Non-Student Activities – 2020

A non-student refers to anyone, over the age of 12, attending in the company of a Swannanoa Gathering student (class participant) but not taking classes themselves. This status was created to permit non-class participants (partners, spouses, immediately family members) to accompany a participant taking classes for the week and join them in the residence halls. As long as space permits, we will continue to allow non-students living outside the Asheville area to accompany enrolled students. There is a $185 activity fee which allows admission to all events except classes and an additional $470 fee for the shared room.

During the day while classes are in session, non-students have access to the Warren Wilson college gym, trails, library and student center. Many non-students enjoy heading into Asheville or Black Mountain for the day to go shopping or check out the galleries.

In the evenings, non-students can attend any of the concerts, dances, jams and student showcases.


On Campus:

DeVries Gymnasium: The Athletic Center has a gym that is open to all Gathering attendees. View their hours of operation.

Ellison Library: The campus library has wifi and is open to all Gathering attendees. View their summer hours of operation.

Warren Wilson College Farm: The farm does like to have visitors, but please remember that they are a working farm and cannot give tours without advanced notice and then they only give tours to school groups. If you would like for the Gathering staff to try to set up a farm tour for your particular week, please contact our office at 828-298-3434. If you just wish to visit on your own, you can park in any designated Gathering parking spot and walk down to the farm. Campus maps are available in the Gathering office and here. Please also remember that it is a real farm and not a petting zoo, the animals are dangerous and you are not allowed in any of their pens, fields, or pastures. Learn more about the Warren Wilson College Farm.

Warren Wilson College Garden: The WWC garden consists of about three acres of organically raised crops, including vegetables, fruits, cut flowers and herbs. There is also a one-acre apple orchard on Jones Mountain and the Garden Crew uses the apples to press apple cider in the fall. The garden’s produce is sold through the Warren Wilson College food service, a weekly campus market, and a small Community Supported Agriculture program. The garden also manages a small apiary, some chickens, and a compost operation. They strive to model sustainable agriculture practices and use the draft power of two Belgian work horses whenever possible. Like the farm, the Garden Crew is busy working in the summer and cannot give impromptu tours, but come to the Gathering office if you’d like one and we can see if someone is available to schedule one. Learn more about the Warren Wilson College Garden.

Warren Wilson College Bookstore: The bookstore is a one-stop shop for snacks, beverages, forgotten essentials and Swannanoa Gathering T-shirts, hats, etc. View their hours of operation.

Warren Wilson College Trails: There are miles of trails surrounding the college campus. Enjoy a nature walk or go for a jog. You can pick up a trail map in the Gathering Office when you arrive.

Seasonal School of Culinary Arts: This culinary workshop occurs during our Celtic Week. In an intensive week with multiple top chefs and experts, you will navigate all the essential ingredients of culinary expertise at a fraction of the price required to attend a 2-year culinary institute.

On Campus Massage:  Jeff Sims, LMT, a massage therapist and teacher will be offering massage and movement therapy on campus on the Health Center porch. He specializes in the treatment of chronic pain and orthopedic rehabilitation, as well as helping musicians, vocalists, dancers and athletes at all levels — from novice to world class professionals —  and can also provide a more general relaxation massage for rejuvenation. He has been practicing and teaching nationally and internationally since 2002. He’s happy to answer your questions and wants to help make your Gathering experience the very best. JeffSimsLMT@GMail.Com.

Off Campus:

Historic & Cultural Sites:

Biltmore House: Discover the wonders of the Biltmore in Asheville. Begin with the breathtaking beauty of the 250-room Biltmore House – America’s largest home – and century-old gardens. Explore the 8,000-acre backyard through a variety of activities from horseback riding to rafting. Learn more about the Biltmore House.

Asheville Art Museum: Be inspired by world-class special exhibitions and the Asheville Art Museum’s outstanding collection, showcasing the very best of 20th and 21st century American art and the cultural heritage and contemporary art of Western North Carolina. Learn more about the Asheville Art Museum.

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center: The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) pays tribute to the spirit and history of Black Mountain College, acknowledging the College’s role as a forerunner in progressive, interdisciplinary education with a focus on the arts. Learn more about BMCM+AC.

Folk Art Center: Home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild representing artists from Southern Appalachia. The Folk Art Center houses three fine galleries. It is also home to Allenstand, the nation’s first craft shop, and a Blue Ridge Parkway information desk and Eastern National bookstore. Learn more about the Folk Art Center.

Thomas Wolfe Historical Site: Novelist Thomas Wolfe spent a decade of his childhood growing up in his mother’s Asheville boarding house. Called “Old Kentucky Home” the house was patronized by summer tourists and health seekers during the early years of the 20th century. Learn more about the Thomas Wolfe House.

Basilica of St. Lawrence: Completed in 1909, the Basilica of St. Lawrence D.M. is one of Asheville’s architectural treasures and spiritual anchors. Designed by Rafael Gustavino and Richard Sharpe Smith, renowned architects on the Biltmore House, this Catholic church has the largest freestanding elliptical dome in the country. Learn more about the Basilica.

Carl Sandburg Home: This National Park Service site honors the accomplishments of American poet Carl Sandburg. Take a guided tour of this historic home; visit the farm and trails. Learn more about the Carl Sandburg Home.

City Tours

Asheville Historic Trolley Tours

Asheville Ghost Trolley

LaZoom Comedy Tours

Historic Montford Walking Tour


Montreat Wilderness: Montreat Conference Center is surrounded by approximately 2,500 acres of pristine wilderness that is permanently protected and will never be developed. Click here for more information about guided hikes and printable trail maps.

Mountains to Sea Trail: The Mountains to Sea Trail runs all through Asheville and has some wonderful views off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Learn more about the trail.

Grandfather Mountain: 5,946 feet up on a mountain, you enter a different world. Learn more about Grandfather Mountain.

Hikes from the Blue Ridge Parkway: There are endless hiking opportunities off the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can’t go wrong. Click here for a list of NC hikes and access to maps.



Grove Arcade: One of the most interesting and inviting spots for downtown shopping, this renovated historic building is worth a visit to admire the architecture alone, but it’s also a wonderful place to wander, shop or visit galleries.

Woolworth Walk: a privately and locally owned gallery in the heart of downtown, located in a historic building and representing local artists almost exclusively, it is without a doubt “Worth the Walk”.

Other great shopping areas are Wall Street, Lexington Avenue, Haywood Street, Historic Biltmore Village and Black Mountain.



Don’t have a car and want to get off campus? Consider the following:



Yellow Cab: 828-253-3311

Blue Bird Taxi Company: 828-258-8331

Checker Cab Service: 828-254-1155

Beaver Lake Cab Company: 828-252-1913