Sure, the Highlands Festival may already be outdoors, but who says you have to stay in one place? The Outdoor Programs committee has tons of different outdoor activities to choose from that can have you traveling to Abingdon, Damascus, and even Saltville. While there are simple tours, such as hikes along beautiful trails (both on foot and by bike) and birdwatching, there are plenty of other activities that vary with every year. Things from wading and diving in lakes, to collecting variations of wildflowers, to even learning about edible plants on the mountain. And even if you don’t really have the energy to handle a hike or long walk, there are plenty of lectures about the natural wonders of Appalachia that require no exercise at all. Tours of wineries and fish hatcheries are also sprinkled in along with history walks if you don’t want to climb a long mountain trail. The events even leak over into nighttime where night owls can stay and watch the starry skies that being up in the mountains can offer that other places can’t. The outdoor activities have a plethora of variety and they keep changing each year to keep it fresh and new for newcomers and returning visitors. If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, then the Outdoor Programs Committee has probably more than one thing that you’ll want to attend.
‘We use people who are passionate about what they do, whether it’s mushrooms, or chestnut trees, or edible plants, or whatever; I think that’s the secret to our success.’ — Merry Jennings