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Making Memories: A Blue Ridge — Smoky Mountain Expedition With Your Grandchild

Program Number: 21361RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/6/2014 - 7/11/2014; 7/5/2015 - 7/10/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Mars Hill, North Carolina
Price starting at: $799.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; History & Culture; Outdoor Adventures, Misc.
Intergenerational
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Vegetarian    

Program intended for grandchildren from 10 - 13 years of age.

Experience western North Carolina with your grandchild and make memories to last a lifetime! Together, learn about the history, science and culture of the rugged and beautiful region that surrounds the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smokies. Field trips all week long will take you inside the earth, down the river, through the forest and back in time as you learn about geology, railroad history, the plants and animals of the forest, Cherokee Nation heritage and much more.




Highlights

• Adventures in the outdoors include trekking inside the earth at Linville Caverns, mining for rubies and other gems at the Smoky Mountain Gold and Ruby Mine in Cherokee, crossing America's highest suspension footbridge and hiking the Appalachian Trail.
• Experience the history and culture of the Cherokee on a visit to the Oconaluftee Indian Village, complete with a performance of “Unto These Hills,” an outdoor play portraying the unique story of the Cherokee.
• Journey to Bryson City to explore the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, then ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad across fertile valleys and river gorges to the Nantahala River to go river rafting.



Activity Particulars

Hike up to two miles on moderate inclines. Walking and standing up to 90 minutes on field trips. Get in and out of raft, use paddles to help steer.



Limit two children per adult.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Mars Hill, 3 nights; coach to Cherokee, 1 night; coach to Mars Hill, 1 night; departure.



Coordinated by Mars Hill University.




Mars Hill

Situated in the Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina/Tennessee border 15 miles north of Ashville, Madison County is home to several communities, including Mars Hill. Surrounded by deep-green mountains, the city resonates with Appalachian traditions and regional culture. The Rural Life Museum at Mars Hill College preserves these traditions.



Accommodations
Mars Hill: Residence hall on the campus of Mars Hill College, shared baths. Cherokee: Clean, comfortable hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Mars Hill University - Brown Hall
  Mars Hill University 3 nights
   Cherokee Quality Inn
  Cherokee, North Carolina 1 night
   Mars Hill University - Brown Hall
  Mars Hill University 1 night
 Mars Hill University - Brown Hall
Type: Campus/Dorm
  Contact info: Joe Anderson Drive
Mars Hill, NC 28754 USA
phone: 828-689-1167
web: www.mhu.edu
  Room amenities: Basic Dormitory setting
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Two bedroom (4 twin beds) suites with one bath. There are a few 3 bedroom suites (6 beds) with two baths.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Check out time: 10:30 AM

 Cherokee Quality Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Quality Inn is located in the Great Smoky Mountains on the Cherokee Indian Reservation beside the Oconaluftee River. All guest rooms include coffee makers, free wireless high-speed Internet, local calls and a free weekday newspaper. The hotel also offers guest laundry and free Cherokee shuttle service.
  Contact info: Hwy 441 Bypass
Cherokee, NC 28719 USA
phone: 828-497-4702
web: www.qualityinncherokeenc.com
  Smoking allowed: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 pm You will be staying at Mars Hill University - Brown Hall that night.
  End of Program:
9:00 am You will be staying at Mars Hill University - Brown Hall the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking available for duration of program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Mars Hill University
  Nearest city or town:  Mars Hill, North Carolina
  Nearest highway: Interstate 26
  Nearest airport:  Asheville Regional Airport in Asheville, NC
  From End of Program
  Location: Mars Hill University
    (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:

 

3/4 hour 

 

Distance:

 

38 miles

   

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
Pegasus Airport Limo
phone: 828-281-4600
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

3/4 hour 

 

Distance:

 

38 miles

   

Participant is advised to make arrangements in advance.

 

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:

 

3/4 hour 

 

Distance:

 

38 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.

 
Driving Directions
  Asheville, North Carolina Take exit 4A off Interstate 240 in Asheville. Follow I-26 West approximately 18 miles to the Mars Hill Exit (Exit #11). Turn left and proceed to 2nd light, then turn left onto South Main Street. Proceed approximately 1/4 mile and turn right onto Joe Anderson Drive. Take the first right into Brown Hall parking lot.
  Johnson City, Tennessee From Interstate 81 take I-26 East to the Mars Hill, North Carolina exit #11. Turn left at the light and take another left at the next light onto South Main Street. Proceed approximately 1/4 mile and turn right onto Joe Anderson Drive. Take the first right into Brown Hall parking lot.
Elevation Note: Mars Hill elevation is 2300. Will travel to areas over 3000 feet in elevation.

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 Orientation
(Sunday, July 6)
   
 Afternoon: Check into Brown Hall on the campus of Mars Hill University between 3pm and 5pm.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served at 5:30pm in Pittman Dining Hall.
 Evening: An orientation meeting and ice cream social will be held at 7:30 in the evening.
   
Accommodations: Mars Hill University - Brown Hall
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful Linville Caverns, a relaxing ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and a visit to Grandfather Mountain!
(Monday, July 7)

Note: There will be a good amount of walking today while visiting Linville Caverns and Grandfather Mountain.



   
 Breakfast: A full breakfast buffet in Pittman Dining Hall
 Morning: This morning we will visit Linville Caverns where we'll venture inside Humpback Mountain for a unique educational experience, learning first-hand about the geological make-up of the surrounding mountains.
 Lunch: Lunch in Little Switzerland, North Carolina
 Afternoon: After lunch, we'll have some free time to explore the quaint surroundings of Little Switzerland and enjoy the cool mountain breezes. We will then make a brief stop at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals before travelling north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather Mountain has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations. A park ranger will provide an educational session and orientation at the beginning of our visit. Enjoy the mile-high swinging bridge, a 227-foot steel structure that is America's highest suspension footbridge and the 360 degree vistas of the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Gather additional knowledge of the mountain while visiting the museum and don't forget to bring your cameras! You'll want to photograph the bears, otters, cougars and more in their natural habitat!
 Dinner: Full buffet in Pittman Dining Hall on the Mars Hill College campus.
 Evening: Enjoy some friendly group competition on the sand volleyball court followed by a good old fashioned water melon cuttin' afterwards!!
   
Accommodations: Mars Hill University - Brown Hall
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Enjoy a morning hike on the Appalachian Trail, a trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine, visit the magnificent Biltmore Estate and root for the home team at an Asheville Tourists baseball game (2014 game schedule permitting)!
(Tuesday, July 8)

Note: Hiking on the Appalachian Trail will not be overly strenuous but will involve walking up several inclines.



   
 Breakfast: A full breakfast in Pittman Dining Hall.
 Morning: After breakfast we'll depart for Sam's Gap to enjoy a morning hike on the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail, completed in 1937 is a 2,184 mile scenic footpath spanning the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine! Following our morning hike we will return to campus to "freshen up" and have lunch before our afternoon visit to the Biltmore Estate. For those not up for the hike, spend your morning relaxing or taking a stroll across the beautiful campus of Mars Hill University, the oldest educational institution of Western North Carolina on its original site.
 Lunch: Lunch will be provided in Pittman Dining Hall.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will visit the magnificent Biltmore Estate. En route we will enjoy a video that will introduce us to the world of the Vanderbilt's. George Vanderbilt officially opened his home to family and friends on Christmas Eve in 1895. The chateau is America's largest home, consisting of 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. There's a swimming pool, gymnasium with changing rooms, bowling alley, servants' quarters, kitchens, and much, much more. After your tour, relax and enjoy a nice scoop of Biltmore Ice Cream in the estate creamery shop.! Tour at your own pace and enjoy your visit! Following our tour of the Biltmore Estate, we will make a stop in downtown Asheville for a brief city tour then dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in downtown Asheville.
 Evening: Tonight we're going to take you out to the ballgame (if 2014 scheduling permits), an Asheville Tourists baseball game of course! Minor league baseball began in Asheville in 1894 and some of baseball's most notable players have played there including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehring and Jackie Robinson. Today, the minor league club plays in the Class A South Atlantic League and has been a farm team of the Colorado Rockies since 1994. Root for the home team, enjoy some hot dogs, popcorn and drinks and sing along to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the 7th inning stretch!
   
Accommodations: Mars Hill University - Brown Hall
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Search for rubies at the Sheffield Ruby Mine, learn about the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians at the Oconaluftee Indian Village and then enjoy the outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills" in the evening.
(Wednesday, July 9)

Note: Clothing may get soiled while panning for rubies so wear something that you don't mind getting wet and dirty! We'll check into the hotel before lunch so you will have a chance to change your clothing if you wish. Don't forget a light jacket for tonight's outdoor drama!



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast Buffet in Pittman Dining Hall.
 Morning: After an early breakfast we'll depart for the Sheffield Ruby Mine, one of the oldest ruby mines still in operation in the Cowee Valley of Western North Carolina. This mine was once owned by Tiffany and Company and for the past 60 years has been open to the public. Gems from the mine are found on a regular basis, especially sapphire and the Star Ruby, a ruby that is only found here and in Burma, India. The three classifications for rubies from the mine are squeakers, honkers and super honkers. Squeakers must weigh in at 15 carats, honkers at 30 and super honkers at 100. Honkers are found on a regular basis while smaller rubies and sapphires are numerous. Sheffield is an "unsalted mine", meaning no gems are added to their dirt. For those wanting to find lots of colorful stones, the mine does offer "salted" buckets with gems from other parts of the world.
 Lunch: Boxed lunched will be provided
 Afternoon: After our picnic lunch we'll check into our hotel in Cherokee, North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains for our overnight stay. We will visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village, an authentic Cherokee community depicting life in the 18th century. Cherokee guides will tell of their history, culture and life styles of their ancestors as we meander through the village and observe Cherokee artisans demonstrating their crafts. We'll learn about the seven clans, the replica seven-sided council house and explore Cherokee homes as they were some 250 years ago. We will then travel inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and visit an old homestead and possibly see some of the park's herd of elk or other wildlife.
 Dinner: Dinner in Cherokee
 Evening: This evening we will visit the Mountainside Theater, home of the eternal flame of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. There we will see the outdoor drama "Unto These Hills," the story of the Cherokee of eons ago, up through the heartbreaking Trail of Tears and ending with the Cherokee people of today. "Unto These Hills" is one of the oldest outdoor dramas in the nation and has sold almost six million tickets!
   
Accommodations: Cherokee Quality Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Today we'll take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and then enjoy a whitewater rafting guided tour down the Nantahala River!!
(Thursday, July 10)

Note: Paddling in the raft!



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast provided at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we travel to the small quaint town of Bryson City, approximately 10 miles southwest of Cherokee. There you will have time to explore the town and visit the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum before we board the train. The museum has over 7,000 "Lionel" engines, cars and accessories with impressive realistic displays. Several toy trains travel all day meandering through the crafted villages and mountain settings. As a guest on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, you will enjoy the scenic beauty of the area as the train journeys across fertile valleys and across river gorges in a spectacular region called the Great Smoky Mountains. This section of western NC offers a wide array of ever changing vegetation and fantastic landscapes. All Aboard!!!
 Lunch: Lunch provided.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we'll raft down the Nantahala River, one of America's most popular rafting runs. We will begin our adventure with a paddling orientation and then depart for our 8 miles fully guided rafting journey. There is no guarantee that you won't get wet! So, bring along a change of clothing. Changing area is located at the rafting center. If there is anyone who does not want to raft, they may return to Bryson City via the train.
 Dinner: Closing celebration dinner in Pittman Dining Hall!!!
   
Accommodations: Mars Hill University - Brown Hall
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: We gather for breakfast to wrap-up the week and say goodbye to our new friends.
(Friday, July 11)
   
 Breakfast: Closing Breakfast in Pittman Dining Hall.
   
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: LouHarshaw


Description: "Sometimes called the Paris of the South, Asheville is known for its grand mountain views, rich and diverse culture, deep-rooted artistic heritage, historical architecture, and the legendary Biltmore Estate. Author Lou Harshaw - historian, teacher, lecturer, and lifelong resident of Asheville - gives a firsthand look at the history and development of this magnificent city by drawing upon a host of historical sources and an extensive oral tradition. The result is a journey through time that documents the emergence and evolution of one of America's most attractive and intriguing cities."



LIVING STORIES OF THE CHEROKEE


Author: Barbara R. Duncan, Editor


Description: This remarkable book, the first major new collection of Cherokee stories published in nearly a hundred years, presents seventy-two traditional and contemporary tales from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in north Carolina. It features stories told by Davy Arch, Robert Bushyhead, Edna Chekelelee, Marie Junaluska, Kathi Smith Littlejohn, and Freeman Owle - six Cherokee storytellers who learned their art and their stories from family and community. Barbara R. Duncan is Education Director at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina.



SEQUOYAH AND THE CHEROKEE ALPHABET


Author: Alvin Josephy


Description: By the 1770s, the European colonists had settled along America's eastern seaboard, and begun to move west, into land still held by Indians. The Cherokee Indians were told to either give up their traditional ways of life and adopt the ways of the white people, or give up their land and make way for the settlers. But Sequoyah, a lame Cherokee craftsman, saw a way for his people to live among the whites, but still keep their Indian culture.



THE CHEROKEE NATION, A HISTORY


Author: Robert J. Conley


Description: The Cherokee Nation is one of the largest and most important of all the American Indian Tribes. Robert Conley begins his survey with Cherokee origin myths and legends. He then explores their relations with neighboring Indian groups and European missionaries and settlers. He traces their forced migrations west, relates their participation on both sides of the Civil War and the wars of the twentieth century, and concludes with an examination of Cherokee life today.



TOURING THE BACKROADS OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA


Author: Carolyn Sakowski


Description: Western North Carolina has had its share of significant roads - the Blue Ridge Parkway and the equally spectacular Cherohala Skyway, the old Mount Mitchell and Big Tom Wilson motor roads, the infamous "tail of the dragon," the number one motorcycle and sports-car route in the East. But have you ever wondered what lies down that little-traveled byway heading uphill and into the woods, or wanted to know the story behind that historical marker by the side of the road? The 21 tours in Touring the Western North Carolina Backroads cover an area as noteworthy for its history as for its mountain scenery. They visit places and travel in the footsteps of people.





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