November 9 thru 12, 2017
November 9 thru 12, 2017
We have planned an exciting weekend in beautiful Asheville, NC, one of the top destinations in the U.S. known for its natural beauty, relaxing lifestyle, delicious food and craft breweries, music and local artisans. The dates for our fall 2017 reunion are November 9-12. This is THE high tourism season in Asheville because Christmas at Biltmore Estate begins the first week in November. More on that in a moment. Among the other reunion activities offered are trout fishing, a bus tour of some of Asheville’s yummy craft breweries, and opportunities for shopping for local arts and crafts. The banquet will be Saturday night and there will be time on your own for exploring such area attractions as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mt. Mitchell (the highest mountain east of the Rockies), the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Asheville’s historic art deco downtown, numerous music venues and the National Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn.
hotel is the Four Points Sheraton in downtown Asheville. (www.fourpointsashevilledowntown.com)
The nightly room rate, which includes breakfast for two and full access to the
YMCA next door, is $135 plus tax. You should call the hotel directly at
828-253-1851 to reserve and mention the group name “48th Assault
Helicopter Company” or click on this link 48th Assault Helicopter Co OR copy and paste the following link into a web
ROOMS MUST BE RESERVED BY OCTOBER 10, 2017. After that date, we will lose our reduced rate and the block of rooms will be released to the public. The hotel is a two-block slightly uphill walk to the center of town which has lots of restaurants, museums, shopping, etc. Parking at the hotel is free, a luxury in this vibrant mountain city. As usual, we’ll have a TOC at the hotel, but we have also arranged for you to purchase $3 local craft beers at the hotel bar in a 10-ounce 48th Blue Star cup that will be provided to you when you check in with the reunion registration desk. If you haven’t heard, Asheville is a mecca for craft beer and boasts the highest number of craft breweries per capita in the U.S.
Wednesday, November 8
Highland Brewery Tour – Early Bird Evening
Highland Brewery was the first craft beer brewer in Western North Carolina, established more than 20 years ago. This brewery not only introduced craft beer to this region, it created a new beer culture across the mountains. Today there are more than 40 breweries in and near Asheville, NC. NPR calls Asheville the “Napa Valley of Beer Brewing” Now there are breweries large and small from micro brewers to brew pubs to the large scale craft brewers like Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Oscar Blues. And Highland started it all. For those who will arrive on Wednesday, November 8, we will transport you to the brewery around 2:30 PM from the hotel. Starting at 3 PM, the staff will conduct tours of this craft beer brewery in groups of 15-20. We will have snack fare provided and a pay as you go beer bar where you can enjoy a range of beer types and styles from Highland Brewery. We will hear from the owners about the history of Highland Brewery and the areas beer culture. This will be a more intimate tour than what one will get on the traditional, more commercial tours that are available on Thursday and Saturday. Cost: $20 per person
Thursday, November 9
Trout Fishing in Western North Carolina
This is a unique opportunity to experience fly fishing for trout with an instructor/guide in the mountain waters near Asheville. While it will be November and the water cold, this is a good time to catch trout and the guides know where to fish and what flys to use to catch them. All equipment is provided, including rods, reels, flys and even full bib style waders. If you are an experienced fly fisherman or have never fished for mountain trout before, you will have fun and you will catch fish! (www.oneflyoutfitters.com) This will be a half-day guided fly-fishing wade trip to area streams within the Pisgah National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Private instruction, all gear and a box lunch are included. Catch and release only (no fish cleaning allowed back at the hotel!) Limited to six participants; if more than that are interested we can arrange an additional trip on another day, probably Saturday morning. You will carpool to a location a short drive away to meet the guides. Tour lasts from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Cost: $125 per person. Fishing licenses will be needed and will be arranged by John Hoffman directly with those who sign up for the trip.
Thursday, November 9
Blue Star BBQ
As he has at past reunions, Robert Pierce will be serving up his Rockin’ Robert’s Texas Style BBQ. This event will take place at the hotel from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Cost: $10 per person.
Thursday, November 9 or Saturday, November 11
Brewery Tour - These is a 3 ½ to 4 hour knowledge-based bus tour in which you will go to 3 or 4 local craft breweries and have the opportunity to try up to 16 4-ounce samples. Time: 3:00 pm Thursday and 12:00 pm Saturday. Cost per person: $50 which includes all beer plus pick up and drop off at the hotel. We only need you to indicate what day you want to take this tour. Payment, along with proof of age (!) is required when you board the bus.
Friday, November 10
Most of our day Friday will be spent at America’s largest privately owned home, the Biltmore Estate. (www.Biltmore.com) Biltmore is a 450-room French chateau built by George Vanderbilt in 1895. The house and its accompanying 8,000 acres of farms and vineyards, gardens, an awarding winning winery, outdoor activities, and fine restaurants is one of the top attractions in America, but it is especially beautiful when decorated for Christmas. Biltmore House is filled with masterpieces of art and Vanderbilt family treasures that are enhanced this time of year with more than 70 exquisitely decorated Christmas trees, miles of garland, hundreds of poinsettias, and more lights than you can count.
We have also arranged lunch for our group at the Deerpark Restaurant on the estate, which received the 2016 Diner's Choice Award for Open Table's Top 100 Best Brunch. A working farm has been part of Biltmore Estate since its beginning in 1895. Biltmore operates its farm and field-to-table program with estate-grown greens, berries, eggs, beef and lamb, and partners with farmers in Western North Carolina for locally-sourced trout, cheese, beef and pork for its 15 restaurants, cafes and wine bars. Lunch will be after the house tour, approximately 12:30. Following lunch, you will have time to explore Antler Hill Village, which includes the Biltmore Winery, the Legacy exhibit on the Vanderbilt family and numerous shops including estate-themed wine and culinary tools, jewelry, household items, outdoor apparel, local food products and homemade ice cream! Buses will transport you from the hotel to the estate and back.
The Biltmore house tour is self guided and lasts from 1 ½ to two hours. It includes walking up several flights of stairs. The house tour and transportation price per person is $55. (regular tour price without transportation is $65) The buffet lunch costs $25 which is cheaper than eating at the estate restaurants and will be worth every cent. Therefore, you will get the tour, lunch and transportation to and from the estate for $80 which is only $15 more than a regular price tour-only ticket.
Saturday, November 11
Brewery tour available (see above) otherwise this day is open to use as you wish. We will have packets available at the reunion registration desk with information about local attractions and things to do, including a list of restaurants and bars in walking distance of the hotel.
Saturday night will be our banquet at the hotel. The flavors of North Carolina dinner buffet include pulled pork, chicken, smoked trout, green beans, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, cornbread and rolls, banana pudding, chocolate cake, coffee, tea, water and milk and wonderful Bordeaux style wine from a local award-winning winery. Dinner will cost $58. This includes all food, a glass of wine, and service fees, taxes and gratuities.
We know the costs of this reunion are higher than in the past. However, Asheville is a prime tourist destination and November is one of the most popular times of the year to visit. Our organizers have worked hard to get the costs as low as possible and still remain in a prime location close to restaurants and attractions. We promise you will have a great time and enjoy lots of wonderful experiences, food and drink for your dollars.
Reminder – Raffle Wizard, John-Al Skimbo is on the job!! Begin collecting those special items of interest and demand.
Registration/Payment Form to follow.
PLEASE COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING AND RETURN FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
Thursday November 9 - Fly Fishing Tour, 8 am-2 pm _____
Thursday November 9 - Brewery Tour, 3-7 pm _____
Thursday November 9 - Rockin’ Robert’s Texas Style BBQ, 6-8 pm _____
Friday November 10 - Biltmore Estate Tour and lunch, 8 am-3 pm _____
Saturday November 11 - Brewery Tour, 12-4 pm _____
Saturday November 11 - Banquet and program, 6 pm _____
IF YOU NEED THE DETAILS OF EACH EVENT, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE REUNION EMAILS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.