Event description

Inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Our State and AAA Vacations present an Outlander experience from New Bern to Blowing Rock. Meet in Raleigh to be transported to Tryon Palace in New Bern, glean more fascinating history from the New Bern area, then head west for additional Outlander-themed adventures. Trip dates are July 6-11, 2021.

Package Includes:

  • • Three nights’ accommodations at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New Bern Riverfront
  • • Two nights’ accommodations at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock
  • • Breakfast daily, three dinners, two lunches
  • • Whiskey tasting
  • • Motorcoach transportation from Raleigh to all locations
  • • Our State host and AAA Tour Director
  • • Tickets to all tours and scheduled events
  • • Farewell reception

Itinerary Highlights:

  • • Guided Outlander-themed tours of Tryon Palace
  • • Private cocktail reception under the portico of Tryon Palace, dinner on North Lawn
  • • Visit to the North Carolina History Center
  • • Historic trolley tour of New Bern
  • • Presentation with Dr. Kimberly Sherman – “The Real North Carolina Outlanders”
  • • Virtual talk with Outlander actor and Jamie Fraser body double, Andy McAlindon
  • • Virtual tour of selected Outlander filming sites in Scotland
  • • Seminar with Bill Caudill, Director of Scottish Heritage Center, St. Andrews University
  • • Guided tour of the Alamance Battleground
  • • Tickets to Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

View a detailed itinerary here: Outlander Weekend Itinerary

Itinerary:

Tuesday, July 6

Today we depart Raleigh to begin our Outlander North Carolina Journey to New Bern. Settled in 1710, New Bern was the 1st state capital. It is the 2nd oldest city in NC and home to Tryon Palace, a replica of the original home built by Governor Tryon. It is easy to imagine the pages of The Fiery Cross come to life and to understand the Regulator’s escalating anger regarding the use of tax payers’ dollars. No wonder Governor Tryon accepted the commission of the Governor of the State of New York in late 1771 and quickly left town.

We check into the Doubletree by Hilton Waterfront for a welcome reception, followed by dinner where we can all delight in our Outlander obsession.

Wednesday, July 7

This morning following breakfast, Dr. Kimberly Sherman, a history professor at the Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington will present “The Real Outlanders of North Carolina.” Dr. Sherman received her Ph.D. in Modern History from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and will regale us with stories from Scottish history as they relate to Outlander.

Next, we visit the NC History Center where NC history will come alive through the artifacts and exhibits. There is also a great shop there for souvenirs, including a few inspired by Outlander. You will have time to explore the Palace gardens and have lunch on your own.

Later in the afternoon is a tour highlight. We will have a special Outlander-designed tour of Tryon Palace, where we will travel in Claire Fraser’s literary footsteps in the Governor’s Palace and meet servants who will share insights regarding Claire’s place within the household, and other 18th century news. We will also meet the Governor’s Cook in the Kitchen Office, get advice from the Palace Apothecary, and learn about the fabrics best suited for this southern colony with one of the on-site weavers.

After the tour, we will enjoy a private cocktail reception near the stables and proceed to an outdoor dinner on the stately North Lawn. Our feast is inspired by recipes featured in Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook. Scottish and Celtic folk music will accompany our lively gathering of food, friendship, and fun.

Thursday, July 8

Breakfast is included this morning, followed by a presentation from Scotland with Mahiri Jarvie, a founding member of the Outlander Inverness Club. Mahiri lives in Inverness (where Claire and Frank honeymooned). Mahiri will give us a virtual tour of various filming locations including Culloden Battlefield, site of the final battle of the Jacobite Rising.

We will then enjoy a guided Trolley tour through historic New Bern. The town’s rich history, stately Colonial and Victorian homes, churches, and location along the Trent and Neuse Rivers make it a charming place to soak in the sites.

Lunch will be included at The Chelsea, an upscale bistro in downtown New Bern.

After a bit of free time, we return to the hotel for a virtual meeting with Andy the Highlander. Andy McAlindon has been a regular in the Outlander filming and acted as a body double for Jamie Fraser. He has a great YouTube video about “How to Wear the Plaid,” and can recite poetry and sing as well.

Enjoy dinner on your own this evening. There is a good variety of excellent restaurants near the hotel.

Friday, July 9

Following breakfast, we will start our journey to Blowing Rock, NC. The surrounding mountains are the inspiration for Fraser’s Ridge. Enjoy Outlander trivia and prizes on the drive.

We will be making a lunch stop at Alamance Battleground for a guided tour and boxed lunches. The Battle of Alamance, which took place on May 16, 1771, was the final battle of the War of the Regulation, a rebellion in colonial North Carolina over issues of taxation and local control, considered by some to be the opening salvo of the American Revolution. In Outlander, Roger was hanged after the battle. Luckily, he survived.

We will arrive at our home for the next two nights, Chetola Resort, at approximately 4 p.m. You will have a little time to settle in and then we will meet for an informative talk with Bill Caudill, the director of The Scottish Heritage Center and instructor of the St. Andrews University Pipe Band.

Following the talk we will have a whiskey tasting (trying four different bourbons) followed by dinner at the resort. After dinner, relax by the fire pit.

Saturday, July 10

Breakfast this morning will be followed by a day at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Celebrating the history and culture of Scots in North Carolina, it is among the first and largest modern Highland Games established in the United States. Watch traditional dancing, piping, drumming, athletic games, and music, and learn to speak Gaelic.

Spend a few hours or the entire day. We will have regular pick-ups scheduled back to the hotel.

If you arrive back from the games early, take time to explore the quaint town of Blowing Rock. Filled with charm and small boutique shops, it is well worth the visit. We will have a few scheduled pickups to and from town.

This evening there will be a farewell reception in the Arbor by the Lake to say goodbye to all our new friends. We will schedule transportation drop offs and pick-ups in downtown Blowing Rock if you want to have dinner in town.

Sunday, July 11

This morning, we say goodbye to Blowing Rock as we head back to Raleigh. We will arrive in Raleigh at approximately 5 p.m.

Register

Total cost: $1,895 per person, all-inclusive.

Based on double occupancy. Single rates available upon request.

For reservations or more information, contact Beth Rackham at AAA Vacations by phone (919) 832-0543 ext. 16012 or email barackham@aaacarolinas.com

More

What to expect on an Our State trip: 

Traveling with a group of Our State readers is an enriching, enjoyable, and safe way to experience new cultures, people, and places. In addition to the informative narration from the tour director and local guides, an Our State host will be available to assist in making your trip successful.

We usually fly to our destination, then travel by a comfortable motor coach with anywhere from 35 to 50 people who appreciate learning about new regions. Your entire trip will be guided, planned, and arranged for your upmost enjoyment. Many activities are things you can only do because you are traveling with Our State.

You can also choose not to attend an activity if you prefer something different. Please let your tour director know if you are not coming on a scheduled day.

Many meals are included. Where you have meals on your own, suggestions will be provided.

Most of the motor coaches have restrooms but every effort will be made to make regular rest stops.

One of the best parts of traveling with Our State is that you will meet new people, many of whom you will already have much in common with since most travelers read the magazine. Many guests often develop friendships that go on long after the tour is finished. Our State trips are generally filled with dynamic and friendly people.

Physical requirements:

Our tours are physically active but not meant to be strenuous.

Please be aware you will be on your feet, walking and standing for much of the day, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions and terrains. There will also be extended time on the motor coach when we travel from place to place. If there are any mobility issues you will need to have an able-bodied traveling companion to accompany and assist you.

Most days are moderately paced with approximately two to three total miles of walking, possibly including some hills and stairs.

We regret that we’re unable to provide individual assistance to guests with walking difficulties or other personal needs. The responsibility of the Trip Director who accompanies your trip is to ensure that the larger group enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing individual assistance to any one guest. Guests requiring such individualized assistance must be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who can provide it.

If you have additional questions, please call Our State’s Travel Director Amy Wood Pasquini at 336-286-0600, or email apasquini@ourstate.com.