8999
Montreat
Mountain Wildflowers and Forest Ecology in Appalachia
Witness Southern Appalachia in full bloom and gain a deeper understanding of forest ecology as you join experts to walk and learn about the natural wonders of this idyllic region.
Program No. 8999RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
625
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrival/Orientation
Montreat, NC
D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Afternoon: Arrival at the Assembly Inn, check in between 3 - 5:30 p.m. Registration for our program will be in the lower lobby from 4 - 5:30 p.m. Pull up to the Assemby Inn porch to unload, then park your vehicle in any designated spot close to the Inn or by the lake.

Dinner: Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Galax Dining Room, on the first floor of the Assembly Inn. A relaxing break after your day of travel. All our meals are served buffet style, so grab your plate and utensils and settle in for some comfort food. A choice of two entrées (or have both), good-for-you vegetables, a complete salad bar, bread and, of course, some yummy desserts. Tea (sweet and unsweetened), coffee, milk, and water available.

Evening: Our opening program/orientation will be at 7 p.m. (usually in Convocation, also on the first floor of the Inn). We will spend some time learning a little about Montreat, meeting your instructors, going over the schedule, 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 you" activities. Refreshments and fellowship follow in the lobby, or retire to your room to rest.

DAY
2
Wildflower Identification, Nature Journaling, Arboretum
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Activity note: classes in the morning, field trip in afternoon. We will travel in vans approximately 45 minutes to the Arboretum and spend the afternoon there (about 3 hours) and come back to Montreat in time for dinner

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

Morning: We begin our week with two instructional classes: Wildflower Identification and Nature Journaling. A review of plant taxonomy (plant structures, bloom patterns, leaf specifics) will be given using images of NC Wildflowers. Primary families, defining appearances (monocots/dicots), and flower parts will be discussed. In Nature Journaling, we will consider various techniques and styles of journaling, seeing the importance of capturing thoughts and images while in the woods. A refreshment and fellowship break will happen between the two morning classes.

Lunch: lunch 12:15 - 1:15 p.m.

Afternoon: Immediately after lunch, we will board our vans for our field trip to the NC Arboretum. We will wander various trails where will exercise our new identification skills and have opportunities for journal writing and reflections. Our field trip encompasses some of the 434-acre public gardens located within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest (The bonsai display is always a favorite.) Our visit to the Arboretum will allow us to experience a part of the legacy of Frederick Law Olmstead, “the father of American Landscape Architecture.” Developed on property that was originally owned by George Vanderbilt and part of the Biltmore Estate, the arboretum is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Dinner: dinner at the Assembly Inn. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Evening: 7:00 to 8:00, "Fun in the Mountains," Glenn & Evelyn Bannerman games/cards and tv available in the lobby for fellowship movie on a big screen

DAY
3
All Day Trip "Into the Woods we go!"
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Activity note: Immediately after breakfast, we board the vans for our all day field trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We will take box lunches with us for a picnic, and be back in time for dinner

Breakfast: Another yummy buffet breakfast is served 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Get your morning off to a good start! It's the most important meal of the day...

Morning: 8:45 departure time. Today we venture into the forests of the celebrated Blue Ridge Parkway! We will hike several trails (easy/moderate) while searching for colorful blooms, wildlife, and expansive vista views. Our primary locations will be the Craggy Gardens Area (Picnic Shelter/Snowball Trail Meadow) and the Summit Trail at Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Box lunches will afford us a splendid meal while relaxing in the woods.

Lunch: box lunches at Craggy Gardens Picnic Area. The Assembly Inn will prepare a fresh lunch for us to take along on our trip. A sandwich with meat and cheese (with mayo and mustard in packets), lettuce and tomato, some chips, a piece of fruit, and a cookie will nourish us as we continue our explorations of nature.

Afternoon: After lunch, we continue our explorations of nature on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Dinner: 5:30 - 6:30 dinner

Evening: 7:00 - 8:00 evening program Evening programs are typically a fun event -- a dance, a concert, or a storyteller games/cards/tv available in lobby for fellowship optional movie on big screen

DAY
4
Botanical Gardens, Artist Responses to Nature
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Activity note: Field trip to Botanical Gardens is a 30 minute drive into Asheville, we will spend the entire morning and return in time for lunch by 12:15

Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast

Morning: We’ll then transfer for a field trip to the Botanical Gardens located on the northwest end of Asheville where they have over 600 species native to the southern Appalachian Mountains. The highlight of the week for many of our Road Scholar participants, the visit will allow us to see many species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, vines, grasses and sedges. The Garden is also a refuge to over 50 different species that are considered endangered, uncommon or rare. Several habitats offer a variety of blooms: streams, hillside, pond, and rocks. There will be ample time to wander at will, record thoughts, sketch a bit, and enjoy the tranquility of this lovely garden. As stated on their website, “Such species include Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia), Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata), Broad-leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis latifolia), French Broad Heartleaf (Hexastylis rhombiformis) and Pale Yellow Trillium (Trillium discolor).”

Lunch: 12:30 - 1:30 lunch

Afternoon: free time to explore the area

Dinner: 5:30 - 6:30 dinner

Evening: This evening, we'll have our class on “Artistic Responses to Nature” where will look at nature’s inspirations in classical fine art then produce our own as participants play with color. In considering the mind/body/spirit connections, doorways to our imagination create new artwork using the mandala form with personal symbols and meditative images.

DAY
5
All day trip in search of waterfalls.
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn, Montreat Conference Center

Activity note: Leaving right after breakfast, our van transportation will take us to 4 different waterfalls. At least two of the stops require riding in the van for an hour. Considerable walking today!

Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast is served.

Morning: "Where the Water Falls and Falls and Falls" Today we explore the waterfalls of Transylvania County (1 hr. drive from Montreat). We will visit dramatic Connestee Falls (roadside) then hike to Triple Falls and High Falls in Dupont State Forest. We will rest and enjoy our box lunches by the expansive Hooker Falls where swimming is encouraged.

Lunch: Box lunch (usually a sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie and bottled water)

Afternoon: We will round out our afternoon in Pisgah State Forest at Looking Glass Falls (roadside) with the possibility of ice cream to top off a grand day! We will return (1 hr drive) to Montreat in time for dinner.

Dinner: 5:30 - 6:30 dinner

Evening: 7:00 - 8:00 evening program games/cards/tv in lobby for fellowship (no movie tonight)

DAY
6
Montreat Labyrinth, Drawing Spiritual Connections to Nature
Montreat, NC
B,L

Activity note: The Labyrinth is located on the Montreat campus, and classroom activity ends our time together.

Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast buffet is served at the Inn.

Morning: We close our week by examining the spiritual connections through sharing our reflections from our journeys, looking at meditative options. We will walk the labyrinth in Montreat to ground our time together as we focus on new insights. We will consider the primary Elements of Celtic Spirituality: respecting connections with the Natural world, adventurous journeys, love of silence and solitude, understanding the layers of time, gratitude in daily routines, and kinship with family and friends. By discovering our personal inner landscapes, we can more clearly identify sacred or holy grounds for ourselves as places of refreshment and nourishment. 11:00 check out of Assembly Inn is required. Please use your refreshment break time to complete checkout.

Lunch: 12:30 - 1:30 lunch