Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Travel

Photo from http://skift.com/2013/10/26/the-22-grandest-amtrak-train-stations-in-america/#1

When to Arrive

The FGC Gathering begins on Sunday, July 5.  All Friends are welcome to arrive July 4 if they wish (additional charges will apply). Some Friends will arrive Friday July 3 to participate in pre-Gathering events.  All Junior Gathering volunteers have to attend a mandatory training which begins at  9 am on Sunday July 5. The Gathering will pay Saturday housing fees for Junior Gathering volunteers, but not for their family members or others arriving with them.

On this page :

Airplane

We will be using the Asheville Airport (AVL) and will arrange for vans to campus during limited time periods.  Read more about airport vans and reserve your van seat no later than June 15.

Buy your airline tickets early!  Asheville is a small airport, and we expect prices to increase dramatically as we near the Gathering.

You may also consider using Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) airport which is about two hours from the Gathering campus and renting a car for the week.

Other Asheville Transportation

Our Gathering Airport Vans will provide limited service only July 3-5 and July 11. If you need transportation on other dates or later than our vans are available, consider carpooling with others. If there is a group the price from available Asheville shuttle services is cheaper. Two examples are below. You will pay more on your own, but it’s still possible to get to campus. When you register, sign up for the carpool list, indicate your flight time, and check the list for others arriving or departing around the same time.

Asheville Airport Shuttle : 828-231-1053 (call or text Harry, the owner)

$110 per trip for 1-2 people (no charge for 2nd person), then $10 for each additional person.

Per person breakdown (if all equally share the total cost) :
1 person $ 110
2 people $55
3 people $40
4 people $32.50
5 people : 28

Book as soon as flights are booked. The more advance notice, the better.

GrandyCo : 828-691-0504 (ask for Joe) or 828-273-3214 (general number)

                $120 for one person, but they will give group discounts. Could be $40 per person or even less. They prefer advance notice, particularly since June and July are busy times, but could probably provide same-day service with a minimum wait time of 45 minutes. Prefer at least two days’ notice. They can carry fold-up wheelchairs or wheelchairs which can come apart, but do not have ramps or lifts for wheelchairs.

Train to Greensboro (with discount)

The Gathering is providing very limited transportation between the Greensboro Amtrak station and WCU, which is 3 1/2 to 4 hours away. There will be one arrival bus from Greensboro to WCU on July 4th, and one departure bus going back. It is not possible to take the train to pre-Gathering events without arranging your own ride from the station to campus. Advance reservations on the Gathering Amtrak Bus are required no later than June 15.  Read more.

To book your reservation call Amtrak at 1 (800) 872-7245 or contact your local travel agent. FGC discount tickets cannot be booked via the Internet. You need to purchase your ticket by phone or in person to receive the Gathering discount. Click here for information you can hand to a ticket agent.  Please be sure to refer to Convention Fare Code X79U-917 when making your reservation.  This offer is not valid on the Auto Train and Acela Service.  Fare is valid on Amtrak Regional for all departures seven days a week, including the 4th of July.  Offer valid with Sleepers, Business Class or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable accommodation charges. The sooner you buy your ticket, the cheaper it is likely to be.

For Gathering attenders, Amtrak offers a 10% discount off the best available rail fare to Greensboro, NC, between June 30 and July 14, 2015. Please note that no additional discount applies. People over 61 or with AARP memberships should ask whether the senior discount is a better price.

Luggage limitations.  Only select train stations and routes permit checked luggage.  Each passenger is limited to two pieces of carry on luggage (up to 50 lbs each) plus personal items.  Amtrak may consider strollers, diaper bags, and car seats as "personal items" permitted in addition to your luggage allowance, but it is not clear if they do.  We recommend reading Amtrack Carry-on Baggage and Amtrak Special Items (scroll down to Baby Items) or contacting Amtrak if you have questions. 

Public Transportation

Public transportation is very limited, and does not run directly between Cullowhee and Asheville or other transit hubs. See the Asheville website for local bus information, and the WCU website for a bus schedule between Cullowhee and Sylva.

Bus

Greyhound serves Asheville, and the vans to the Asheville Airport can also pick up Greyhound passengers during designated hours.  Make your reservations for airport vans on the Gathering registration form no later than June 15.

Greyhound also stops in Waynesville, about a half-hour’s drive from Cullowhee (23.4 miles). You would need to find someone to pick you up, or rent a car in Waynesville. (Enterprise will pick up at the bus stop.)

Car

Western Carolina University is:

  • 50 miles west of Asheville, NC
  • 150 miles from Atlanta, GA
  • 300 miles from Nashville, TN
  • 300 miles from Raleigh, NC

Sunday check-in will be in the Hinds University Center. Click here for driving directions.

Carpools

Be green and arrive at the Gathering with a full car! Indicate your interest in carpooling when you register, and FGC will send you information about contacting other carpoolers.

Want to fly to a different airport than Asheville? Want to arrive on a date when our Gathering airport vans aren't available? There is a place in the carpool section to indicate your interest in airport travel with others.

After you have registered, to view the carpool list, you must have the registration confirmation number listed in the e-mail instructions. Once you get to your Registration Summary page, click on upper INFORMATION tab at the top (just under the Gathering logo) and then click on CARPOOL LIST tab on the next line down.

Travel Grant Opportunities

Are you 35 or younger and need help getting to the Gathering? See our financial aid pages for information on western travel grants and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting travel grants.