PICKIN' AND GRINNIN' WITH BRUCE...
Bruce Greene, world renowned for his work in preserving and playing old time Kentucky fiddle music. Bruce has spent much of his life apprenticing with musicians born as far back as the 1880’s. He absorbed their music and the rich stories of Southern Appalachian life which led to the lyrics, and he shares them in a relaxed setting on a farm in the South Toe Valley. Just one of so many interesting Americans we spend time with people who are living a different life than ours!
FARM DINNER AND STARRY SKIES...
Open Ridge Farm: There’s no better way to unplug than enjoying home cooked right out of the ground dinners in the rustic yet comfy outdoor dining space at this small organic farm. Sitting at the base of the highest peak in the east, Gretchen and Jona’s farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains fosters an intimate setting for our nightly reflection circle by the fire. After a full day exploring the rich culture and the rural ecosystem, relax to the nightly show put on by the stars in such a dark sky. The bustling nearby creek provides sweet background music.
BEAUTY ON FOGGY MOUNTAIN...
Explore this unique ecosystem—the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest, a remnant of the last ice age. Covering just 100 square miles, this is the second most endangered ecosystem in our country. Appreciate the beauty and wonder of life within this foggy mountain top, while also witnessing destruction of pollution, logging, climate change and invasive species. Sure gets you thinking…
We customize each experience… options are endless!
DAY 1: Owning your Experience
Welcome to North Carolina! Your guides introduce the Story Approach & Expedition Mentality, and our first nightly reflection circle empowers students to be fully engaged in their experience.
DAY 2: Biodiversity; South Toe Valley, Burnsville Area
Enjoy breakfast at a family farm before an exhilarating hike within this one-billion year-old mountain chain, home to one of the world’s most biodiverse temperate forests. Tonight learn about traditional music in the southern Appalachians – its roots, its importance, and how it has changed since the mountains were first settled.
DAY 3: Southern Appalachian Heritage; Blue Ridge Parkway to Spruce Pine
Start with a whitewater kayak adventure on the Toe River!
Then visit the most renowned handcraft school in the country: Penland School of Crafts to try our hand at glass blowing, pottery, woodworking, printmaking, welding and more. Tonight dinner is at the famous farm-to-table restaurant, Knife and Fork, where we learn from Chef Nate a bit about Southern fare.
DAY 4: Agriculture & Medicine Through Time; South Toe Valley, Burnsville Area
Explore how rural communities relate to the land, for food and medicine- and how that relationship has evolved over time. Through hands on work, learn about permaculture and sustainable agriculture at Open Ridge Farm.
Both guides were outstanding – Gretchen obviously did many of the things that needed to be done in the background so that things ran smoothly. Adam, clearly had the outdoor expertise that we all appreciated. Both were fabulous with the students.
Outdoor Survival skills really stood out as a highlight as the skills taught can hopefully be transferred to life in Vancouver.
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