Friendship Force of Western North Carolina recently completed an Inbound Journey in October with twelve ambassadors from the Friendship Force Club of Cornwall, England. To say that our Club entertained the Cornwall group “Royally” is an understatement. Of course, that is what we always do!
Starting on Day One, we all enjoyed Ron Partin’s excellent tour of the Carl Sandburg Home and grounds, then a Welcome Picnic at High Fall’s Shelter in DuPont State Forest, complete with Jan Tenderholt’s expert hiking assistance, and ice cream afterwards! The stage was set for what turned out to be a wonderful Journey for our new friends from England. Other highlights for our Guests included “Biltmore Day” which was capped off by a “12 Bones BBQ” feast hosted by Carol and Jack Mullen at their Park Avenue Clubhouse. Of course this turned out to be a great introduction to regional North Carolina dining. Our day on the Blue Ridge helped our Cornwall visitors to get acclimated with just how much our mountains are a part of living here, and Sierra Nevada Brewery showed them how craft beer is, more and more, becoming part of our mountain environment and culture.
Saturday’s Asheville Trolley tour was clearly enjoyed by all, and six of our own members were able to “tag along” on the tour as well. After a fun filled “Free Day” on Sunday, our Ambassadors were hosted on Monday by Hendersonville’s own Mayor, Barbara Volk, who graciously welcomed them to the city. A “Farewell Dinner” at Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards capped the week off quite nicely, and was yet another example of our regional cuisine, this time with a “Low Country” theme. We were even able to learn more about local wines during a wine tasting done by our own member, Mark Cigal.
All in all, our guests had a wonderful time. As summed up by Cornwall’s Journey Coordinator, Margie Lundie, “I personally think it was the best exchange we have ever done.” And there’s definitely a good reason for that, thanks to all of those who home HOSTED (the Cigals, Bonnie Dees, the Harveys, the McGaughys, the McDonald/Hogans, the Partins and the Reid/Robustellis). The week would not have been a culinary success without dinner hosting by the Elstons, the Hales and the Manfrees, who offered our Cornwall Ambassadors an opportunity for fine dining in the setting of a member’s home. Day Hosts included the Brazauskas, the Mullens, Roberta Newman and Chuck Stevens, who were so kind as to assist with the varied logistics of getting the ambasssadors comfortably around throughout the week. It was a busy week for all of us but one that we will remember, as will our Cornwall Guests, for a long, long time.
–Larry McGaughy, Journey Coordinator