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Road Scholar

Road Scholar is the name for the programs developed and offered by Elderhostel, Inc., the not-for-profit world leader in lifelong learning since 1975. Our mission is to empower adults to explore the world's places, people, cultures and ideas, and in doing so learn more about themselves. A fellowship of learning and the joy of discovery are the hallmarks of the Road Scholar experience.

Road Scholar offers 5,500 educational tours in all 50 states and 150 countrires. Alongside local and renowned experts, experience in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities, from cultural tours and study cruises to walking, biking and more.

For information about Road Scholar programs offered by the Intentional Growth Center, email Laurey Faye Dean, Road Scholar Program Coordinator, at, or call 800-482-1442, ext 384.

To get access to full program descriptions and to register, contact the National Road Scholar Office at 1-877-426-8056 or online at, or follow the links below for specific programs. 

Directions to Lake Junaluska.


2017 Road Scholar Programs

June 4-9 & Sept. 17-22, 2017 | Program #20552

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the nation. Do more than just visit! Experience this national treasure in a memorable way as you hike trails, visit the Cherokee Reservation, spend time at a Ranger Station and help with on-going research into the effects of air pollution in the park. Go into the Cataloochee Valley to visit buildings dating from the 20th century and observe the elk reintroduction project first-hand.

Instructors: Lee Knight, Freeman Owle, Greg Kidd & Susan Sachs

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June 18-23 & October 22-27, 2017 | Program #22829

The Women of Appalachia: Traditions, Stories and Song

Delve into the fascinating lives and history of the women who made their mark on the culture of Appalachia as you explore three enriching topics. With experts, explore the culture of the Cherokee and learn about their matriarchal and matrilineal customs. Consider the legacies of the Appalachia women in history and learn about the influence of early Scottish settlers. Enjoy performances with storytellers and musicians, and venture into historic Franklin where adventures take you into museums and significant Cherokee sites.

Instructors: Lee Knight (Beloved Women of Cherokee), Anne Lough/Bobbie Pell (Appalahican Women), Flora MacDonald Gammon (Women in Song and Story)

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July 9-14, 2017 | Program #21361

Intergenerational: Making Memories, A Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountain Expedition with Your Grandchild

Experience western North Carolina with your grandchild and make memories to last a lifetime! Together, learn about the history, science and culture of the rugged and beautiful region that surrounds the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smokies. Field trips all week long will take you inside the earth, down the river, through the forest and back in time as you learn about geology, railroad history, the plants and animals of the forest, Cherokee Nation heritage and much more.

Instructors: Lee Knight and Freeman Owle

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July 21-24, 2017 | Program #15162

Folkmoot USA: North Carolina's International Folk Festival

Enjoy a true behind-the-scenes experience of Folkmoot USA, an international folk festival steeped in tradition and dedicated to the celebration of cultures of countries around the world through music and dance. Folkmoot (an Old English word meaning "meeting of the people") has featured performers from more than 100 countries since its inception in 1984. Attend performances, participate in a workshop with one of the groups and even learn a folk dance!

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August 20-25* & October 8-13, 2017 | Program #21340

The Song, History & Culture of the Celts, Scots and Appalachians

The heart and soul of the Celtic people are deeply reflected in the lovely, plaintive airs, lively jigs and reels and rich and imaginative storytelling. Through lecture, music, art, storytelling and more, learn about the Scots-Irish heritage of Southern Appalachia. Discover the history and culture of the Celtic immigrants who have traveled to this region for over 100 years, and study the Celtic Christianity and the powerful role it played in the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries B.C.E.

Instructors: Anne Lough (Celtic Legacy), Flora MacDonald Gammon (Land, Land, My Land: The Scots-Irish Migration to America) & Marilyn McMinn McCredie (Mythology in Modern Society)

*This date features a field trip to view a total solar eclipse, a once in a lifetime opportunity!

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Sept. 10-15 & Nov. 26-Dec. 1, 2017 | Program #21338

The Culture of Appalachia: The Scots, Scots-Irish and the Cherokee

Learn about the hearty people who have put their indelible stamp on the culture, music and history of Appalachia as you explore three enriching topics. Scottish music is omnipresent in Appalachia-- learn about its source in the homeland! Tune up your vocal chords and join in songs beckoning the heart of local culture, and explore the sobering story of Cherokee history that dates back hundreds of years, up to today. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the nearby Biltmore Estate, the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and more!

Instructors: Flora MacDonald Gammon (Scotland's History & Culture Through Music), Lee Knight (Cherokee of Yesterday and Today), and Anne Lough (From Ulster to the Appalachians

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October 9-13, 2017 | Program #16415

Cherokee Culture in the Great Smoky Mountains: Oral Traditions and Perfoming Arts

Cherokees have lived in the mountains of North Carolina for thousands of years, developing an alphabet, written langugae and culture that blended with the natural environment. Experience their unique heritage during field trips to the Cherokee Indian Reservation and formal class instruction led by native Cherokees.

Instructor: Freeman Owle

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October 9-13, 2017 | Program #22927

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Through a Photorapher's Lens

Join a national park expert and a professional photographer and instructor to practice and improve your photography skills with the Great Smoky Mountains as your subject. Learn about the park's past, present and future at evening lectures, and capture its beauty by day as you explore the most famous nooks and crannies of the park, from Purchase Knob to the Newfound Gap. Get daily insights from your personal photographer on composition and techniques that will help you get the frame-worthy shots of the Smoky Mountains wildlife and landscapes.

Instructor: Don McGowan

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Nature Hiking in the Southern Appalachian Mountains | Program #17288

May 21-26, June 4-9, June 25-30, July 23-28, Sept. 10-15, Oct. 8-13 and Oct. 15-20, 2017

Lace up your hiking boots and explore the scenic trails and natural wonders of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains in a small group with a hiking naturalist who will reveal the wonders of wildflowers and mountain life. In this program you will...

  • Hike to spots above 5,000 feet, like Standing Indian Mountain and Wesser Bald Fire Tower, and take advantage of exquisite views to learn about the area. 
  • Walk on sections of the famous Appalachian Trail, including Muskrat Creek Shelter portion, Winding Stair Gap and Dick's Creek Gap.
  • Study the natural history of the area with a local trail and nature expert on sections of the "Chunky Gal" Trail and en route to High Shoals Falls.

This progam is at the Hinton Center in Hayesville, NC. Participants will stay in modern facilities at Hinton Center, which is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains overlooking Lake Chatuge. Alcohol/smoke-free facilities. 

Choose date and register now!

Stay tuned for 2018 Road Scholar dates to be announced soon!