| Breakfast: ||In the Colonial Dining Room, enjoy a breakfast buffet with selections such as scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, hot apples, grits, biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, French toast, oatmeal, fruit, baked goods, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.|
| Morning: ||A naturalist will join us at the hotel for our first lecture, a discussion of the Blue Ridge ecosystem. Natural Bridge is between mountains, with the Blue Ridge to the east and the Alleghanies to the west, and is located in the Valley of Virginia, itself a 200-mile section of the 1,200-mile Great Appalachian Valley that stretches from Alabama to Quebec. The Blue Ridge has its own character as a mostly continuous range from north of Virginia to the western end of North Carolina. Flora and fauna have continuity down the mountain line and also migrate across the ranges. Our naturalist will introduce the biodiversity of the region, how the present day flora and fauna have changed over time, and how they continue to change to this day.|
For our second class, we’ll be joined by the retired Park Service ranger who will accompany us on tomorrow’s field trip. He’ll recall his years on the Blue Ridge Parkway, including many things that only an experienced ranger could know.
| Lunch: ||In the Colonial Dining Room, enjoy today’s Chef’s selection with soup or salad, make-your-own sandwiches, or a hot entrée and sides, plus coffee (regular or decaf) tea (iced or hot), water.|
| Afternoon: ||Wear your comfortable, broken-in walking shoes as we join our naturalist for a leisurely field trip through Natural Bridge Gorge. We’ll see the plants, birds, animals and geology of this unique location, which Thomas Jefferson called “one of the most sublime places on earth.” We'll walk to Lacey Falls, with stops to sit, listen, and take in the magnificent scenery. Learn about early human history at the working Monacan Indian Village, and then learn from our naturalist why the Lost River is "lost.” There's a lot to learn, see, and enjoy, even if you go only part of the way.|
| Dinner: ||At the hotel.|
| Evening: ||A Virginia historian will present an overview of Natural Bridge in pictures, with insights into its place in history and legend.|