18073
Montreat
Biltmore & Beyond: The Wonders of Western North Carolina
Explore the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Lure on hikes and boat rides, and delve into the local heritage and history with visits to the homes of the region’s most famous residents.
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Program No. 18073RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
825
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Orientation
Montreat, NC
D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Afternoon: Arrival at the Assembly Inn, check in between 4 - 5:30 p.m. Pull up to the porch area to unload your luggage, then park nearby in any designated parking spot. Unpack and enjoy a snack and a stroll around Lake Susan before dinner.

Dinner: Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. All meals are served buffet-style in our Galax Dining Room, or if you prefer, enjoy a meal outside in our Tea Garden or on Wharton Porch! We are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions requested by our guests. Below are just some of the options that might make up each of your dinner meals. •Fresh salad bar •Baked chicken •Roast beef •Broiled fish •Mashed potatoes •Assorted vegetables •Assorted desserts •Iced tea •Regular & decaf coffees

Evening: Our opening program and orientation will be at 7 p.m. We will spend some time orienting ourselves to Montreat and to the schedule for the week. You'll have a chance to meet some of your instructors and your fellow participants. We know you're tired from your day of travel, so the program won't last more than an hour. We will view a short DVD on the Biltmore House to sart off our week.

DAY
2
The Biltmore Estate
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Breakfast: Breakfast is served 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. in the dining room. Is breakfast your favorite meal? Then you're in for a treat this week. Selections vary daily, but always incorporate Sliced fruit, Assorted cereals, Yogurt, Granola, and pastries. Assorted fruit juices and coffee will start your day off right! Things to look forward to: Scrambled eggs •Bacon & sausage •Waffles or pancakes •Grits (of course!) or Oatmeal (not the packaged kind either!)

Morning: Righton McCallum will present two topics this morning, both related to the Biltmore Estate. "The Men Who Built the Biltmore" and the "Vanderbilt Family History." Morning classes will be broken up with a 30 minute refreshment break.

Lunch: We will enjoy a quick "early" lunch and board the transportation to the Biltmore Estate

Afternoon: Arrival at the Biltmore House for a self guided walk though the House (audio tapes available), gardens and conservatory. From there, we'll travel down to the winery, farm and barn areas, We depart from the Biltmore around 5 p.m. for our return to Montreat. Info from the Biltmore Estate website: The History of America's Largest Home. Building Biltmore was, at the time, one of the largest undertakings in the history of American residential architecture and the results were astounding. Over a six-year period, an entire community of craftsmen worked to build the country's premier home. The estate boasted its own brick factory, woodworking shop, and a three-mile railway spur for transporting materials to the site. A New World Château. The celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt modeled the house on three châteaux built in 16th-century France. It would feature 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement alone would house a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants' quarters, kitchens, and more. An Environmental Wonder. The grounds of the 125,000-acre estate were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of New York's Central Park and the father of American landscape architecture. He not only developed acres of gardens and parkland, but in his efforts to protect the environment and reclaim over-farmed land, Olmsted established America's first managed forest. A True Family Home. George Vanderbilt officially opened the home to friends and family on Christmas Eve in 1895. He had created a country retreat where he could pursue his passion for art, literature, and horticulture. After marrying the American Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1873–1958) in Paris during the summer of 1898, George and his new bride came to live at the estate. Their only child, Cornelia (1900–1976), was born and grew up at Biltmore.

Dinner: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Dinner, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Evening: Glenn & Evelyn Bannerman join us for a "Fun in the Mountains" program... your chance to experience how the mountain folks enjoy spending time together! Games/cards and tv available in the lobby of the Inn for fellowship.

DAY
3
Downtown Asheville and the Thomas Wolfe House
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Breakfast: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Breakfast 7:30 - 8:30 AM.

Morning: The first morning presentation will focus on the History of Asheville and the second lecture will speak to it's long time resident, and author, Thomas Wolfe. Morning classes will be broken up with a 30 minute refreshment break.

Lunch: Early Lunch at the Assembly Inn, 11:30 - 12:15

Afternoon: Board transportation for trip into Asheville *** Our first stop is the Basilica of St. Lawrence. *** What is a Basilica? The title dates back to the early Greek and Roman times and referred to a type of public building. In the 4th century, Basilicas began to be used as places of worship. It was during this time that construction of the greatest basilicas of Rome were started. Today, the term Basilica is a special designation given by the Holy Father to certain churches because of their antiquity, dignity, historical importance or significance as a place of worship. *** From there, we will drive the streets of downtown Asheville, taking note of the Urban Trail and architecture. Our next stop is the Thomas Wolfe Home where we'll visit a the museum and have a guided tour of the "Old Kentucky Home" boarding house where Wolfe grew up. *** Considered by many to be one of the giants of 20th Century American Literature, Thomas Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. Wolfe's colorful portrayal of his family, his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, and the Old Kentucky Home boarding house earned the historic Victorian home a place as one of American Literature's most famous landmarks.

Dinner: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Dinner, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Evening: Evening program will be something fun (storyteller, musical concert).

DAY
4
Chimney Rock Park and Lake Lure
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Breakfast: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Breakfast 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Have you tried Ronny's biscuits and gravy yet? They're my favorite!

Morning: At 8:30 a.m. transportation departs Montreat for Chimney Rock Park. Experience fantastic views from the top of Chimney Rock--Climb to the top of this towering 315-foot monolith located on the very edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains high above beautiful Hickory Nut Gorge. At a soaring elevation of 2,280 feet with its 75-mile views, this mountain top experience will take your breath away. And, you can get to the top of the "Rock" with great ease or some effort. It's up to you!

Lunch: A picnic lunch on the grounds of Chimney Rock Park will refresh us for our afternoon adventures. No rain, please!

Afternoon: After, enjoy a narrated boat ride tour on Lake Lure! Discover the beauty and charm of Lake Lure. Relax on a covered boat while your skipper guides you past local attractions and landmarks such as the locations used in filming the popular Dirty Dancing and the recently restored historic 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa. Listen to the legends, and learn about the natural and cultural history of Hickory Nut Gorge, home to Lake Lure, North Carolina. Return to Montreat enjoy the rest of the afternoon for relaxation or other explorations. Visit the Presbyterain Heritage Center and/or participate in the "Walk Around Montreat" (guided walk around the campus)

Dinner: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Dinner 6:00 - 7:00 P.M.

Evening: Free evening to relax or enjoy games, puzzles or visiting.

DAY
5
Carl Sandburg Home and Goat Barn; Show at the Flat Rock Playhouse, the state theatre for NC
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Breakfast: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Breakfast 7:30 - 8:30 AM.

Morning: 8:30 departure on provided transportation to the Carl Sandburg Home located in Flat Rock, NC. You will enjoy a guided walk-through of the Carl Sandburg House, as well as explorations of the goat farm and beautiful walking paths. Guided Tours of the Sandburg Home Taking a guided tour of the historic Carl Sandburg Home with over 65,000 artifacts on display is an insightful glimpse into the lives of the Sandburg family. Visiting Connemara Farms Goat Dairy Mrs. Sandburg owned and operated a premier goat dairy from 1935 to 1965. Here at Connemara the dairy became a Grade A operation, with milk being distributed to local dairies and sold in stores around the community. Mrs. Sandburg's goat breeding program produced champion goats and led to the improvement of goats as milk producing animals. Enjoy the Connemara Farms' goat-herd. The park service raises goats that represent the three breeds of goats Mrs. Sandburg raised at Connemara. Rangers and volunteers are on hand to share this facinating story about goats and Mrs. Sandburg's dairy goat operation. Outdoor Pursuits "It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, 'Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?'...If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one's time-the stuff of life" -Carl Sandburg as quoted from a letter to his friend, Ralph McGill. Enjoy the solitude of Connemara. Hike its many trails and take from it the energy to avoid diversions.

Lunch: Box lunches at the picnic area at the Carl Sandburg Home or on the Flat Rock Playhouse porch (if raining)

Afternoon: Experience a show at the Flat Rock Playhouse, the state theatre for NC! After, we will return to Montreat and enjoy some free time. ***The State Theater of North Carolina ***As the beautiful Western Carolina region continued to grow, so did the Playhouse and in 1961, by a Act of the NC General Assembly, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theatre of N Carolina. What began as a few weeks of summer performances in 1940 is now an eight month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences.***The Playhouse Today***The Playhouse’s dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a ten-show professional series; a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program; performances and cabaret series by the YouTheatre; year-round classes and workshops for students from kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 90,000 patrons annually and is a major contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina. ***OUR SHOW.... information will be updated closer to the program, depending on the offerings at the Flat Rock Playhouse.

Dinner: Assembly Inn Dining Room, Dinner 6:00 - 7:00 P.M.

Evening: Fun evening to finish up our week! (storyteller or concert)

DAY
6
NC Arborteum
Montreat, NC
B,L

Breakfast: Assembly Inn Dining Room, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Last chance to try Ronny's biscuits and gravy... go ahead... just once!

Morning: Immediately after breakfast, we will board the transportation for the NC Arboretum. The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest. Surrounded by the dense folds of the botanically diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Arboretum is nestled in one of the most beautiful natural garden settings in America. Established in 1986 by the General Assembly as an inter-institutional facility of the University of North Carolina, the Arboretum came into existence nearly a century after this country's father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, first envisioned such an institution near Asheville. An employee of the Arboretum will give us an hour-long walk through the grounds. At 11:45 a.m., we will have our closing program and then return to the Assembly Inn for lunch. However, if you wish to stay longer to visit the arborteum or to leave from the arborteum instead of returning to Montreat, we can request a box lunch for you.

Lunch: Assembly Inn Dining Room, 12:30 - 1:30 (box lunches provided for those who do not wish to stay through lunch)