It looks like I’ve just a few weeks “behind” on posting thoughts on my spring trip to Asheville, NC to attend the 2011 Christian Meetings and Conventions Association showcase conference. The conference was held at the beautiful Ridgecrest Conference Center, just outside Asheville, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The theme for the 2011 conference was “Finding Rest”, which was interesting as we were on the move most of the time — attending breakout sessions, at the reverse trade show, off to a new venue, eating, etc…..The “rest” came during the many great sessions during the week with speakers, musicians, etc. The one spot I found to be very “restful” was the Billy Graham Retreat Center “The Cove”, in Asheville. The setting and surrounds provided that very restfulness we all needed! (One side note, cell phone service didn’t exist, so we all were able to “rest” from the busy-nesss of phone calls and email on our smartphones!).
My time in Asheville began a few days prior to the conference. I spent time in Asheville, staying at the beautiful Doubletree Hotel Asheville at Biltmore. A great hotel within walking distance to the Biltmore Village and downtown Asheville. I was able to see most everything I planned on, and got a bunch of great photos too!
Tuesday rolled around and it was time to get over to Ridgecrest and help with set-up and prep for registration. Since I was there early it was he least I could do to pass time away. It was GREAT to catch up with friends I see just once a year. We all had lots to catch up and share with each other. And the weather was great! The afternoon was a pre-conference tour of Asheville, with stops downtown for lunch. It was a fun four day trip! We returned to Ridgecrest and I was off to lead an orientation session for the group. This has been a new feature of the conference, and its fun to share from my heart about CMCA. Dinner and entertainment was at Ridgecrest, with a host of comedy, music and sharing. The “afterglow” session, a time for prayer was awesome – and included an impromptu worship time (which I helped lead from the piano).
Always great time of fellowship in the hospitality room! It’s a time to unwind, kick back and visit with friends, and meet new friends!
Wednesday was upon us and a very full day! Breakfast followed by the reverse trade show, then off for our group photo. This was followed by lunch at Ridgecrest and then off to “The Cove”. We would be spending the afternoon and evening at The Cove. It was a very uplifting and great time at this incredible conference center! We had breakout sessions at The Cove, along with an evening program, with a warm welcome from Gigi Graham!
It was now Thursday, heading into the final sessions of the conference. Additional time at the reverse trade show, followed by an afternoon at the Biltmore Estates! What an incredible time touring the home and grounds, and lunch and breakout sessions! If you ever get to the western part of North Carolina, you should take time and visit the Biltmore! It’s well worth seeing!
Our evening session was at the beautiful Lake Junalusak Conference Center, set on Lake Junalusak. The general session time was outside in the amphitheater, overlooking the Lake! I was able to get some incredible photos!
Incredible speakers, breakout sessions, music, comedy, and most of all — friendships!
Friday was travel day home, but came with weather delays! What started out as a 10 minute delay of m =y flight from Asheville to Detroit, ended up being well over four hours. Delta Airlines protected me on a different flight via Atlanta, which I was thankful they did! Despite the weather in Atlanta and the entire eastern seaboard, I was well over two hours late arriving in Portland!
God was richly blessed during the week at CMCA. People were blessed at CMCA. CMCA was blessed. I was blessed, and even conducted some business for a fall retreat! I was able to connect with a speaker at CMCA. As of today (May 30) we’re confirmed for the fall retreat!
If you are in need of a destination for a vacation or get-a-way, consider North Carolina! You’re just a few hours away from Tennessee! One of my favorite states!
Please go to this Picasa site and view my photo album: