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A Southern View

ASEE tours highlight the peaceful coexistence of old traditions and new ideas in Charlotte.

By Vicky Hendley,
Section Editor/Writer

History, cutting-edge industry, and famous hospitality are all on the itinerary as ASEE's professional and family tours give Annual Conference and Exposition attendees an overview of North Carolina.

Family Tours

Biltmore EstateSunday, June 20

  • Silver Lining of the Carolinas   (Biltmore Estate)
  • 7:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
  • $85 per person

Escape to the Biltmore Estate, the largest private home in America. Built by George Vanderbilt, the 250-room mansion has rare and exquisite antiques, paintings, and oriental rugs; and an indoor gymnasium, bowling alley, and swimming pool. Stroll through 10 acres of spectacular gardens, featuring a remarkable array of flowers providing year-round color. The trip includes a tour of the state-of-the-art wine production facility and wine tasting in the brick courtyard.

The tour price includes round-trip transportation, boxed breakfast, entrance fees, and lunch on the estate.

Monday, June 21

  • Charlotte City Tour/A Day With the Queen
  • 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • $35 per person

Experience a unique combination of big-city sophistication and small-town feeling on this riding tour of Charlotte. Visit Uptown's historical sights, the 60-story NationsBank headquarters, Queen Charlotte's statue, and beautiful, elegant homes in the historic SouthPark and Morrocroft neighborhoods.

Tour price includes round-trip transportation and lunch at the Pewter Rose, a French bistro and California cafe.

Tuesday, June 22

  • Lowe's (formerly Charlotte) Motor Speedway Checkered Flag Tour
  • 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
  • $48.50 per person

Pick up the pace at Lowe's (formerly Charlotte) Motor Speedway, the 2,010-acre home to events such as The Winston, Coca-Cola 600, and UAW-GM 500. The tour features a close-up look at areas not seen from the stands or usually visited by fans, including the garages, pit row, and the victory circle; as well as a narrated lap around the track. Other tour highlights include a pit stop at the speedway's Winston Cup Gift Shop, the Art Gallery, and the Classic Car Museum, as well as the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Gift Shop, where you can examine an "exploded" car showing Hendrick construction techniques and other exciting famous cars.

Price includes all entrance fees, round-trip transportation, and a buffet lunch with a great view of the speedway.

Tour of Old SalemWednesday, June 23

  • Travel Back In Time (Tour of Old Salem)
  • 8:00 a.m-3:00 p.m.
  • $50 per person

Meet the blacksmith, visit the candle maker, explore the gardens, and enjoy the old-fashioned Moravian hospitality of Old Salem, a bustling historical village with costumed interpreters recreating late 18th and early 19th century life. Wander through the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts' 20 period rooms and six galleries, and see furniture, paintings, textiles, ceramics, silver, and other metal wares made and used in the Southeast during the 1820s. Other historic sites include Salem College, the Old Salem Tavern, the cemetery, and the Winkler Bakery, featuring Moravian sugar cake and cookies.

Price includes lunch at the Old Salem Tavern and round-trip transportation.

Professional Tours

Monday, June 21

  • North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology and Parkdale Mills, Inc.
  • 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • $10 per person

The North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology (NCCATT) is the only school in the state dedicated solely to teaching textile technology. The center contains some of the most high-tech textile learning labs in the region. Visitors will see the six on-site laboratories stocked with modern textile equipment donated by area companies. Among these are a "mini-manufacturing site" yarn production lab, a knitting and weaving lab, a dyeing and finishing mini-plant, and labs for chemical and physical testing. Participants will also visit nearby Parkdale Mills, one of the most highly automated textile facilities around.

Tour price includes round-trip transportation to NCCATT and Parkdale Mills, Inc.

Tuesday, June 22

  • Okuma America Corporation
  • 8:30-11:00 a.m.
  • $10 per person

Okuma America, headquartered in Charlotte, is the $337 million U.S. affiliate of Okuma Corporation, a leading worldwide machine tool builder founded in Nagoya, Japan, in 1898. On this tour, participants will visit Okuma's manufacturing assembly plant and the Okuma technology facility.

Price includes round-trip transportation.


  • US Airways Base Maintenance
  • 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • $14 per person

On this behind-the-scenes tour of the US Airways Base Maintenance facilities, attendees will explore the Boeing base maintenance facility and support shops. Tour highlights include the evacuation slides and seat shops, and the avionics and parts distribution facility.

This tour is limited to 30 participants; requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. No cameras or video cameras are allowed. Bring a photo ID. International attendees must have their passport number for signing in.

Price includes round-trip transportation.

Wednesday, June 23

  • University of North Carolina-Charlotte C.C. Cameron Applied Research Center
  • 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • $14 per person

On this tour, participants will visit the C.C. Cameron Applied Research Center at UNC-Charlotte, a unique interdisciplinary environment for graduate education and research that provides primary research infrastructure for UNC-Charlotte's doctorate programs in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information technology, and biology. The Cameron Center hosts collaborative projects involving faculty members from the colleges of business, biology, chemistry, math, and computer science and engineering.

Price includes round-trip transportation.

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