Hey Everyone! Thanks to all of you that completed our earlier survey form. It helped us narrow down what we needed to do on our end.
Now we need final, committed numbers for the three activities for which we need advance reservations: The Biltmore, Whitewater Rafting, & Ziplining. If you plan to participate in any of those activities, please complete the form below as soon as possible.
Note: For more information about these and other activities, see the details below the form.
Biltmore Estate - Wednesday, May 27 - Leaving at 8:00 a.m. (Carpooling)
The Biltmore is the largest private home in America, and it is a very popular attraction for those visiting the Asheville area. We have enough to get the group rate of $40 per person ($42.80 including tax).
Admission includes a self-guided tour of the public areas of the house, access to the grounds and gardens, access to the Antler Hill Village area, and complimentary wine tasting at the Biltmore Winery at Antler Hill Village.
There are also optional tours (extra fee) that can be done individually and you can book these upon arrival or at the house.
Note: Admission fee and all optional items are subject to 7% tax.
From our original survey we had the 20 people needed to do a group buffet lunch in the Deerpark Restaurant for $25 per person (inclusive of tax and gratuity). It's VERY important we get the numbers right on this one, so if you plan to participate, be sure to indicate that in the form above.
The Biltmore can be an expensive day, but it is an interesting place and we think it would be even more fun as a group.
Paddling the Catawba River
The Catawba runs through the Rally park. Those of us with our own boats can put in at the park and paddle to Lake James.
Those that don't have boats and would like to do a float trip can rent kayaks from Catawba River Outdoors ($40 for a single, $50 for a tandem). They will bring kayaks to McDowell County Park right behind Tom Johnson's. You put in there and paddle 5 miles back to the Catawba River Outdoor Center.
They also offer a 2.5-mile trip from their place to Lake James, and you can "tube" either section for $20.
That pricing is retail. We have a lot of interest in paddling, but we won't need advanced reservations for this one.
Whitewater Rafting - Thursday, May 28
We've booked spots with High Mountain Expeditions for whitewater rafting adventures. They have a full day rafting trip on the Nolichucky River and a half day trip on the Watauga River. Both tours meet in the town of Banner Elk.
The Nolichucky includes Class III & IV rapids and it's a very, very early start with an hour drive to the meeting spot. We will have to leave around 6:00 a.m. The cost is $77 per person based on our original level of interest.
The Watauga includes Class I to III rapids and is a gentler adventure that starts later although it is still an hour drive. The cost is $61 per person based on our original level of interest
Ziplining - Tuesday, May 26
We've chosen Navitat-Ashville for our ziplining adventure. They have two different zipline tours.
The Moody Cove Adventure has ten ziplines ranging from 120 - 1100 feet in length and from 10 - 200 feet above the ground. This tour is more hands-on, and more participatory of Navitat's two tours. While guides handle all safety equipment, guests are taught and expected to do their own steering and braking. Guests can reach speeds of 35 - 40 mph. The cost is $89.10 per person.
The Blue Ridge Experience is completely different. It has only 3 ziplines, but is more of a thrill ride. The ziplines are side-by-side "racing" style and range from 1100 - 3600 feet and from 120 feet - 350 feet above the ground. Less is required of the guest on this tour, as the braking systems are fully-automated. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the fast, thrilling ride and amazing views. Guests can reach speeds of 60 - 65 mph. The cost is $80.10 per person.
Guests must be no less than 90 pounds and no more than 250 pounds.
Navitat is an hour drive from the Rally Park.
The Mount Mitchell Golf Club is about 30 minutes away and requires a drive up into the mountains. Green fees are $49 Monday - Thursday and $65 Friday - Sunday. It's a cart path only course due to the significant rains they get up there. I think the weekend rate is a bit steep.
We only had six people interested, so I didn't make tee times. I'm sure we can squeeze in a couple of foursomes later.
Winery Tour & Tasting
There are two wineries in the area that have wine tastings, winery tours, and, some days, live music. Both Silver Fork Vineyard & Winery (17 miles) and South Creek Vineyards & Winery (12 miles) have live music events scheduled for Sunday, May 24 and Saturday May 30.
Silver Fork has a $12 per person brunch buffet on May 24 with a local musician "jam" - NOW SOLD OUT. On the 30th, acoustic folk group Butterbeans will be there for a regular weekend music event.
South Creek is featuring Lee Lindsey and offering discounts to Veterans on May 24. On May 30, they are featuring pop duo Mood Swingz.
Note: Local laws don't allow them to offer "free" alcohol, so there is a tasting fee of $6 - $10 depending on the wines you choose to sample.
Creative Mountain Food Tours
The town of Black Mountain is about 30 minutes west of the Rally Park. It's a quaint town with lots of shops and a variety of great places to eat. Creative Mountain Food Tours has developed three walking tours where you visit 5 - 6 local restaurants and sample offerings at each place over a 2 1/2 - 3 hour outing.
They set up special tours for our group as follows:
Note: Linda & I did the Ultimate Foodie tour and can recommend that one. Also, it's about two miles of walking in total.
I know we have several hikers in our group and there are lots of hiking trails and waterfalls to check out. There is no cost or planning for hiking and we'll organize that at the Rally.
Note: Linda & I have done a few of the waterfall hikes and we can offer suggestions.
In addition to the above, we have some planned meals, and will have a game day, campfires, happy hours, and general sitting around enjoying each others' company.