Top Ten Tips for Conference Newcomers

by Bruce Johnson


  1. Make sure you returned your name badge form.

Your name badge is your ticket to nearly all of the conference events. In order to avoid having a line form at the Registration Desk, we print these in our office in advance of the conference. If you did not send your form to us, you will slow down everyone behind you. The name badge form is included in the attendee packet all attendees receive.



  1. Call your hotel the week before the conference to confirm your registration.

Hotels make mistakes, especially as many new employees are assigned to the reservation department. Rather than discover an error in your arrival and departure dates while standing at the front desk, call in advance to make sure everything is as you requested.


  1. Take the historic Grove Park Inn walking tour on Friday.

The Omni Grove Park Inn is a 510-room hotel with two wings, all built on the side of Sunset Mountain. To say the least, it can be confusing, especially when you enter the hotel on the 10th floor. Add to that the fascinating history of this grand 1913 hotel, which includes visits by presidents, dignitaries, authors, and a ghostly Pink Lady, and you won’t want to skip one of the introductory tours on Friday. No advance reservation is needed for the tours.



  1. Study the list of Small Group Discussions in your packet and the Conference Catalog.

These are very popular, and we purposely schedule eight to ten of them a day to keep each group small enough for lively discussions. Make your top choice, but have an alternative ready in case the room is full. But arrive early for a choice seat – and come with a question, a comment, or an opinion!


  1. Don’t try to tour the Biltmore House and Estate during the conference.

The 1895 Biltmore House is filled with 250-rooms of art and antiques (not Arts and Crafts), plus they have 8,000 acres of grounds, a winery, gift shops, and several restaurants. If you want to see it all, schedule that tour before or after the conference, for its takes all day to see and enjoy.


  1. Do tour the next door Biltmore Industries shops and museum.

Founded in 1905 and moved to the Grove Park Inn grounds in 1917, Biltmore Industries was and remains an active Arts and Crafts enterprise of workshops and the Grovewood Gallery. We offer free daily tours for conference attendees of the five Arts and Crafts buildings. No reservations are required.



  1. Make dinner reservations before you arrive.

Both Asheville and the Omni Grove Park Inn have become popular tourist destinations year round, which means restaurants fill up quickly. Regardless where you are eating dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, make a reservation – now.



  1. Sign up for one of the special conference events.

We invite three non-profit organizations to offer special programs as a fund raiser. The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms hosts a Thursday night reception in the Skyline Room, which is a great way to make new friends and renew old friendships. The Preservation Society offers Saturday and Sunday house tours, and the Asheville Art Museum hosts a Saturday evening reception and talk. All are great fun. For more information, please go to:


  1. The best time to buy something is when you see it.

This is not your typical show. Whether you are in the Contemporary Craftsfirms Show or the Antiques Show, you will most often be looking at one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items. If you are used to seeing something, then taking a stroll around the entire show before you make up your mind, be warned:  it most likely won’t be there when you get back. As they say, “Our biggest regrets are the pieces we didn’t buy.”



  1. Enjoy the Great Hall!

One of the most distinctive aspects of the 1913 Grove Park Inn is the Great Hall. Large enough to hold a basketball court and flanked at either end by fireplaces you could park a car in, the Great Hall is the heartbeat of the conference. Rather than retreat to your room, wander over to the Great Hall, sit by the fireplaces, study the three educational display cases, and marvel at the enormous Roycroft chandeliers overhead. This is where you will make some of your best Arts and Crafts friendships.



As we often say, we can solve any problem before the conference, but very few problems at the conference. Got a question? Go to or call Kate Nixon at Bruce Johnson’s office at (828) 628-1915.