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 countries. 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, 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 roadscholar.org, or follow the links below for specific programs.

Road Scholar Programs

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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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)

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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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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
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.

Choose date and register now!



Photo Credit: Larry Klug


Photo Credit: Dianne Klug

April 8-13 & September 16-21, 2018 | Program #21338
Brave Hearts, Mountain Musical Traditions, & Cherokee of Yesterday and Today

Tap your toes to Scottish music, join in Appalachian folk songs and trace Cherokee history to present day during your studies at Lake Junaluska. You’ll answer the fascinating question— “Who are the peoples of Scotland?— using the songs of Scotland to delve into the history of a magic land. Engage in delightful   exploration and participation of Appalachian balladry, folk songs, dulcimer and shaped note singing. Finally, walk through hundreds of years of Cherokee culture and history, including one of  America’s darkest tragedies, the Removal of tribes to the West.

Instructors: Flora MacDonald Gammon, Lee Knight & Anne Lough

Choose date and register now!


April 15-20, May 13-18, Sept. 9-14 & Oct. 7-12, 2018 | Program #22927
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Through a Photographer’s Lens

Capture the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains through the lens of your camera as a professional photographer lends his expertise on sunrise and  wildlife photography and more. Armed with sunrise photography techniques from your instructor, capture daybreak from 5,000 feet at Appalachian Highland Science Learning Center, followed by an old-fashioned pancake breakfast. Learn about Cataloochee Valley’s Elk Preservation Project then take a field trip into the Great Smoky Mountains  National Park to photograph these majestic animals. Finally, enjoy a national park lecture en route to the Deep Creek area of the park to explore and photograph the 90-foot Juney Whank Falls.

Instructors: Don McGowan & Wilma Durpo

Choose date and register now!


April 15-20 & October 14-19, 2018 | 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. Learn about the intriguing history and culture of   Appalachia from the women’s point of view, discover cultural museums and significant Cherokee sites on a field trip to historic Franklin and delight in a week of stories and songs that illuminate the influence of Scottish women, from the Jacobite rising to the Industrial Revolution.

Instructors: Lee Knight, Bobbie Pell  & Flora MacDonald Gammon

Choose date and register now!


May 6-11 & September 16-21, 2018 | Program #23036
A Wildflower Quest in the Mountains of Western North Carolina

Explore world-famous wildflower trails in the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Walk along well-known wildflower trails from Kephart Prong and Baxter Creek to the world-renowned Appalachian Trail, stopping to identify blossoms with a naturalist along the way. During picnic lunches in lovely natural   settings, learn about flower identification and the history and environments of the areas you’ll be exploring. Each evening, enjoy live regional music performances and presentations on topics from Big Foot to European explorers, Bartram and Michaux, and the local Cherokee peoples.

 Instructors: Lee Knight & Scott Dean

Choose date and register now!


May 6-11, May 20-25, Sept. 9-14 & Oct. 14-19, 2018 | 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 living history museum, and learn about the region’s ecosystems. Go into the Cataloochee Valley to visit buildings dating from the 20th century and observe the elk reintroduction project first-hand.

 Instructors: Lee Knight & Susan Sachs

Choose date and register now!


May 13-16, 2018 | Program #23035
Baseball, BBQ and Beer in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Sample North Carolina beer, BBQ and baseball as you study the relationship of these three institutions throughout history, all with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop. Walk through   McCormick Field with a baseball expert and take in two minor-league games at the historic park. Find out how the BBQ of a ball park represents regional flavors influenced by the immigrants of the area, and compare the different sauces of the South during feasts of slow-cooked BBQ. Take field trips to Sierra Nevada Brewery and New Belgium Brewery for tastings and lessons on the art and science of beer making. 

Instructor: Lee Knight

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July 20-23, 2018 | Program #15162
Folkmoot USA: North Carolina’s International Folk Festival

Enjoy a true behind-the-scenes look 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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July 22-25 & August 5-8, 2018 | Program #16415
Cherokee Culture in the Great Smoky Mountains: Oral Traditions and Performing Arts

Cherokees have lived in the mountains of North Carolina for thousands of years, developing an alphabet, written language 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.

Instructors: Freeman Owle & Lee Knight

Choose date and register now!


October 7-12, 2018 | Program #21340
Celtic Culture and Mountain Folklore in Southern Appalachia

Through music, art, storytelling and more, discover the rich, lively culture of the Celtic people. Learn about their journey to Southern Appalachia and their influence on the region. Trace the Celtic culture across Europe to the US and learn about their influence on Southern Appalachia. Experience the rich tapestry of the region through the study of art, music and folklore, and enjoy evening activities like live music, storytelling and a historic exploration of Lake Junaluska by boat of trolley.

Instructors: Bobbie Pell, Flora MacDonald Gammon & Marilyn McMinn McCredie

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December 2-7, 2018 | Program #20308
Solstice Holidays: Hanukkah, Yule & Mountain Christmas

Welcome the holidays as you trace Solstice celebrations over time and cultures. In this program, we will view and discuss classic holiday movies. Songs and readings will accompany lively presentations on Hanukkah, Yule and Christmas   traditions of the Appalachians. Together, we will sing carols while learning to make wreaths and cornhusk angels that will light up your home for the holidays.

Instructors: Michael McCoy, Lee Knight & Anne Lough

Register now!


Nature Hiking in the Southern Appalachian Mountains | Program #17288
April 22-27, May 20-25, June 3-8, June 24-29, July 22-27, Sept. 9-14, Oct. 7-12 & Oct. 14-19, 2018

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.

Choose date and register now!