Italians are visiting Saluda in March

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

Saluda’s sister city is Carunchio, located in the province of Abruzzo on the Adriatic side of Italy.

Its Mayor, Gianfranco D’Isabella, and his wife, Paola, will be in Saluda from March 19-25.  They will be accompanied and guided by Cristina Criscio, who speaks both Italian and English.

Saluda has planned a special welcome for the mayor and his party, and hopes Saluda citizens will join in the festivities.  Below is a daily schedule.  Please come to the City Commission Special event on March 20 and the Southern Covered Dish Dinner on Friday, March 23.

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We are working with our Saluda school principal, Cari Maneen, to emphasize the relations between our elementary students here in the Saluda school and the students in Italy.   We have applied for a grant to help purchase Italy-related maps and Italian language books and hope to initiate a regular dialogue between the students with the goal of learning about each other’s culture and eventual summer exchange visits by the students.

Join us in welcoming the mayor, and please thank all our businesses that are donating accommodations, food, and gifts to our visitors. The Oaks Bed & Breakfast and Orchard Inn are providing the accommodations and breakfast free of charge.

Here is the schedule:

Tuesday 3/20: Day to relax and get an overview of the town. Host is Judy Thompson.  Staying again at The Oaks B&B.

Tuesday evening at 5:30:  Official Welcome by City Commission and Saluda’s Mayor upstairs at the Library.  After a short ceremony, there will be a reception catered by the Green River Barbeque, Saluda Grade Café and Wildflour Bakery, each offering a signature nibble or two.  To help us determine how much food is needed, if you plan to attend, please email your RSVP to Saluda City Hall or call 828-749-2581.  Mayor D’Isabella and his party will be treated to dinner afterwards at the Purple Onion.  Feel free to come along, Dutch treat, of course.

Wednesday 3/21: Bruce andVarian Hunt will host the visitors today for a tour of Saluda, its shops and historic places.  The Saluda Historic Depot is presenting the visitors with complementary Depot sweatshirts. The Wildflour Bakery is hosting them for lunch. After lunch, the Mayor will meet with Cari Maneen at Saluda Elementary School to share ideas about connections between the schools via the internet and projects. In the late afternoon, Bill and Anne Jameson are opening their art studio to the mayor for a wine and cheese event to share information about art in this area. There will be several invited guests including a contingent from the Hendersonville Sister City Group. That evening, Hendersonville Sister City will entertain our visitors. The visitors will overnight at The Oaks B&B again.

Thursday 3/22: They will tour commercial development in Henderson County followed by a complimentary dinner at Renzo’s Italian restaurant in Hendersonville.  The host is the Hendersonville Sister City Italy Committee. The night’s accommodations and breakfast will be at the Orchard Inn.

Friday 3/23: Our guests will have a commercial tour of Polk County organized by Polk County Economic Development and hosted by Lynn Cass. They will stay at the Orchard Inn.

Friday night at 6:30 p.m., we will have a southern style welcome with a Covered Dish Dinner at the Saluda Senior Center. Everyone is welcome. “Ole Timey Music” and a Carunchio video will entertain. Advance tickets are required which will include roasted chicken, pork tenderloins cooked by Thompson’s Store and two beverage tickets. Any extra funds will go to help Saluda School’s “Italian Connection” to the Carunchio School. Tickets are available at Saluda City Hall. Everyone please bring a dish based upon the first letter of your last name: A-H substantial appetizer; I-R salads & veggies; S-Z desserts.

Saturday 3/24: The Gorge Zipline is donating three zipline tours of the Gorge for our guests.  Afterwards, they will enjoy an early “Southern Supper” hosted by Glenn Franklin followed by a trip to hear Blue Grass Music at Feed & Seed in Fletcher. Night at Orchard Inn.

Sunday, 3/25: Farewell after breakfast.

For questions contact Judy Thompson at 828-489-6578 or email

– Submitted by Judy Thompson