Far Beyond the Classroom:

Community, Connections, & Creativity

At Highland Lake Cove, we are dedicated to helping students develop a solid connection between what they do and why they do it. We believe that plenty of hands-on experience – in a setting that fosters curiosity, creativity, and a connection to nature and self – can be a powerful bridge between thinking about what one wants from life and knowing one’s purpose. The campus at Highland Lake Cove and the surrounding areas – home to some of the most the unique geology and biodiversity in the nation – provides an unparalleled space for these types of explorations.

Our hands-on classes range from permaculture, outdoor cooking in a woodfired oven, and making your own pencil in our Walden Experience to Tiny House building. And our local culture adds plenty of richness to any experience here. The city of Asheville makes for a living classroom. It’s a city whose zeitgeist flows around “designing community,” thanks to an active and engaged citizenry interested in democratic process, environment, and sustainability. The city is a hothouse experimental lab for alternative approaches to just about everything – from democracy to farming, food to business plans.

Whether you are interested in creative economies and sustainable business, the arts and the city, or community and local citizenship, we can help you explore how the ecology of this city’s urban ecosystem is quite different from anything else in the South. Meet local leaders, activists, and social entrepreneurs in our lakeside classrooms, or draw on our networks to meet partners who build living roof systems, design sustainable breweries, or market the art scene of Asheville to the rest of our nation.

Here are just a few of the possibilities listed below. Please fill out the form on this page to get started.

Start your trip here

Carl Sandburg Home

A “Poet of the People”, Carl Sandburg provided a popular voice for the American people of the twentieth century and still speaks to us through his words, songs and the beauty and serenity of Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.

The park is located on 264 acres in western North Carolina, just a three-minute drive from Highland Lake Cove. Visits to the site can include a tour of the Sandburg Home, hiking on over 5 miles of trails, visiting the farm and dairy goats, and much more.

Living Roofs Tours

This is always a favorite for students and faculty alike. From the Living Roofs website:

“Our mission at Living Roofs is simple: We are dedicated wholly to the design, development and installation of green roof systems that are living, breathing entities offering environmental, economic and social benefits. An integral part of our mission also is continuing research and experimentation to further develop green roof technologies and applications in order to enhance their value to our society.”

The Moog Factory

Moog Music synthesizers and other electronic musical instruments are designed and lovingly handcrafted in the Moog factory in downtown Asheville, N.C. Moog Music and its customers carry on the legacy of Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer and Founder of Moog Music Inc.

Visit the only room in the world where you can play every Moog instrument in production, and tour the Moog factory to see Moog instruments being lovingly handcrafted.

Triple Falls, DuPont Forest

Triple Falls in DuPont State Recreational Forest offers a unique opportunity to stand (or even have a picnic) in the middle of waterfall! A level rock surface allows plenty of room to safely enjoy the views and cascading water.

After enjoying the view of all three cascades from the main trail, take the staircase down to the flat rock plateau between the falls. It’s a great spot to sit and soak it all in.

Earthaven Ecovillage

Earthaven is an off-the-grid intentional community outside of Asheville, offers Group Educational Tours, a customized experience for schools, universities, and groups. These tours are designed to provide learners with a deeper understanding about sustainable living in community.

Some of the activities to choose from include panel discussions with members, land stewardship work projects, community celebration events, and specialized tours.

aSHEville Museum

The aSHEville Museum is committed to advancing awareness of the positive contributions of women and girls in forging healthy societies and achieving cultural advancements around the world, as well as addressing the ongoing challenges of gender inequality.

The hope is that the sharing of these experiences through the museum will spread greater understanding and awareness across genders, cultures, races, and classes within our community and worldwide.

Thomas Wolfe House

Considered by many to be one of the giants of 20th-century American literature, Thomas Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel.

Wolfe’s colorful portrayal of his family, his hometown of “Altamont” Asheville, North Carolina, and “Dixieland” the Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse, earned the Victorian period house a place as one of American literature’s most famous landmarks.

Underbelly of Asheville

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Asheville Bookworks

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Woodworking

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Tiny House Building

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Woodfired Cooking

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Garden Fresh Ingredients

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Group Processes

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