Laura Bush and friends visit Lake Junaluska

As fall visitors flocked to Western North Carolina in mid-October, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center welcomed a distinguished visitor — former First Lady Laura Bush and a group of her childhood friends.

Bush and her friends make annual visits to national parks, and this year they chose the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for its hiking opportunities. While at Lake Junaluska, the group lodged at The Terrace hotel, explored the 2.3-mile lakeside walking trail and enjoyed area leisure activities.

Lake Junaluska Director of Advancement Ken Howle briefly encountered Bush and her friends as they sat overlooking the lake one evening before dinner. 

“Just like other Lake Junaluska guests they were relaxing by the lake, reliving the day’s adventures,” Howle said. “You could sense their camaraderie and enjoyment of each other’s company.”

Her visit came 72 years after Eleanor Roosevelt, the nation’s longest-serving first lady, spent two days at Lake Junaluska with the Missionary Conference of the Methodist Church in July 1944. 

Go to top