Activity note: Inn check-in from 4:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration, 4:00 – 5:00 pm. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.
Dinner: At the inn dining room, we’ll enjoy from a buffet selection of entrees, salads, fruits and beverages buffet style.
Evening: Before our orientation, we will enjoy an ice cream social. Orientation. 7:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile, standing in line to board trains, high step into and out of train, lugging raft with raft mates to riverside, paddling rafts down mountain stream (Bring a towel and change of clothes). Getting on/off train with high steps.
Breakfast: At the inn dining room, we will start our day with a hearty breakfast buffet featuring eggs, meat option, bread, biscuits or pancakes, grits, cold cereal, with coffee, tea, water, juice included.
Morning: We’ll depart by motorcoach for the quaint town of Bryson City, approximately 10 miles southwest of Cherokee. All aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad! We will enjoy the scenic beauty of the area as the train journeys across fertile valleys, river gorges, and a trestle bridge across Lake Fontana in a spectacular region called the Great Smoky Mountains. At the crest of the river gorge, we will stop briefly as the engine uncouples and moves to the opposite end of the train to take us back down the river gorge to our picnic destination at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Lunch: At the Nantahala Outdoor Center, we will enjoy a picnic-style meal with boxed lunches.
Afternoon: After lunch, 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. Bring a change of clothing, we might get wet!
Dinner: At the Nantahala Outdoor Center, we’ll enjoy a buffet meal featuring an entrée, salad, bread, and beverage.
Evening: At leisure to enjoy the trails and gardens of Lake Junaluska.
Activity note: Walking shady trails through the village and sunny trails through the Farm Museum about 1 mile. Evening visit at over 6000' elevation.
Breakfast: Dining room buffet.
Morning: Our morning adventures begin with a moderate level trail hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We’ll walk about a mile into the shady, green, wild forest and cross a rushing stream on a footbridge. Our expert will assist with plant identification and talk about the history and culture of the Southern Appalachians and the peoples who settled here as we walk through the forest. This time of year we might see wild turkeys, a turtle, songbirds, butterflies, a snake or two, and maybe some signs of bear and elk.
Lunch: At a scenic location in the park, we will enjoy a picnic-style meal with boxed lunches, including a sandwich, fruit, cookies, and chips, plus water.
Afternoon: We’ll then ride the bus to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the Mountain Farm Museum sit in a beautiful meadow by the river where elk are often seen. The Visitors Center displays walk us through the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Steps away, the Mountain Farm Museum is a collection of historic buildings used by Appalachian settlers. The buildings were selected for preservation during the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and carefully moved from their original homestead locations to re-create an early farmstead. We will have a scavenger hunt while exploring the gardens, barns, log cabin, spring house, and blacksmith shop. Afterwards, while gathered on the shady Visitor Center porch, we will hear some of the geologic history and resulting array of semi-precious stones mined here in the Southern Appalachians from our Group Leader. A short bus ride away, we’ll try our hand at panning for gemstones as a grandparent and grandchild team.
Dinner: At Granny's Kitchen in Cherokee, we will enjoy a family-style buffet featuring salad and vegetable options, bread, fried chicken, beef, and a choice of pie for dessert. Coffee, tea, water included.
Evening: We’ll ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Waterrock Knob, at over 6000', to enjoy spectacular views, or climb the short, steep paved trail.
Activity note: Walking at over 6000' elevation all day, with crouching, squatting, and bending to catch, measure and release salamanders.
Breakfast: Dining room buffet.
Morning: Our destination today is the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We will capture, record, and release salamanders as part of an on-going research program.
Lunch: At the Science Center, we will enjoy a picnic-style meal with boxed lunches.
Afternoon: We will participate in a terrestrial invertebrate study, a lichen monitoring project, or another of the many Citizen Science projects underway to gather information useful in protecting our national parks and forest lands. As we leave Purchase Knob, we will take a short hike through the grounds to the John Ferguson Cabin, the highest remaining cabin in the park at an elevation of 4700'.
Dinner: Dining room buffet.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Inn check-out 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Dining room buffet.
Morning: We will gather to end our time together with rollicking Appalachian songs and a few sing-a-longs with a well-loved local musician.
Lunch: Dining room buffet. Pre-ordered boxed lunches available for early departures. This concludes our program.
Afternoon: If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!