Smart Vacations

Asheville, North Carolina

Music and Dancing in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Every summer, the hills of the Appalachians come alive with the sound of folk tunes as music lovers from around the country descend upon Asheville, NC, for the Swannanoa Gathering. Now in its 10th year, the gathering is an eclectic music camp held at Warren Wilson College in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Families will want to visit during the three weeks that offer children's programs for ages 4 and up (this year, it's July 8 to 28). While parents learn how to play the Celtic harp, do an Irish step dance, or discover the mandolin, kids can spend the day exploring music too. For musicians ages 4 to 7, the gathering offers a morning-long Kindermusic class; for 6- to 12-year-olds, the all-day program includes crafts, swimming, and a chance to learn such unusual instruments as the pennywhistle (an Irish flute) and the mountain dulcimer.

Janis Antonek, a Greensboro, NC, mom of a 9- and a 5-year-old, has attended the gathering with her family for the past three years. "It's great because the kids hear music everywhere," she says. "Literally everywhere you look, there's an adult with an instrument in his or her lap."

Tuition for adults is $340 per week. Kindermusic is $115; the 6-and-up program costs $105. Housing and meals are $260 per week per adult. For more information, call 828-298-3434 or visit www.swangathering.org.

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