July 6, 2021
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.
View a detailed itinerary here: Outlander Weekend Itinerary
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This morning, we say goodbye to Blowing Rock as we head back to Raleigh. We will arrive in Raleigh at approximately 5 p.m.