North Carolina
The History of Trains and Customs of the Southern Appalachians
Gain a deeper understanding of Appalachia’s railroad legacy as you explore historic railroad depots, witness marvels of engineering and learn and sing the songs of railroad lore.
Rating (5)
Program No. 16093RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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Arrivals, Check In, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Montreat Conference Center
Assembly Inn

Afternoon: Arrival on Sunday afternoon, pull up to portico of Assembly Inn (C6 on map) to unload, park anywhere in designated spots along Assembly Inn or lake. Registration from 4 - 5:30 p.m. Dinner at 5:30, opening program at 7 p.m.

Dinner: Dinner will be served in the Assembly Inn dining doom from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. A relaxing break after your day of travel! All our meals are served buffet style, and you're sure to find your favorites on the line this week. Enjoy your choice of two entrées (or have both), good for you vegetables, a complete salad bar, bread, and, of course, dessert. Tea (sweet and unsweet), coffee, milk, water available.

Evening: Our opening program will begin at 7:00 p.m. We will spend some time getting to know Montreat, going over the schedule, meeting your instructors, and answering questions. We know you're tired from your travels, so we'll wrap up around 8 p.m. with some "getting to know each other" activities. Refreshments and fellowship follow in the Assembly Inn lobby, or retire to your room to rest.

Background on Railroads and trip to Mountain Gateway Museum
Montreat Conference Center
Assembly Inn

Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 breakfast is served in the Assembly Inn Dining Room. Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? Then you're in for a treat! Breakfast options change each day, but will incorporate lots of your favorites. Biscuits and gravy, french toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, hash browns, oatmeal (not the package kind either), and lots of others. Standard offerings include fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, granola, baked pasteries, orange juice (and another juice option). Fresh coffee or hot tea will start your morning off right!

Morning: Our early morning class focuses on "The Building of the Railroads" (lecture and slides), with Righton McCallum. Following this presentation, we'll have a refreshment break in the lobby and then return to the classroom for slides and discussion on the railroads and the logging industry. We'll also hear stories of the development of the railroads in this area.

Lunch: 12:30 - 1:30 lunch

Afternoon: In the afternoon, we'll board the bus or van for a 20 minute trip to visit the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort. From there, we'll stop for a look at the Old Fort Train Depot and see all their railroad artifacts. (If you're interested, there is a model railroad shop just across the street). If the Andrews Geyser is on (weather permitting), we will stop by there on our way back to Montreat. If we are lucky, there will be a train that will pass on both sides of us as it winds its way up Old Fort Mountain. Andrew's Geyser is along the line of Southern Railroad at Round Knob, N.C. In the Land of the Sky Near Round Knob, on Eastern Slope of Blue Ridge Mountains, within a few miles of the Great Eastern Divide, on line of Southern Railway, 26 1/2 miles East of Asheville. The Geyser throws continuously a great column of water 250 feet into the air and constitutes a spectacle unique in its grandeur. In the tortuous ascent of the mountain this wonderful geyser may be seen from first one side of the train and then another. Erected by Mr. George F. Baker, New York, in honor of his friend, Col. Alex. D. Andrews of Raleigh, first V. P., Southern Railway.

Dinner: Dinner is served from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. in the Galax Dining Room of the Assembly Inn. More good proteins and veggies, as well as a complete salad bar. Don't forget a little something for your sweet tooth!

Evening: 7:00 Our evening program, "Fun in the Mountains," will give you the opportunity to participate in some of the recreational activities that are common for this particular area. games/cards, etc. available in the lobby

Role & Customs of the Railroad in the South
Montreat Conference Center
Assembly Inn

Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a yummy breakfast buffet is served in the Assembly Inn dining room.

Morning: During our morning course, "I've Been Working on the Railroad," with Anne Lough, we'll explore songs and lore of the railroad. Relax and enjoy learning and remembering these songs and stories that were inspired by the building of the railroad, working on the railroad, riding the rails, and all other aspects of railroading. From "John Henry" to "Casey Jones" to "The Little Red Caboose," we'll hear and sing songs and recall the important part that the railroads played in our lives. (mid morning, we'll take a refreshment break).

Lunch: 12:15 - 1:15, we'll have lunch in the dining room. Taco Tuesday! A fun lunch, with several options for building your own tacos, burriots, or mexican salad. All the trimmings, including tortilla chips and melted cheese...sour cream and peppers. Full salad bar too. Top it all off with some warm peach cobbler and ice cream.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we'll have an hour with Righton to talk about the Perley and Crockett railroads meeting the southern railroad systems. Then, we're off on another adventure... a 10 minute ride into Black Mountain. A visit to the Swannanoa Valley museum shows the development and history of the community and the effect of the railroads. Walk down the street for a visit to the Black Mountain depot and caboose. Additional time for walking around the town of Black Mountain is included. This quaint, fun town offers lots of "artsy" type shops, as well as an art museum. Those who do not wish to walk around Black Mountain may return to Montreat for free time. 5:15 return to Montreat (may return earlier if desired)

Dinner: return to Montreat for dinner 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Typically our "holiday dinner" menu, enjoy fresh baked ham and turkey and all the trimmings (dressing, gravy, green beans, sweet potato casserole). And the best part... no relatives to entertain and no dishes to do!

Evening: 7:00 Musical Concert in Convocation Hall. games/cards, etc. available in the lobby

Apple Valley Railroad Museum, Free Time, Movie Night
Montreat Conference Center
Assembly Inn

Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a yummy breakfast is served in the dining room. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Morning: Our morning trip takes us to visit the Hendersonville, NC depot, which now houses the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club (AVMRC). Located in the over 100 year-old historic Hendersonville Depot at the corner of 7th Ave. and Maple Street, this 50 member club has constructed a fully scenicked HO model railroad representing Hendersonville and Western North Carolina. It occupies an area of 22?x100? and has a Western North Carolina setting. Our main yard is Asheville, N.C. where mainline trains run south to Spartanburg, S.C. and east to Spencer, N.C. At Hickory, N.C. the Carolina and Northwestern railroad departs to an upper level thru Lenoir and Mortimer and joins up with the W.M. Ritter logging railroad at Edgemont. We use a DCC radio system to control the railroad however we have the ability to run a portion of it under analog control for our members who prefer this type of operation. The tall mountainous scenery provides view blocks and makes it necessary for operators to actually walk around and follow their trains as they progress thru the layout. Track signals are installed to help members safely operate their trains. The scenery is basically complete but the railroad still requires lots of added details to enhance the overall effect. Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of locomotives and rolling stock as the club has a large collection of equipment. Members also bring their own equipment to run as well. There are some aspects of model railroading that involve operation of the railroad and the model trains in a manner that very nearly replicates prototype operations. Many model railroaders today, including some of our members, are particularly interested in this aspect of the hobby. Once a month we conduct prototypical operation sessions. Visit www.avmrc.com for more information.

Lunch: 12:30 - 1:30 lunch in the dining room

Afternoon: 1:30 - 5:30 free afternoon (we'll provide lots of options for your free-time adventures)

Dinner: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., dinner in the dining room

Evening: 7:00 Trains and the Movies with Peter Loewer. Feature: Breakheart Pass (1975) starring Charlie Bronson.

Ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Montreat Conference Center
Assembly Inn

Breakfast: early breakfast today (7 - 8 a.m), so we can depart for our train ride. Eat hearty!

Morning: 8:15 depart for train ride (Bryson City or Dillsboro, depending upon train schedule With 53 miles of track, 2 tunnels and 25 bridges, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a variety of excursions that explore the amazing landscape of Western North Carolina. With the romance and mystique of an era gone by, guests on-board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will enjoy scenic train journeys across fertile valleys and through river gorges in a spectacular region near The Great Smoky Mountains. This section of Western North Carolina offers a wide array of ever changing vegetation and fantastic landscapes. Dating back to the 1800's and located on the southside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Murphy Branch allowed access to one of the most remote and beautiful places in the world.

Lunch: We'll have box lunches on the train (that you can enjoy in your seat on the train or wait until our layover at the Outdoor Center and have a picnic).

Afternoon: arrival at train destination (Outdoor Center), and ride back to depot. free time to visit the area (and model train museum) Around 4 p.m., we'll board for our return to Montreat.

Dinner: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. dinner in the dining room

Evening: 7:00 p.m evening entertainment (either a storyteller or a concert).

Visit Craggy Mountain Line, Program Concludes
Montreat Conference Center

Activity note: Today, we'll be taking another field trip. Again, you'll need to board the transportation, and be able to climb onto the train cars at our destination (platform stools are available).

Breakfast: breakfast at the Assembly Inn from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. If you haven't tried Ronnie's biscuits and gravy yet, this is your last opportunity (and then you'll wish you'd had them all week). Back to cereal and fruit tomorrow... so enjoy!

Morning: Last year, for the first time, we had the opportunity to visit the "Craggy Mountain Line," a small railroad under development in Asheville, and it was such a hit we decided to make it part a part of the program! We will depart for our trip at 8:30 and spend about 1 1/2 hours at the line, seeing the cars and taking a short ride. Visit their website for more information (http://craggymountainline.com). We'll return to Montreat around 11 to faciliate checkout of the Assembly Inn. We'll gather with the other group in session to have a brief closing program at 12:15 and then have lunch together.

Lunch: closing program and lunch at the Assembly Inn

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