Save the date for March 18-20, 2019 as the SMPS Charlotte Chapter prepares to host a destination conference in the classically historic and vibrant city of Asheville, North Carolina, a city that has reshaped its landscape with the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “Foodtopia” is what the locals call their community of culinary collaborators crafting an experience to nurture your soul. Restaurants run the gamut from four-star cuisine to down-home cooking and are complemented by the most breweries per capita in a U.S. city. The vast 19th-century Biltmore Estate displays artwork by masters like Renoir, while the downtown Arts District is filled with more contemporary galleries and museums for all to enjoy.  Established in 1784, Asheville is a remarkably intact and lovingly restored city marked by a sprawling community of creativity and innovation.

Perhaps Asheville’s greatest “claim to fame” is its unique, natural beauty as the city is cradled in a sweeping curve of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a project that began in 1935 to connect the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina and the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Funded by Congress in 1933 as part of the National Industry Recovery Act, the Parkway was an engineering marvel as the longest road ever to be planned as a single unit at that time. Construction spanned over 52 years, but even long before it was complete, with 469 miles of roadway, 26 tunnels, numerous culverts, bridges, and viaducts, the Parkway lent well to the time-honored tradition of “taking a Sunday drive,” providing motorists with one of the most diversified roadway experiences in the world. Today, the Blue Ridge Parkway remains the most visited National Park in the U.S., with more than 20 million visitors each year.  All of this activity highlights a deep appreciation for the area’s classic scenery, while so many visitors also present new opportunities for change and growth. Please join SMPS SERC this year as we plan to unlock the secrets to Asheville’s storied past, enjoy the dynamic community of today, and discover how the A/E/C industry continues to reshape the landscapein 2019.

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