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A 21st Century “Chautauqua” At Beautiful Natural Bridge

Program Number: 16228RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/22/2015 - 3/26/2015; 8/9/2015 - 8/13/2015;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Natural Bridge, Virginia
Price starting at: $655.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Topic
Meals: 12; 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Theodore Roosevelt called the Chautauqua movement “the most American thing in America.” Join us to re-create that spirit. Top instructors from all VCU Road Scholar sites present a dozen tantalizing and thought-provoking classes that change from program to program on topics ranging from history to culture, folkways, the sciences, music, Shakespeare, and more.




Highlights

• Enjoy two evenings of superb musical performances.
• Spend an afternoon discovering the grand stone arch that awed the Monacan Indians, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and every generation since.
• Take in an evening light show at the Bridge.



Activity Particulars

Minimal walking and standing on this program.




Date Specific Information

3-22-2015, 8-9-2015

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



Coordinated by Virginia Commonwealth University.




Natural Bridge

Considered one of the natural wonders of the world, Natural Bridge spans a deep gorge and caverns between the Blue Ridge and Alleghenies. This ancient limestone arch became a path for wildlife, a sacred site for Monacan Indians, a gateway for settlers and a curiosity for Europeans. Thomas Jefferson called it "the most sublime of nature's works."



Accommodations
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, historic hotel complex from the pre-Interstate era; ridge-side setting with trails, buffet breakfast.

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

Jeffrey Ruggles is a historian and photographer whose specialities include the history of Virginia and 19th-20th century popular culture. He has published a book on photography and a biography of Henry Box Brown. His professional background includes curator at Virginia Historical Society, gallery exhibitions, and permanent installations. Jeffrey also owned and operated a popular restaurant in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom for a number of years.
 
John Quarstein

John Quarstein is an award-winning historian, preservationist and author who has taught at the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University. A Civil War expert, he formerly served as the director of the Virginia War Museum in Newport News. John is active in preserving Civil War and other historic sites throughout Virginia and received the President’s Award for Historic Preservation in 1993.
 
Katharine Brown

Katharine Brown grew up in a Victorian mansion with a great-grandmother who told tales of family in the Mexican and Civil Wars. Katharine earned a Ph.D. in history at The Johns Hopkins University in 1969, has taught at several universities, and has written 12 books on American social history. She has been the director of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library, and recently taught art and history at Mary Baldwin College.
 
Woody McKenzie

Woody and Marcia McKenzie are long-time residents of Virginia’s New River Valley and now live in Lynchburg. Woody builds instruments and is accomplished on guitar and mandolin, but fiddle is his greatest love. Marcia’s favorite instrument is her voice, but she plays the mandolin, guitar, clawhammer banjo, rhythm piano, drums and various whistles. Their repertoire of lively tunes, familiar ballads, sing-alongs and humorous novelty songs creates energetic entertainment.
 
Keith Gibson

Col. Keith Gibson was raised near Richmond, Va., on land hotly contested during the Civil War. He earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering at Virginia Military Institute in 1977, and after a brief tour as a Naval officer, he returned to VMI as curator of exhibits. He is now executive director of museum programs at VMI, responsible for the operation of the VMI Museum in Lexington and the New Market Battlefield Historical Park in New Market.
 
Sarah Enloe

Sarah Enloe, director of education at the American Shakespeare Center, has an MFA in dramaturgy and a master of letters in teaching from Mary Baldwin's Masters in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature, and a BFA in theatre studies from the University of Texas. She has directed “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” “Love's Labour's Lost” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” Sarah teaches at Mary Baldwin College and James Madison.
 
James Wootton

James Wootton recently retired as the executive director for Virginia's Capitol Square Preservation Council. After graduating from the University of Virginia's School of Architecture, he was curator and assistant director of Ash Lawn-Highland, home of President James Monroe. Jim has appeared in films and documentaries and authored numerous articles and publications, including a biography of Monroe's wife.
 
Nancy Sorrells

Nancy Sorrells attended Bridgewater College and received her master’s in history at James Madison University. She is a primary contributor to local dailies, newsletters of various historical societies, and co-author of “A Cyclist’s Guide to the Shenandoah Valley.” Nancy has been published in numerous publications, encompassing everything from history and government to conservation. Nancy is also an active member of several historical sites and museums as well as her local county government.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Natural Bridge Hotel
  Natural Bridge 4 nights
 Natural Bridge Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Natural Bridge Hotel was built in 1965 and is the fourth hotel to occupy the site since 1834. Its immediate predecessor was luxurious in the "Old South" style, and the present hotel offers food and lodging that retains much of that regional flavor, even though today it leans more toward the economical than to the elegant. Since World War II, Natural Bridge has been more than just the hotel and famous Bridge: it has been a tourist resort with a number of attractions and a mid-20th century vacation-by-auto feeling. In that spirit, participants will have a pass for the length of the Road Scholar program to visit Natural Bridge, the Natural Bridge Gorge, the Native American village, and Natural Bridge Caverns. In January 2014 the hotel was purchased by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, an affiliate of a Roanoke, Va. non-profit organization, and the new owner is undertaking extensive renovation of the facilities. Once the mortgage is paid, the Natural Bridge and most of the property (but not the hotel) will be deeded to the state of Virginia for a state park.
  Contact info: 15 Appledore Lane
(US Route 11 at Va Route 130)
Natural Bridge, VA 24578 USA
phone: 800-533-1410
web: www.naturalbridgeva.com
  Room amenities: TV with satellite connection, iron & ironing board, coffeepot, free wireless internet connection. Refrigerators in some rooms and available upon request.
  Facility amenities: Air-conditioned. Free parking. Dining room, classrooms, and the Red Fox Lounge in hotel. Nearby are the Gift Shop, which contains snack bar; Natural Bridge Caverns; and a hiking trail to Natural Bridge, Cedar Creek Gorge, and the Native American village. Over 2014-15, new hiking trails are being installed, and the gift shop is gradually being converted from tourist trinkets to Virginia-made products and crafts.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Variable by season. Advance registration required and stay is based on availability. Road Scholar rate varies by season.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Variable by season. Advance registration required and stay is based on availability. Road Scholar rate varies by season.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00-5:30 PM in hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Natural Bridge Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after early lunch at 11:30 AM. Room checkout is 12:00 noon. You will be staying at Natural Bridge Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. none
  Required innoculations:
Yes: Those allergic to bees should carry their own bee sting kit as field trip sites are remote and immediate medical assistance may not be available. Nearest hospital is in Lexington, VA, 20-25 minutes by car.
  Parking availability:
Parking at hotel is free for the length of the program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Natural Bridge
  Nearest city or town:  Lexington is about 15 miles northeast
  Nearest highway: US Route 11, Interstate 81
  Nearest airport:  Roanoke Regional Airport (37 miles away)
  From End of Program
  Location: Natural Bridge
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Roanoke Regional Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service
phone: 800-288-1958
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Sedan for 1-3 is $76 each way; 3 or more by van is $38 each, each way
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

50 miles

   

Natural Bridge is best reached by private car. Car rentals at Roanoke Regional Airport include Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National/Alamo. Website for airport is www.roanokeregionalairport.com, choose "Terminal Services."

 
Driving Directions
  From the East on I-64, from Richmond, Norfolk, VA Beach, Williamsburg Take I-64 west to I-81 south (I-64 joins I-81 below Staunton). Follow I-81 south beyond Lexington to Exit 180 for Natural Bridge, a left exit to US Route 11 south. The hotel is about 4 miles on US 11. Billboards announce Natural Bridge as it nears. The hotel will be obvious on your right.
  From the North on I-81, from Maryland, Washington DC Follow I-81 south beyond Lexington to Exit 180 for Natural Bridge, a left exit to US Route 11 south. The hotel is about 4 miles on US 11. Billboards announce Natural Bridge as it nears. The hotel will be obvious on your right. Alternative driving routes from the north include US 11, which parallels I-81 but is slower and prettier; or the National Park roads, Skyline Drive which leads into the Blue Ridge Parkway, which are the prettiest but also the slowest and rather wearying for long distance travel.
  From the South on I-81, from Roanoke Follow I-81 north about 35 miles north of Roanoke to Exit 175 for Natural Bridge. The hotel is about 2 miles on US Route 11 north. Billboards announce Natural Bridge as it nears. The hotel will be obvious on your left. An alternative driving route from the south is the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is pretty but also slow and rather wearying for long distance travel. Exit the Parkway at Va Route 43 west for Buchanan, and take US 11 north to I-81 for the last leg.
  From the West on I-64, from West Virginia, to the Natural Bridge Hotel Follow I-64 east to its junction with I-81 just above Lexington. Follow I-81 south about 11 miles to Exit 180 for Natural Bridge, a left exit to US Route 11 south. The hotel is about 4 miles on US 11. Billboards announce Natural Bridge as it nears. The hotel will be obvious on your right.


Required innoculations:

Yes: Those allergic to bees should carry their own bee sting kit as field trip sites are remote and immediate medical assistance may not be available. Nearest hospital is in Lexington, VA, 20-25 minutes by car.

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/Registration/Social hour/Orientation
(Sunday, August 9)
   
 Afternoon: Welcome to Natural Bridge! Register for your room after 3:30 PM at the desk in the hotel lobby. Register for Road Scholar and get your program folder between 3-5:00 PM. Enjoy a Social Hour from 5-6 pm with fellow Participants. Cash bar and soft drinks available. Please be aware that there may be more than one group of participants in this program. The format for the program can accommodate up to 3 groups of participants. Each group will have its own group leader and its own schedule of classes. However, all of the groups will eat meals together, have the same afternoon free time, and enjoy evening entertainment together.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel
 Evening: Orientation in the classroom. Before radio, TV and the Internet, the Chautauqua movement was an educational, cultural and entertainment phenomenon. Chautauqua assemblies brought speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers and other notables to whole communities in a summer camp format across the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Shakespeare was a favorite topic, music was as important as the lectures, and folks had a chance to mingle and socialize with each other. President Theodore Roosevelt once said that Chautauquas were "the most American thing in America."
   
Accommodations: Natural Bridge Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Classes morning and afternoon, Evening Light show
(Monday, August 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: During this program at beautiful Natural Bridge, VCU's top Road Scholar instructors from Natural Bridge, Staunton, and Richmond recapture the spirit of Chautauqua for the 21st century with a dozen different tantalizing and thought-provoking day classes and 2 evenings of superb education/entertainment. New course content each year includes topics in American History, Music, Math and Science, Literature, Shenandoah Culture, Shakespeare, and more. The special evening sessions present outstanding entertainer-educators whose music and authentic musical instruments provide a greater understanding and appreciation of our unique cultural heritage. We can have as many as 3 groups of participants and each group will have its own group leader and program schedule. Instructors will rotate so that everyone in each program has opportunity to attend all lectures. The sample schedule below provides an outline of our VCU "Chautauqua." Two classes this morning, with a coffee break in between. The first class is from 9:00-10:15 am, the second from 10:35-11:50 am.
 Lunch: Lunch in the hotel
 Afternoon: Time after lunch to relax, explore nooks and crannies, socialize with new or old friends, or enjoy the view of the beautiful Blue Ridge from the hotel veranda before our two afternoon classes from 1:30-2:45 pm and 3:05-4:20 pm.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel
 Evening: This evening provides the opportunity to view the "Drama of Creation," a Biblical light show with music that has been presented for over 75 years and takes place at the Bridge itself just after dusk.
   
Accommodations: Natural Bridge Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Morning classes/Free afternoon/Evening music with the McKenzies
(Tuesday, August 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Two classes with break - the first class from 9:00-10:15am and the second from 10:35-11:50am.
 Lunch: Lunch in the hotel
 Afternoon: Free afternoon. Please note: There will be one free afternoon in this program, either Tuesday or Wednesday -- which afternoon is determined by instructor availability/unavailability, and we won't know that day until a few weeks before the program begins. The two wonders of the New World that Europeans visited most in earlier eras were Natural Bridge and Niagara Falls. The Bridge has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a Virginia Historic Landmark, and it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was sacred to the Monacan Indians, surveyed by George Washington, and purchased by Thomas Jefferson, who wrote, "It is impossible for the emotions arising from the sublime to be felt beyond what they are here....The rapture of the spectator is really indescribable." You'll have a ticket to the many things to explore at Natural Bridge, including the Bridge itself, the Wax Museum and the Caverns. One of the favorites is the walk to the Bridge and beyond to the end of Cedar Creek Trail at Lace Falls. Examine flora, fauna and geology along the Trail, which is paved and meanders alongside the Lost River (which crosses over, under and sometimes disappears from, the Trail); investigate the Saltpeter Cave used during the Civil War; and visit an active re-creation of a Monacan Indian Village. You may also want to visit Lexington, about 15 miles from Natural Bridge. This historic town of approximately 7,000 is home to bookstores, shops, restaurants, 2 universities (Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute) and 4 museums: the George C. Marshall Museum, the Stonewall Jackson House, the VMI Civil War Museum, and the Lee Museum and crypt where Robert E Lee is buried. Stonewall Jackson is buried in the cemetery at Lexington.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel
 Evening: Evening entertainment
   
Accommodations: Natural Bridge Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Evening Musical Entertainment
(Wednesday, August 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Two classes with a coffee break this morning -- the first class from 9:00-10:15am and the second from 10:35-11:50am.
 Lunch: Lunch in the hotel
 Afternoon: Two classes with break this afternoon -- the first from 1:30-2:45pm and the second from 3:05-4:20pm.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner in the hotel
 Evening: Our final evening is a program of musical performance and/or other entertainment.
   
Accommodations: Natural Bridge Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Lunch and program departure
(Thursday, August 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Enjoy the final two classes -- the first from 9:00-10:15, then a coffee break before the second class from 10:35-11:50am.
 Lunch: Lunch in the hotel. The program ends after lunch, and check-out for your room is 12:00pm. However, just in case you're staying over...your ticket for the Bridge and the Natural Bridge attractions is good through Friday.
   
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


Culture under canvas; the story of tent Chautauqua


Author: Harry P Harrison as told to Karl Detzer


Description: One of a half-dozen or so popular historical accounts available about the Chautauqua movement, which flourished from 1890 to 1930



The Chautauqua moment : Protestants, progressives, and the culture of modern liberalism


Author: Andrew Chamberlin Rieser


Description: One of several scholarly histories about the Chautauqua movement, which flourished from 1890 to 1930



We called it culture; the story of Chautauqua


Author: Victoria Case and Robert Ormond Case


Description: One of a half-dozen or so popular historical accounts available about the Chautauqua movement, which flourished from 1890 to 1930





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