Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 30 miles, approximately 1.5 hours riding time. Walking about 1/2 mile; sidewalks, moderate inclines.
At the hotel.
We will be joined by a long-time resident of the Southern Appalachians, a folksinger-folklorist for more than 30 years. We’ll learn about Cherokee and Appalachian history and culture as it relates to Asheville and the surrounding area. We can not go into the Basilica of St. Lawrence as a group, however, they welcome our participants to come on your own during the hours of 10 - 1 p.m. and 3 - 5 p.m. on Tues, Wed, and Thurs. The Basilica was designed by Rafael Guastavino (Valencia, Spain, 1842 – Asheville, North Carolina 1908). After being commissioned by George Vanderbilt to work on Biltmore, Guastavino settled in the Asheville area and designed the basilica in 1905, a structure completed shortly after his death. It boasts the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America, a span of 58 by 82 feet.
On your own to have what you like in downtown Asheville.
We will regroup in the hotel lobby at an announced time and board the motorcoach for a field trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. At 469 miles long, it connects Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina with Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Stopping at the Southern Folk Art Center, we will be amazed at the high quality craftsmanship and goods made, sold, and curated in the Southern Highlands. We’ll travel to one of the overlooks to see the beauty of the mountains and understand why this is called the “Blue” Blue Ridge. Our expert on Cherokee's will lead a walk as he tells us about the flora and fauna of the mountains and the medicinal use of plants. We'll return to the hotel after our ride.
At a restaurant a short walk from the hotel.
As a special highlight, we’ll enjoy a performance by a folk musician who plays instruments including the fretless five-string banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, Cherokee flute, rattle, water drum, guitar, and mouth bow. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and has earned a reputation among folk music performers for his authentic style and traditional rhythms. We’ll hear traditional Appalachian and Adirondack mountain music.