Guest Program
  • Seminars
    Complimentary for registered guests.
  • NEW! Watercolor & Wine
    Enjoy a fun and different afternoon!
    US$35. Limited attendance. Sign up on registration form.

Local Tours

All Annual Meeting attendees and guests are welcome to register for the following tours. Fees for these tours cover the costs for professional tour guides, transportation, admission, and gratuities. Tours may be canceled if Minimum: attendance is not met (each tour requires a min. of 24 participants), so please register early! It’s also a good idea to check the meeting website periodically for descriptions and news about the tours.

  • Sunday
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Self-Guided Tours
101. “A Day with the Queen” Charlotte City Tour.
Sunday, 4 Nov., 9 a.m.–noon. US$28. Minimum: 24.
Charlotte has a rich history steeped in the discovery of gold and the pride of the Scots-Irish settlers. The Queen City was founded in 1769 and named for Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England. Charlotte was built at the crossroads of two Native American trading paths, now major streets known as Trade and Tryon.
The discovery of gold in 1799 drew many immigrants to the area, but the boom was short-lived. Agriculture, mainly tobacco and cotton, was the major revenue provider for the region until the Civil War. After the war, textile industries sprang to life when the city became a cotton processing center and a major railroad hub.
With the success of the railroads, Charlotte became the Carolinas’ largest city and a southeastern textile and distribution hub. The city’s neighborhoods and development continued to expand with the addition of the streetcar system followed by skyscrapers, suburbs, and leading businesses. City planners like the renowned John Nolen helped to shape Charlotte’s modern day suburbs, including Myers Park and Dilworth.
In the 1970s and 1980s, under the leadership of financier Hugh McColl, the North Carolina National Bank was transformed into the present day Bank of America. The combinations of Bank of America and the former Wachovia, now Wells Fargo, have made Charlotte the largest banking headquarters, second only to New York City.
Charlotte is home to the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Bobcats, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The city also hosts the headquarters for a variety of corporations like US Airways, Lowe’s Home Improvements and our newest company—Chiquita Brands International.
On this trip, you will gain an appreciation of this beautiful city, while you learn about the history of the Old and New South.
102. Charlotte Historic Home Tour.
Sunday, 4 Nov., 1–5 p.m. US$39. Minimum: 24.
This tour takes participants to (1) the 1774 home of Hezekiah Alexander; (2) the 1913 VanLandingham Estate; and (3) The Duke Mansion.
Hezekiah Alexander was a signer of the Mecklenburg County Declaration of Independence. His two-story, Revolutionary War–era home, located on the grounds of the Charlotte Museum of History, is the oldest surviving structure in Mecklenburg County, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You will be taken back in time to experience life the way it was when Hezekiah and Mary Alexander and their ten children lived and worked the land. The stone home has eight period-furnished rooms, a kitchen building, and a spring house building. A guide will direct you around the house, grounds, and museum, explaining the history and answering all your questions about life in Charlotte in the 1880s.
The beautiful VanLandingham Estate was built by Ralph and Susie Hardwood-VanLandingham in 1913. The house is a California bungalow, a new style at the time, complete with sleeping porches. When the depression hit, most landowners divided and sold their land, but the VanLandingham Estate remained intact.
The Duke Mansion has a long tradition of unforgettable southern hospitality. The setting is a page right out of history, a gracious estate made famous by its former owner, James Buchanan Duke. From the moment you enter the Grand Hall, walk across the original marble floors, and see the beautiful gardens through the French doors, you know that you have entered a special place.
Another treat for the group will be a drive through one of the most beautiful areas of Charlotte—Meyers Park—where you will see stately, distinguished homes on beautiful tree-lined streets, along with some of the most beautiful churches in Charlotte.


103. Reed Gold Mine Adventure.
Monday, 5 Nov., 1:30–5:30 p.m. US$36. Minimum: 24.
Even before the great gold rush out West, North Carolina was experiencing its own gold-fever. The first documented gold find in the United States took place on a small farm outside of Charlotte, which is now the Reed Gold Mine historic site. In 1799, Conrad Reed found a 17-pound yellow “rock” on his family’s farm and for three years it was used as a doorstop until a jeweler identified it as a gold nugget! Without understanding its value, Reed sold it for $3.50 rather than for what it was really worth, which was around $3,600! In spite of that, Reed organized a mining operation in 1803 and became a very rich man. Mining at Reed’s lasted until 1912 and resulted in the building of the Charlotte Mint in order to handle the large amount of gold found in the region. This trip includes a guided tour through several hundred feet of restored mine tunnels underground and a stop at the visitor center with informational displays that showcase the important history of the area. You can even try your hand at panning for gold!

Feel like staying inside for the afternoon? Be your own Monet, and let your creative ideas flow onto canvas. Join us for Watercolor and Wine in the Guest Hospitality Suite 105, at 2:30 p.m. Limited seats available, so please be sure to register for this event early.

104. Old Salem Moravian Community.
Tuesday, 6 Nov., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. US$95; includes lunch (on the last screen of your online registration, please check the box and let us know of any special dietary needs). Minimum: 24.
Old Salem, founded in 1766, was built by members of the Moravian Church. It is one of the most authentic and well documented colonial sites in America. You will begin your historical adventure in an outdoor town setting where costumed guides recreate common Salem household activities and trades of the 18th and 19th centuries. Walk back in time and learn more about the Moravian culture and the early inhabitants who settled this area. The site includes several museum shops, as well as a tavern, a restaurant, a bakery, and a children's museum.
Participants will enjoy a delicious lunch at The Salem Tavern where George Washington once ate. You can’t possible leave the Tavern without experiencing their famous pumpkin muffins!
105. Wing Haven Gardens and Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden Tour.
Tuesday, 6 Nov., 1:30–5:30 p.m. US$36. Minimum: 24.
Wing Haven Gardens & Bird Sanctuary has been a special part of Charlotte since its creation by Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson in 1927. The gardens, enclosed on all sides by brick walls, encompass almost three acres in the heart of Charlotte and include lovely vistas, formal gardens, and woodland areas. You will marvel not only at the gardens but the frequent sightings of birds and the small wildlife scampering throughout the property.
The garden plan resembles a Cross of Lorraine, with its long path crossed by two shorter, perpendicular paths and the house sited between the shorter paths. It contains a number of pools and fountains and is well-planted with a wide variety of ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowers. The garden also contains an English sundial from 1705, various terra cotta pieces, a plaque with a poem by Japanese pacifist and reformer Toyohiko Kagawa, and a statue of Saint Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners.
Elizabeth Lawrence (1904–1985) was already a recognized garden designer and writer when, in 1948, she moved from Raleigh to Charlotte. Her house and garden are just footsteps away from the Wing Haven Gardens. The graceful refuge Lawrence created doubled as a living laboratory for her study and appreciation of plants and design and was also a frequent reference and inspiration for her writing.
106. Harvest Vineyard Tour.
Wednesday, 7 Nov., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. US$98; includes lunch (on the last screen of your online registration, please check the box and let us know of any special dietary needs). Minimum: 24.
On this trip, you’ll visit two of North Carolina’s finest vineyards: Shelton Vineyards and Raffaldini Vineyards.
Shelton Vineyards boasts a 33,000-square-foot winery building and ~200 acres of vines. Located in the Yadkin Valley, Shelton Vineyards has a similar climate and growing season as several wine growing regions in Europe. You will have a guided tour of the winery with an overview of the winemaking process, a tasting of five delicious wines, and a souvenir wine glass. Next, enjoy a lovely walking trail with a view of the grounds on your way to one of Chef Paul S. Lange’s incredible meals at the Harvest Grill. Chef Paul is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.
At the Harvest Grill, you are invited to relax and entertain your palate with a wide array of food and wine. The patio overlooks the grapevines and kitchen garden, which provides some of the fresh ingredients in the grill’s delectable dishes.
Finish your day at “Tuscany in North Carolina.” Raffaldini Vineyards is a not-to-be-missed experience. Step into their sunny Italian tasting room, where life is celebrated with good wine, friends, family, and food. Stroll down the flowered pathways by the fish ponds, through the rhododendron and rose dells, to arrive on the expansive deck in front of the Tuscan tasting room, all the while inhaling the breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains that cradle the vineyard.

Building Stone Walking Tour.

Have a few extra minutes during the meeting?

walking tour

The buildings and infrastructure of "Uptown" Charlotte host a wide array of rocks that will pique the interest of even the most seasoned rock hound. We have prepared a field guide of building stones around the convention center. The guide is written so that both the novice and the expert can find something new to learn. Enjoy exploring amazing examples of stones from all over the world, many of which have unusual and even relatively rare geologic features.

The guide is also available as a Google Map that you can use on your smart phone.

Download the Building Stone Walking Tour Guide.   [ 24-pages, 2.6MB PDF ]