, North Carolina
Price starting at: $998.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 12; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

See America's largest private mansion, the Biltmore Estate, dressed in springtime garden splendor. From the informal Shrub Garden to the formal beauty of the Italian Garden, planned walkways lead you through native plants, trees, shrubs, spring bulbs, 250 rose varieties and the blazing color of 1,000 azaleas. Take advantage of the prime bloom stages and visual delights created by Frederick Law Olmsted, still considered to be America's foremost landscape architect.




Highlights

• Explore the forest that George Vanderbilt worked to preserve and the Biltmore Forest School, America’s first school of forestry.
• On the grounds of the estate, examine priceless artwork in the 250-room chateau and savor a tasting in the winery.
• Learn more about the Vanderbilts in Asheville, a startlingly cosmopolitan town nested in the mountains.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to 1.5 miles over paved trails and sidewalks.




Date Specific Information

8-17-2014

This week is based at a downtown Asheville hotel, located within walking distance of restaurants, shops, museums and art galleries.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



4-12-2015

.



5-10-2015

Participants will be housed in Founder`s Hall, a beautiful facility located beside The Lodge on the Bonclarken Assembly grounds.



Coordinated by Mars Hill University.




Flat Rock

In Henderson County, N.C., the village of Flat Rock is home to the Flat Rock Playhouse, the state theater of North Carolina; and to Connemara, the home where award-winning poet, historian, novelist, and folklorist Carl Sandburg lived and died. The nearby Blue Ridge Mountains attract outdoor enthusiasts with a wealth of recreational opportunities.



Accommodations
Conference center amid mountain splendor.

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

Kevan Frasier is an enthusiastic lecturer with an amazing depth of knowledge of the local region, with particular interest in the Vanderbilt family and the Biltmore Estate. Kevan was as a member of the history faculty at UNC Asheville, teaching both United States and African history. Since that time, he has continued to teach but today serves as the university’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Renaissance Hotel Asheville
  Asheville 5 nights
 Renaissance Hotel Asheville
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located in downtown Asheville with numerous restaurants, shops, museums and art galleries within walking distance.
  Contact info: 31 Woodfin Street
Asheville, NC 28801 USA
phone: 828-252-8211
web: www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/avlbr-renaissance-asheville-hotel/
  Room amenities: Air conditioned (individually climate controlled) - Alarm clock - Bottled water - Coffee/Tea maker - mini fridge - Iron and ironing board - Telephone with voice mail - cable TV - Pay per view movies.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: varies Contact the hotel direct for availability and to schedule additional overnight stays. Prices will vary depending on the time of year. Call Paula at 828-210-3006 or Sharon at 828-210-3009 for questions and reservations. Please mention that you are with the Mars Hill University Road Scholar group.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: varies Contact the hotel direct for availability and to schedule additional overnight stays. Prices will vary depending on the time of year. Call Paula at 828-210-3006 or Sharon at 828-210-3009 for questions and reservations. Please mention that you are with the Mars Hill University Road Scholar group.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel Check-in begins at 4:00pm, Road Scholar Program registration begins at 4:30pm. You will be staying at Renaissance Hotel Asheville that night.
  End of Program:
11:30am on Friday You will be staying at Renaissance Hotel Asheville the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking available
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Asheville
  Nearest highway: I-240/Woodfin Street
  Nearest airport:  Asheville Regional Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Asheville
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Asheville

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
GrandyCo Transportation of Asheville
phone: 828-273-3214
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

less than 1/2 hour 

 

Distance:

 

12

   

Please mention that you are with the Mars Hill University Road Scholar Program for a special rate.

 

Asheville, NC

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Marvels Upscale Transportation
phone: 828-280-1698
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

less than 1/2 hour 

 

Distance:

 

12 miles

   

Participant is encouraged to make arrangements in advance. Email: mr.marvels@yahoo.com. Please mention that you are with the Mars Hill University Road Scholar Program.

 

Asheville, NC

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Pegasus Airport Limo
phone: 828-281-4600
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

less than 1/2 hour 

 

Distance:

 

12 miles

   

Participant is advised to make arrangements in advance.

 

Asheville

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Airport Ground Transportation
phone: 828-209-3660
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

less than 1/2 hour 

 

Distance:

 

12 miles

   

The Airport Ground Transportation desk is conveniently located in the Baggage Claim area of the Asheville Regional Airport. Whether your destination is local or in one of the surrounding counties, taxi cab service can be obtained at the Ground Transportation desk. www.flyavl.com For Ground Transportation service, call 828-209-3660, email: gs@flyavl.com

 
Driving Directions
  From Interstate 240 I-240 East: Take exit 5A (Merrimon Avenue). Turn left at the light then left on Woodfin Street. Go 2 blocks, the hotel is on the right. I-240 West: Take Exit 5A (Merrimon Avenue); left onto Merrimon Avenue. Turn left at the second light onto Woodfin Street. Go 2 blocks, the hotel is on the right.
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: Check-in and pick up program materials, orientation, meet the staff and other Road Scholar participants.
(Sunday, August 17)
   
 Arrive To: Check-in to hotel beginning at 4:00pm. Registration begins at 4:30pm. Prepare for an exciting week, exploring the surprisingly sophisticated and historic city of Asheville, NC. You will take in the grand home and breathtaking gardens of George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, as well as other unforgettable western North Carolina attractions.
 Dinner: A delicious dinner will be served in the hotel at the Writer's Bistro, a casual chic restaurant inspired by North Carolina's rich literary history.
 Evening: Dinner will be followed by an orientation meeting, getting the week kicked off in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Participants will receive written material to supplement the educational and historical values of their week.
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Hotel Asheville
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, the North Carolina Arboretum, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cradle of Forestry and Looking Glass Falls.
(Monday, August 18)

Note: There is a considerable amount of leisurely walking today as we explore the vast lands that George W. Vanderbilt owned. Our visit to the Cradle of Forestry includes a 1.3 mile hike on a paved trail.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet will be served in the Writer's Bistro. Choose from a selection of hot foods, cereals, fruit, breads, pastries and drinks.
 Morning: George Vanderbilt's Western North Carolina estate once encompassed 125,000 acres. After breakfast we'll board the coach to begin our adventure over these vast lands. We’ll make our first stop at Looking Glass Falls in the beautiful Pisgah National Forest. Looking Glass Falls is one of the most photographed and most popular waterfall in Western North Carolina, so be sure to bring your camera!! We’ll then spend the remainder of our morning at the Cradle of Forestry, the site of the first forestry school in America. The school was founded by Dr. Carl Schenck, chief forester for George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate. The wonderfully restored buildings, including a schoolhouse, a commissary and student quarters, a portable saw mill and logging locomotive, give visitors a glimpse of life at the school in the early 1900's.
 Lunch: A delicious lunch at the Pisgah Inn Restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway!
 Afternoon: This afternoon we’ll travel North on the Blue Ridge Parkway, meandering through the rocky tunnels and climbing in elevation to the peaks of Mt. Pisgah and Fryingpan Mountain. The parkway is America's longest and most narrow national park, 469 miles long, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. After stopping for photo opts along the parkway we’ll visit the beautiful North Carolina Arboretum. The arboretum, established in 1986, is a public garden consisting of 434 acres in the Pisgah National Forest that serves as a center for botanical education, research, conservation, economic development and garden demonstrations. Our final stop before returning to the hotel will be The Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center where we will learn about the parkway's history, climate and habitat through innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. A great day of learning... and travelling the vast Vanderbilt lands!!
 Dinner: A delicious dinner will be served in the hotel at the Writer's Bistro, a casual chic restaurant inspired by North Carolina's rich literary history.
 Evening: This evening a local historian will present a program on the unique and beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina.
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Hotel Asheville
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: A Gray Line Historical Trolley Tour of Asheville will be the highlight for today!!!
(Tuesday, August 19)

Note: Learn of the history, culture and architecture of Asheville aboard the Gray Line Trolley, then enjoy the remainder of the day visiting the sites of your choice at your own pace.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet will be served in the Writer's Bistro. Choose from a selection of hot foods, cereals, fruit, breads, pastries and drinks.
 Morning: This morning learn more about Asheville's early settlers, famous citizens and authors aboard the historic Gray Line Trolley. The tour will give you a first hand glimpse into the architecture, the history and the arts that make Asheville a very unique and special place.
 Lunch: Enjoy a delicious lunch at Pack's Tavern, a quaint eating establishment in downtown Asheville.
 Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy the hop-on and hop-off services of the Gray Line Trolley. Visit the sites that you want to see...the River Arts District, Pack Square, the Basilica of St. Lawrence, the Grove Arcade...you decide. Simply hop-on and hop-off at the designated stops along the tour route. Trolleys run throughout the day and pick up in 30 minute intervals. When you're finished exploring simply hop on the trolley and ride it back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Downtown Asheville has numerous eating establishments within walking distance of the hotel. Tonight is your night to taste some of those delicacies. Enjoy a meal in one of the local eateries or dine-in at the Writer's Bistro in the hotel on your own.
 Evening: A free evening! There's lots of things to do in Asheville at night within walking distance of the hotel - restaurants and sweet shops, theatre, shopping and even baseball (if schedule permits, ballpark about a mile from hotel) to name a few... or, just enjoy a swim in the hotel pool, relax in the hot tub, or just kick back and watch a little TV! Your decide!!
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Hotel Asheville
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Today, we'll enjoy a lecture on the Vanderbilts and the Estate. After lunch we'll take a short stroll to tour the Asheville Art Museum and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.
(Wednesday, August 20)

Note: There will be a fair amount of walking as we visit the Asheville Art Museum and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet will be served in the Writer's Bistro. Choose from a selection of hot foods, cereals, fruit, breads, pastries and drinks.
 Morning: We will begin our day learning about the van der Bilt family who came to America from Holland around 1650. We'll learn of George Vanderbilt's ancestors as well as his descendants, individuals who remain active in the life of the estate today. We'll also learn of the history of the estate since it's opening in 1895.
 Lunch: A delicious lunch will be served in the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we'll trek up the hill to the Asheville Art Museum. Don't worry, it's only a short walk!! The museum web page describes it best: "Founded by artists in 1948 in Asheville, NC, the Asheville Art Museum annually presents an exciting, inviting and active schedule of exhibitions and public programs based on its Permanent Collection of 20th and 21st century American art. Any visit will also include experiences with works of significance to Western North Carolina’s cultural heritage including Studio Craft, Black Mountain College and Cherokee artists. Special exhibitions feature renowned regional and national artists and explore issues of enduring interest." We'll then visit the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, a beautiful Victorian style home built in 1883. Wolfe, one of America's greatest writers was born in 1900 and lived with his mother Julia who bought the "Old Kentucky Home" in 1906 and opened it as a boarding house. The famous author mentions the house in his 1929 autobiographical novel, "Look Homeward Angel."
 Dinner: A delicious dinner will be served in the hotel at the Writer's Bistro, a casual chic restaurant inspired by North Carolina's rich literary history.
 Evening: Learn about the architecture and treasures of the Estate as well as receive glimpses into tomorrow's visit to America's Largest Home!
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Hotel Asheville
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Spend the day at the Biltmore Estate!
(Thursday, August 21)

Note: This is your day! Spend it in the grand house, in the gardens, and on a special guided behind-the-scenes tour showing you additional rooms of the chateau. Bring your walking shoes and your camera!



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet will be served in the Writer's Bistro. Choose from a selection of hot foods, cereals, fruit, breads, pastries and drinks.
 Morning: This morning we make our first visit to the Biltmore Estate for a self-paced, self-guided tour of the 250-room Vanderbilt home. There, you will see the luxurious living areas of the Vanderbilt family, lovingly restored to the grandeur of Vanderbilt's time, and filled with priceless, carefully preserved artworks and furnishings. You will also enjoy a special behind-the-scenes guided tour where you will see additional rooms that are not on the self-guided tour.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at the Biltmore Estate. The Stable Cafe Restaurant has a nice selection of sandwiches and gourmet lunches.
 Afternoon: Afternoon continues at the Biltmore Estate, as you spend time wandering the gardens and shops or enjoying the beautiful views afforded from the home itself. Visit the glass-roofed Conservatory, which was designed by Biltmore House architect Richard Morris Hunt, and which operates much as it did in Vanderbilt's Day. There, thousands of flowers and plants for Biltmore Gardens are nurtured before transplant. The central room of the conservatory is a Palm House, where a large collection of palms, ferns and other foliage plants have thrived for many years. Annexes include a cool house, a hot house and an orchid house.
 Dinner: Enjoy a wonderful catered dinner in the Sams Dining Room of Pittman Dining Hall on the campus of Mars Hill University.
 Evening: This evening we will take a short stroll across the beautiful campus before being entertained by some performing arts students of Mars Hill University. Mars Hill has participated in Road Scholar programs since the 1970's. Tucked beneath the lofty Bailey Mountain, the institution, founded in 1856, is the oldest educational institution of Western North Carolina existing on it's original site. Following our visit to the university enjoy a short 20 minute ride back to the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Renaissance Hotel Asheville
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: A return to the Biltmore Estate to visit the winery and Antler Hill Village.
(Friday, August 22)

Note: Moderate walking as we visit the winery and Antler Hill Village.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet will be served in the Writer's Bistro. Choose from a selection of hot foods, cereals, fruit, breads, pastries and drinks.
 Morning: This morning we'll depart for a visit to Antler Hill Village, home of the Biltmore Estate Winery. The first vineyards were planted in 1971 and eight years later in 1979 the first bottle of wine was sold. You'll have an opportunity to tour the winery complex and enjoy a complimentary juice or wine tasting. Several exhibits and shops are in Antler Hill Village for your enjoyment as well. We will return to the hotel by 11:30.
   
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


Asheville: Mountain Majesty


Author: Lou Harshaw


Description: A lifelong resident of Asheville and regional historian, author Lou Harshaw offers a firsthand look at the history and development of this magnificent city by drawing upon a host of historical sources as well as an extensive oral tradition. She follows the development of Asheville from village to town to city, always reflecting the feeling of the times. The result is a journey through time, documenting the evolution of one of the most intriguing cities in the United States. www.brightmountainbooks.com/titles/asheville.html



Lady on the Hill: How Biltmore Estate Became an American Icon


Author: Howard E. Covington Jr.


Description: From Publishers Weekly: Set amid thousands of lushly landscaped acres in the North Carolina mountains, the Biltmore estate is a 250-room Gilded Age mansion stuffed to the rafters with objets d'art. Writing a very authorized business history rather than an architectural appreciation, journalist Covington celebrates the estate's transformation from quasifeudal folly to lucrative tourist mecca. Built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, who played lord of the manor to hundreds of tenant farmers and servants, the estate passed in the 1960s to his grandson William Cecil, whose tight-fisted budgets, canny marketing initiatives and rapt attention to customer service turned it into a profitable museum of robber-baron privilege, selling more tickets than Colonial Williamsburg. The author's sycophantic account of this not unduly exciting saga is mainly a tribute to Cecil, who wrote the afterword. Covington defends the Biltmore owner's model of private, for-profit historical preservation against charges of commercialism leveled by nonprofit preservationists, repeats his complaints about inheritance taxes, extols his entrepreneurial daring, salutes his Biltmore restoration projects ("surpassed what many had seen anywhere") and raves about "customer satisfaction reports... comparable to those enjoyed by a five-star resort." This anodyne hospitality-industry success story will find a place in the Biltmore gift shop, but probably nowhere else. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.





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